Eye on Cricket
Reflections on the Great Game
HarperCollins India 2015
New Books Network June 27, 2015 Bruce Berglund
Samir Chopra describes himself as a “cricket exile.” For three decades, he has lived in country where most people not only pay little attention to the sport, they actually dislike it, or at best treat it dismissively as a game of wimps and foreigners. The experience of being a cricket fan in America colors many of Samir’s essays in his new book Eye on Cricket: Reflections on the Great Game (HarperCollins India, 2015). He writes of staying up into the late hours of a New York winter’s night to watch games on his laptop and trekking across the city to South Asian restaurants that are showing a match on a big screen. He has become part of a fraternity of other exiled fans, from many nations, who share a devotion to a game that is completely ignored in the surrounding culture. Yes, following cricket in America has made him more appreciative of the sport and more aware of the role it plays in his life. At the same time, however, he wishes that he was not such an outsider in his love for this sport. He wishes that Americans would have a bit of understanding for cricket–not that they’d embrace it for themselves, but that they’d at least recognize why it enthralls so many people, around the world and even in Brooklyn.
The essays in Eye on Cricket are based on Samir’s regular blog posts for ESPN Cricinfo. Their subjects range far beyond talking cricket with Americans. He writes about watching and playing the game in Delhi and Sydney, the highs and lows of contemporary Indian cricket, and great moments and figures in the sport’s history. But there is also much in his book that will resonate with fans of any sport: how we memorize statistics and interpret their meanings, the company of knowledgeable fans in the stands, even the imaginary games and entire campaigns we concoct as children. A philosophy professor by trade, Samir makes astute observations on his favorite sport, and sports in general, and delivers them in a rich literary style.