The Great Tamasha by James Astill
The sub-heading, “Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India” gives clear guidance on what to expect from this book!
Tamasha is an Indian word used to describe a show, performance or some other form of entertainment. As James Astill makes clear with the title of this excellent book about cricket in India, it is a word closely associated with the game in the country. More so with the advent of the IPL over the last 10 years.
Cricket in India is intrinsically connected with the history of the country. It is influenced by the separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh as much as by the historical caste system. Its history has lead it to the situation today where the IPL is the financial driver of cricket. A tournament derived from conflict within the management of the game in India.
The book was researched and written by James Astill during a stint living in India, working for The Economist. Mostly it has been compiled through his own personal experiences. He has personally interviewed a huge variety of cricketing aficionados. But with history dating back to the introduction of the game by the British in the 1800’s, there is inevitably also some reliance on historical records from contemporary publications. The book is most certainly very well researched, a fact reflected by the awards it has received.
The Great Tamasha – Book Awards
- Winner: The British Sports Book Awards 2014 (Cricket book of the year)
- Winner: The Cricket Society / MCC Book of the Year 2014
With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) currently wielding so much influence on the International game of cricket, Astill’s book throws light on how this situation came to be. Money, business, politics and cricket are intrinsically linked in India, with the ownership of IPL teams attracting corporations and Bollywood stars equally.
If you are a cricket fan and want to understand more about the rise of India as a cricketing super-power, this book is for you. It is a fascinating read.