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The History of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
By James Alter
Lustre Press/Roli Books. Pages 144. Rs. 495
Review By Gulu Ezekiel
With World Cup fever raging, this is naturally the time for a glut of cricket books to hit the stands, many focusing on the World Cup itself.
These can broadly be slotted into three categories—the scholarly, the rip-off and the racy. James Alter’s history of the World Cup falls neatly in the racy section. Indeed, this is the ideal format for limited overs cricket with the scholarly variety more suited to Test cricket.
Compact, concise and colourful, the book’s strength is undoubtedly its production values which are world-class. The glossy paper and dazzling colour photos catch the eye while Alter’s summaries of each tournament from the inaugural one in 1975 to the last one in the West Indies in 2007, are bite-sized and crisp, concentrating on the semifinals and final as well as a handful of key matches, preceded by brief summations of each tournament.
The USP of this handy book, apart from the outstanding photographs, are eye-witness accounts of each tournament by those closest to the action. It starts off with legendary umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird and his report of the first final at Lord’s in 1975 between Australia and the West Indies, still considered by many fans to be the greatest of them all.
Then comes West Indies legend Viv Richards on his Man of the Match performance in the 1979 final, followed by India’s Roger Binny, the bowling hero of 1983, Geoff Marsh on Australia’s maiden triumph in 1987, Ramiz Raja on Pakistan’s victory in 1992, Ranjit Fernando (Sri Lanka, 1996), New Zealand bowler Geoff Allott (1999) and Aussies Andy Bichel (2003) and Matthew Hayden (2007). All this is backed up by handy statistics and scorecards of all nine finals.
All in all, a pretty neat package and the perfect companion to the 2011 ICC World Cup.