Martin Chandler |

Publication date: 2023
Pages: 220
Author: Ezekiel, Gollum
Publisher: Rupa
Rating: 4 stars

In my review of Gulu Ezekiel’s 2021 book, break the mythI suggest that the second help will not go wrong, and, right in the prompt, Myths and Mysteries came out two years later. It’s not exactly the same format as its predecessor, but it’s certainly cut from the same cloth.

This time, there were only seven chapters in the book of the same length, which gave Gulu more power to speak than two years ago. Myths and Mysteries Nor is it specifically a cricket piece. Four of the chapters cover our great game, but there are others on the subject of athletes, hockey players and lawn tennis, particularly the Davis Cup.

The cricket chapter inevitably touches on issues I at least knew about before opening the book. On the other hand, I know little or nothing about other people. The related movement is not one I follow for the most part, but like everyone, I can enjoy a decent story well told, and I’ve had Gulu before by reading his 2011 book Gulu on Other Movements experience of, cricket and others.

before i read Myths and Mysteries I do know Indian hockey has a long and illustrious history, Dhyan Chand is a name I recognize, though I don’t know why, but that’s it. Now, however, I know more about India’s success in hockey and Chand’s performance, which uses the cricketing portmanteau Bradmanesque.

The Olympic Games recur in Chand’s story, and the athlete in the book is another Olympian, Norman Pritchard. The mystery of the 1900 Olympic 200m and second place in the 200m hurdles was whether Pritchard was representing Great Britain or India? Gulu proves that Pritchard was the first Indian Olympian, and therefore a medalist, and in a realistic way, proves Pritchard’s extraordinary life, ultimately seeing Pritchard earn a living as a film actor.

Then there’s tennis. When I was young I played tennis at a decent level and always followed the grand slams with some interest, remember loving watching the Amri Traj brothers years ago but the duo never paid attention Played Indian Tennis and the Davis Cup. Facts have proved that Indian tennis also has a good history, especially in the Davis Cup. Gulu has a knack, no doubt honed in his years as a reporter rather than a writer, of delivering a great deal of information in a small amount of words, and I really like those three non-cricket chapters as much as the subjects they deal with Likewise I certainly wouldn’t bother to open a book dedicated to them.

So about crickets. Gulu started with a theme that would interest many who, nearly a century later, are still fascinated by the “Bodyline” collection of 1932/33.nothing revelatory Myths and Mysteries Regarding the series itself, however, there is a new angle. Perhaps surprisingly, Iftikhar Ali Khan, better known as Pataudi Snr’s Nawab, has never been the subject of a biography. To fill this gap in cricket literature, Gulu takes a long look at his life and times, including, of course, his role in the most controversial series of Ashes. The insight into Pataudi’s personality was valuable and certainly made me rethink the “conflict” between him and his captain.

The next cricketer to come on the scene is Cotah Ramaswami, whose life contains two great mysteries. First is why, at the ripe age of 40, he was chosen to tour England with the 1936 team. Is it because of playing cricket or something else? Ramaswamy’s only two Tests came on that trip, but perhaps because he averaged a whopping 56.66 points per game, the real reason he was picked is often overlooked. They are no longer there, however, and the Guru is naturally looking hard at the day in 1985 when 89-year-old Ramaswami left his home and never returned. To this day, no trace of him has been found.

Ramaswami Gulu from Ramaswami Gulu continues to watch the Test match on the controversial end of West Indies’ first trip to the subcontinent, going back to 1948/49. The West Indians didn’t seem to enjoy their trip much, although they did win the series by winning one of the five Tests to complete the competition. It was the fourth game, the away team won comfortably, so the only good game was the fifth game, which ended inexplicably. With two wickets in hand, India was six runs away from victory, but the mystery was that the referee seemed to steal the last seven bowls.

There is one last chapter. This part deals with the interesting, though not particularly important, question of whether Colin Cowdery was born in Ooty or Bangalore. It’s obvious that Gulu is enjoying the effort he’s put into researching the man, but he ends on a more serious note. Could Vijay Merchant’s decision to back Ajit Wadekar over “Tiger” Pataudi as India’s captain in 1970 had something to do with long-standing resentment against the Pataudi dynasty, dating back to Tiger’s father’s endorsement of the merchant in 1946?

So once again, Gulu has produced a very interesting anthology of stories, all of which are thoroughly researched and all reveal the myths and mysteries they highlight, even if very few of them are actually resolved. Some were firmly hammered on the head, but related to one of the non-Indians mentioned in the book, the much-loved “Nawab of Altrincham”, better known as “Our Rookie”. Always good at creating myths about himself Guru has dismantled several engineer myths here, but I won’t say where exactly, leaving the reader to find the brief appearance of the great Lancaster himself.

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that Gulu contributed some interesting illustrations to the book, only one of which, of Pataudi Snr hitting a ball in the Bodyline series, has been featured before. Myths and Mysteries Definitely recommended, for those who have no fun, I understand break the myth Still in print.

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