‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?’
Since I first read this quote many, many years ago, I have entertained thoughts about reading the book in which it appears. But it was only last month that, serendipitously, I happened to think about it — the exploits of Dhoni & Co. in England may have had something to do with it — leading me to order the book from Amazon pronto.
And, then, some days after the book was delivered, I came across this reference to it in an interview in Books & More magazine (edited by Commitscion Padmini Nandy Mazumder; the interviewer is good friend Pratibha Rao).
Q Which was the one book that inspired you?
Boria Majumdar It is undoubtedly Beyond a Boundary by C.L.R. James. The first time I read it, I understood nothing of it. I read it because people said it was the best book on cricket. Only when I read it the fourth or fifth time, I understood what the book wanted to say. I’ve now read it 47 times. I’ve been to the C.L.R. James Research Library in the West Indies and stayed for a long time in Barbados where James is buried — that’s the impact the book has had on me. For what I want to do — understand society through the lens of sport — there is no better book than Beyond a Boundary.
- For the uninitiated, Rhodes scholar Boria Majumdar is one of India's foremost young cricket litterateurs. He is also an op-ed columnist for The Times of India, a sports expert with Times Now, and author of books such as Twenty-two Yards to Freedom: A Social History of Indian Cricket and The Illustrated History of Indian Cricket.