Spiro Zavos, former Kiwi cricketer and long time Sydney Morning Herald columnist writes in The Roar about ‘A Gentleman’s Game’:
“This is a cricket book full of great delights by an enthusiast who has an eye, like a master batsman, to make telling strokes to push his stories along. Writing a book, to my mind, is the equivalent in cricket of making a century. Anindya Dutta’s century, to continue this analogy, has been made in the first-class arena. Well played!”
Veteran Cricket journalist and Historian Kersi Meher-Homji’s says in his Foreword:
I enjoyed reading this well-illustrated and many-splendoured publication.The first Chapter is on “Ranjitsinhji, the Maharaja of Elegance and of Nawanagar”. My initial reaction was: what is there on Ranji a cricket-lover does not know about? But after reading Anindya’s book I learnt many things about Ranji I did not know. Some of it was not pleasant. In the beginning of his career there was a racist article on him written by Sir Home Gordon who called him “a dirty black”. And did you know Ranji faced bankruptcy and earlier on he had no right to call himself a Prince? The Chapter on Keith Miller – the supreme all-round cricket icon, a war hero, a classical music aficionado and a lovable character – starts with his immortal quote: “Pressure? There is no pressure in Test cricket. Real pressure is when you are flying a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt up your arse.” Apart from his heroics on the cricket field author Anindya depicts Miller’s courage and gallantry during World War II.
The book is not just about achievements. It details failures too: the worst declarations in history and on dropped catches by butterfingers. Also the mighty West Indies lost a match to Ireland. At one stage the Windies under Clive Lloyd were 8 for 6, 12 for 8 before being bowled out for 25. A misprint? A joke? No, it happened. I found the Chapter “A Tale of Two Test Debuts” nostalgic as I was present at the Sydney Cricket Ground when Australia’s Shane Warne and India’s Subroto Banerjee had made their Test debuts in January 1992. Medium-pacer Banerjee captured 3 for 47 including the scalps of Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh. In contrast Warne had a forgettable debut, being smashed all over the park by Ravi Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar as he finished with 1 for 150. Warne became a Test legend with 708 wickets at 25.41 in 145 Tests. For Banerjee it was his Test debut and swan song as he was never selected in a Test again. To quote Anindya Dutta, “Bizarrely, the man who has bowled so well in the first innings, Subroto Banerjee, does not get to bowl a single ball in the second innings. In fact, he never gets to bowl another ball in Test cricket, and is destined to be forever referred to in cricketing history as a one-Test wonder.” Cricket cruel cricket!
Thus A Gentleman’s Game – Reflections on Cricket History shows many aspects of cricket; the good, the gallant and the paradoxical. I enjoyed reading it. So will you.