India’s most popular sport, cricket, has a history that is intricately tied to the social and political advancement of the nation. There have been numerous ups and downs in Indian cricket.
The team has achieved success in Test and ODI cricket, and it has won the Cricket World Cup twice, in 1983 and 2011. However, incidents involving match-fixing and corruption have also plagued Indian cricket.
There are numerous outstanding books that have been published about Indian cricket, which is a big and complicated subject. These books cover a wide range of subjects, including the game’s history and the lives of well-known cricket players.
1. A History of Indian Cricket (2002) | Mihir Bose
Most cricket-playing countries have a definitive book about their sport that you should own, gift, or recommend. For India, it is this massive volume of effort that begins at the beginning and spans decades. If you have heard of a story about Indian cricket, chances are it’s here or has been quoted here.
2. Runs ’n’ Ruins (1984) | Sunil Gavaskar
Four of Gavaskar’s books have sold well. While Sunny Days is his best-known book, his third is perhaps the finest-written and most relatable, documenting the many highs and lows of a season in the life of Indian cricket’s first global superstar.
The book describes the winter of 1983, when world champions India hosted Pakistan before losing to the West Indies in a one-match-per-chapter format. In the midst of the rubble, Gavaskar equalled and then surpassed Don Bradman’s record of 29 Test hundreds while experiencing a range of emotions.
3. Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Cricketer (1996) | Sujit Mukherjee
Mukherjee represented Bihar five times. Thank God he did, since one of the best books on this list might never have been published if he hadn’t.
This is the average Indian cricketer who, despite his enthusiasm, knows at a young age that his cricketing career will never go beyond a certain point. He would rather watch, observe, and write. The attention to detail, the prose — everything makes it an enjoyable read.
Mukherjee has written several excellent books about Indian cricket, but Autobiography stands out for its personal touch.
4. Beyond the Blues: A Cricket Season Like None Other (2009) | Aakash Chopra
Chopra transports readers beyond the glittering worlds of international cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the now-forgotten Ranji Trophy, which is contested at modest venues in front of small spectators. The book is about Rajasthan’s first victory in the tournament’s history, but it’s also about Indian domestic cricket and the disparity between the two cultures.
5. The Fire Burns Blue: A History of Women’s Cricket in India (2017) | Karunya Keshav and Sidhanta Patnaik
The ultimate go-to book on the mostly undocumented history of women’s cricket in India, updated until the 2017 World Cup, took two of India’s finest authors to pen. This is the most essential book on Indian cricket, and it is meticulously researched and elegantly written.
6. Patrons, Players and the Crowd: The Phenomenon of Indian Cricket (1980) | Richard Cashman
Cashman, the only non-Indian on our list, was an Australian researcher who came to India for his PhD, became fascinated by Indian cricket, and published the classic book on the social history of Indian cricket.
As the title suggests, the book is about the sponsors, cricketers, and supporters of Indian cricket. Some authors have covered some of them in depth, but rarely has anyone delved so deeply into all three subjects with an academic’s research zeal.
7. L.P. Jai: Memories of a Great Batsman (1976) | Vasant Raiji
Given its size, this biography could be considered a pamphlet, although it contains more information than most books ten times its size. Jai, the first skipper to win the Ranji Trophy and a guy Vijay Merchant referred to as his “guru,” was a significant cricketer about whom little was known. The volume of the study demonstrates why Raiji is still renowned as an author and researcher today.
8. Cricket Delightful: Mushtaq Ali’s Own Story (1967) | Mushtaq Ali
Mushtaq was known for his aggressive batting approach during his playing days, and his autobiography is no different. His path from ‘commoner’ to one of the most popular cricketers of the era is well worth reading about.
The humour is also contagious. Few memoirs have been as vibrant and, as the title suggests, as pleasant.
9. Stray Thoughts on Indian Cricket (1905) | J.M. Framjee Patel
While Framjee Patel was not the first to write a book about Indian cricket, his predecessors concentrated primarily on the Parsees, the country’s first to take up the sport. Stray Thoughts was the first book that, while focusing on the Parsees, also looked at all-India cricket.
Perhaps it helped that the author was an ardent supporter of a unified national team. The final chapter, Cricket as an Imperial Factor, may seem out of place in 2023, but as a historical resource, the entire book has few analogues.
10. A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport (2003) | Ramachandra Guha
Guha used this book to remind India and the world of the long-forgotten Palwankar Baloo, a Dalit cricketer who broke down caste barriers to play for an All-India XI over a century ago. However, there is much more to the book than Baloo. Guha presents a social history of pre-independence Indian cricket with the rigour that has become his trademark.
The ten books listed above are just a few of the many excellent books written about Indian cricket. These books provide a range of perspectives on the game, from its inception to the present day. We recommend reading one of these books if you are a fan of the game or simply want to understand more about it.