At 24, Chetan Narula embarked upon an ambitious mission: recording the lives and times of Indian cricket captains ever since India started playing Test cricket. That’s over 30 men in 80 years, and hundreds of tales of heroism, friendship, jealousy and intrigue.
The project took two years of his life but this brick of a book that runs into over 700 pages would make any researcher proud. Narula has both patience and a sense of balance in equal measure.
Cricket hasn’t produced a large body of literature in India. Very few journalists have gone beyond writing the first draft of cricketing history; less than a dozen Indian players have written autobiographies. But Narula has not only written the story of Indian captains and the parallel story of Indian cricket in the greatest possible detail, but with a perspective that belies his years.
The appointment and the doings of the captains have raised controversies right from 1932. The royals were indifferent cricketers but still wanted to be captains. In 1932, two...