Long after the World Cup is over, here is something about it. But you should read it, because it’s excellent: an American sports writer goes to India as a complete cricketing ingenue and tries to learn about the game, India and the two’s relationship in the midst of the madness of the tournament. It’s really great to see how he’s patient with the game and his own understanding of it, how he engages with ordinary people, plays with them, hears their stories of how cricket and India have changed over the years (especially the comparison between three generations of batsmen in Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Sehwag, exemplifying the transition from subtlety, patience and deflection to an aggressive form of classical strokeplay, to all-out power hitting), and comes to be completely absorbed by it. There’s a beautiful extended climax in which he watches the India-England group match alongside English comic and cricket fan Andy Zaltzman. Tendulkar scored a century in that match, and the great thing is that after several weeks in India the writer knows enough to appreciate what a special occasion it is to see a Tendulkar hundred in front of his own fans.

Aside: I saw Andy Zaltzman a few years ago, I think at The Cellar in Oxford, and he was brilliant. Not surprisingly, his best joke was about cricket.

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