The Newsletter 67 Spring 2014

Cricket and society

Souvik Naha

Reviewed title:
Khan, S.M. & Ali Khan. 2013. Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 300 pages, ISBN 9781780760834 (hb)

Over the years, the conjured image of Pakistani cricket is one of a road show which is exhilarating at times but summons nightmares for those who experience the ordeal. As a sporting institution it is always in turmoil. The Pakistan Cricket board is probably the only international administrative body to operate without a constitution. A touring English cricketer had once dunked a local umpire in a swimming pool in protest against a string of problematic decisions. Instances of suspect on-fi eld behaviour of the Pakistan team had led to the nation’s honour being taken hostage by British tabloids. After a fi rst round World Cup exit, the national coach died under mysterious circumstances. And fi nally, terrorists have shot at foreign players leading to a cricketing isolation that is still in place. These are snippets from the cauldron of
Pakistani cricket, which is a melting pot of corruption, nepotism, exploitation and politics-defying, abounding talent that flourishes on the roadside and takes on the world.