27 October, 2020

Only The Fittest Shall Play

Can cricket be a leveller in India? Adiga’s eleven find it out the tough way.

Photograph by Getty Images
Only The Fittest Shall Play
outlookindia.com
2016-09-13T18:10:34+05:30

Cricket is a useful prism through which to view society, as Shehan Kar­­unatilaka (Chinaman) and Jos­eph O’Neill (Netherland) have shown. In India, however, cricket fiction adopts the Bollywood rags-to-riches format. By subverting that, Selection Day casually becomes the best Indian novel on cricket. Yet, it is not a cricket novel. As with his Booker-winning The White Tiger, Adiga has a message, which means characters and situations are cut to fit.

Cricket is usually seen in India like boxing was in America: as a vehicle for social mobility and class advancement. But is it really so, asks the author. Does cricket erase caste marks or merely reinforce them?

The surface story is simple enough. Talented schoolboys Radha and Manju, pushed hard by their father, Mohan Kumar, and marked out as the future of Indian cricket, are put through their paces by coach Tommy Sir, who convinces businessman Anand Mehta to sponsor them in return for a percentage of future earnings. The mixture of boyish innocence, parental ambition...

unsub

THIS ARTICLE IS PRICELESS...

To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.


In this article:

More from Suresh Menon


Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020
content

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section