Folklores to facts: A curious journey of Indian cricket

DELHI, India - May 20, 2021 - PRLog -- Achievers and role models are integral part of the sporting arena – no sport can progress without them. While their larger than life appearances and superman status' take the game to a greater height, it also ceaselessly builds a myth around them that becomes difficult to counter.

Stories on them, however, unbelievable they are in nature, are discussed and narrated for generations with such conviction that the thin line between fact and fiction, over the years, gets easily blurred.

To put it straightaway, seasoned cricket writer Gulu Ezekiel has done a commendable job in handling this rather difficult subject in his new book, Myth-Busting: Indian Cricket, Behind the Headlines.

In doing so, he has spared none: it includes former cricketers, who make tall claims and cricket writers, who inadvertently believe and collaborate popular myths without checking the facts.

Ezekiel, however, hasn't blamed anyone in the process. All he has done is to simply put the facts on the table with his judicious research and ability to communicate in a highly-readable language.

In 11 chapters, the writer has dealt with several topics – on the tied Test match in Chennai in 1986, on Sunil Gavaskar's impulsive decision to walk out against Australia in 1981 that nearly made India forfeit the Test match, on Kapil Dev's still talked-about 175 runs against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup and many others.

Readers with an eye and interest in cricket history will, however, immensely enjoy the chapter on Vinoo Mankad and how he is being linked to a dismissal in India's 1947-48 tour of Australia that has since then earned the nickname of "Mankading" in cricket history.

We all know that to term that particular style of dismissal as "Mankading" is not very complimentary towards one of India's greatest all-rounders.

Ezekiel has painstakingly explained that what Mankad did in twice running out opener Bill Brown when the batsman on the non-striker's end was way out of his crease before the delivery of the ball was actually hailed as a "sporting act" by many in Australia at that time.

It was no cunning act on part of Mankad as believed these days. Mankad did it after issuing a proper warning to the batsman. After his warning fell in deaf ears of the over-enthusiastic batsman, the Indian star simply ran him out.

It first happened in a tour match against an Australian XI in Sydney. Brown was warned by Mankad and the next time, he simply removed the bails.

According to the writer, the respectable "Cricketer" magazine in 1948 wrote: "The crowd realized the fairness of the bowler's action and cheered him." In fact, former Australian star Arthur Mailey felt Mankad was "over-generous."

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