India is a land where cricket is revered. It is treated like a religion and cricketers are looked upon as gods. If the Indian public happens to like you, you can do no wrong. But once that image is shattered, there is no going back from the humiliation you suffer. More than that, it is the betrayal that passes through the collective cricket-loving community that will tear you down. And much more than that, it will be your own sense of morality that will make you understanding the extent of the betrayal pushed upon your loyal supporters. All this is quietly understated in Crime Beyond 22 Yards.
Cricket is a sport that doesn’t see as many countries participating as football does. Yet, the zeal to watch it is the same. The joy of playing cricket for your country remains the same. And even through all this, the sport isn’t untouched by darkness. Sourabh Mukherjee, in his short, concise book, Crime Beyond 22 Yards tells us exactly how the tainted underbelly of this revered game exploded into the public eye.
Crime Beyond 22 Yards isn’t a book that tells us how the scene in cricket should be and how crimes (which is a rather strong word, I feel) in cricket should be dealt with. Instead, Sourabh Mukherjee tells us about what happened all those years ago when Hansie Cronje was apprehended for accepting money to fix matches. And then, the dominos began to fall. India was mired in the muck for ages. I still don’t think it has completely recovered from that blow, but that is a discussion for another day.
From Hansie Cronje erupted an entire saga of cricket boards across the globe looking into and handing bans to their own players. Sourabh Mukherjee doesn’t offer an opinion about all of this. Instead, he lays bare the facts about what happened back then. There’s no bias in the narrative, merely factual representation of events and how they affected cricket in general. Even for a cricket noob like me, reading this book was like recollecting what happened back then. It was as if a reel was playing in my head – an old reel that happened to be rusted and faded, but there nevertheless.
That is an incredible thing to achieve in a non-fiction book. And Sourabh Mukherjee does it with incredible elan in this short, descriptive book about cricket and certain fatal flaws that brought it down back then. Crime Beyond 22 Yards is a must-read if you want to read an unbiased, factual account of things as they happened back then.
Author(s): Sourabh Mukherjee
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Release: May 2018
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