25 February, 2021

More Than Cricket

A look at the subcontinental psyche through the World Cup

More Than Cricket
WHEN Sri Lanka won the World Cup last year, cricket fans all around the world welcomed it—except for Australia, the defeated finalists. It was also greeted with rapture by Mike Marqusee who relished the perfect ending to the greatest cricket circus on earth. His latest book, War Minus the Shooting, is an entertaining and controversial account of the tournament—but can't be described as being the archetypal cricket book.

Marqusee uses the World Cup as a takeoff point to examine national identity, social values, corporate giants, advertising—symbolising the increasing global intrusion on cricket. Through his three-month tour of the three host nations, Marqusee analysed issues thrown up by the World Cup and the effect it had on South Asian people and politics.

"It is in the subcontinent that the one-day game—an attempt to squeeze cricket's amorphous pre-industrial sprawl into its designated niche in the modern marketplace—has been most ruthlessly exploited by nationalist and commercial forces. I knew from experience a one-day international in...

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