Saturday, February 24, 2018
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This book is an attempt to pay tribute to the Tiger, through the eyes of a diverse bunch of people namely his colleagues, opponents, seniors, commentators, journalists, schoolmates and family.  The book gives us a glimpse into the man’s times, while reminding us of his relevance in this age.  The Nawab was ahead of his time in so many ways.  He was the first to introduce the idea of being an Indian on the field and the first cricketer of royal lineage to dirty his trousers on the field.  This extraordinary anthology brilliantly put together by Suresh Menon, arguably India's best sports writer and journalist offers a fascinating portrait of a cricketer and a gentleman whose contribution to Indian cricket went beyond the number of Tests he played and the runs he scored.

The book edited by noted sports writer and journalist Suresh Menon is an enjoyable experience because it sheds light on Pataudi the individual, player, captain, husband, father, gentleman, hero and icon.  In this anthology of essays Menon has succeeded in compiling a glittering list of contributors Abbas Ali Baig, MJ Akbar, Bishan Bedi, Mike Brearley, Ian Chappell, Mike Coward, Ted Dexter, Rahul Dravid, Farokh Engineer, Sunil Gavaskar, Tony Lewis, Robin Marlar, Naseeruddin Shah, Mudar Patheya, N Ram, Saba Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Rajdeep Sardesai, John Woodcock and David Woolley, QC.  Each essay offers a different perspective on Pataudi.  Touchingly, the book begins with an intimate forward by Pataudi's widow, the film actress Sharmila Tagore, and ends with his daughters Saba and Soha writing lovingly of their memories of their father.  The manner in which the book spans generations is effortless and a winning touch.  

MY FAVORITE PICK:  I relished some of the personalised stories from other contributors. Like Farokh Engineer’s narrative of the prank he and Tiger played at their hotel in West Indies in 1962, calling their teammates’ rooms at the crack of dawn using fake Caribbean accents, asking everyone in their as-is-where-is attire to rush to the reception because of a hurricane alert.   Bishen Bedi recounting how Tiger asked him to bowl the first over of a new day, even though he had bowled the last over of the previous evening, to see if the umpires are awake.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suresh Menon became the youngest sports editor and then one of the youngest editors in the country with Indian Express.  He was also sports editor of Gulf News, Dubai and is widely regarded as the most literary of India s cricket writers.  He has edited a book on Sachin, Sachin: Genius Unplugged.  A university topper in economics and political science, Menon has reported World Cups since 1987.  Currently he is a columnist whose writings on politics, cricket, literature and sport appear in publications around the world.  He is married to the sculptor Dimpy Menon; they have a son, Tushar, and live in Bangalore.

MY TAKE:  The writing is neat and, refreshingly, not overblown.  It perhaps reflects the spirit of Tiger, who had an incredible vocabulary but did not believe in wasting words.  In conclusion, the question that rose in my mind was the target reader of this book.  Is it for the generation who watched the Tiger in his heyday or is it for the young ones of today who are dimly aware of his cricketing greatness?  I believe the book presents a great opportunity to connect the awesome Tiger afresh with the Generation Now.  He may not have been like Ian Botham or Kapil Dev who led from the front but there was something stirring about the Tiger on the prowl that filled cricket stands.  After his passing, I hope more of those who missed out on seeing him in action, can be touched by this book’s attempt to package the magnificence of this legendary, though at heart unassuming, personality.  In the jungle of books out there, this one on the Tiger does burn bright.



EDITED BY:  Suresh Menon

FORWARDED BY: Sharmila Tagore

PUBLISHER:  Harper Sport

LANGUAGE:  English

PAGES:  200

PRICE:  Rs. 499

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