Thursday, March 7, 2019

Road to the cricket World Cup 2019. A thrilling triumph for the underdogs. Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011’

INDIA v WEST INDIES (FINAL)  •  LORD’S, LONDON, 25 JUNE 1983

Mohinder Amarnath cuts on the way to his man-of-the-match performance.

Lord’s was bathed in bright sunshine and ready to crown the undisputed kings of cricket, the West Indies, with yet another title. The conquerors from the Caribbean marshalled by the elder statesman Clive Lloyd had won the first two World Cups, and were poised to make it a hat-trick on this beautiful day against surprise finalists, India. 

The Indian World Cup record had been dismal. In two tournaments they had won a total of one match, against lowly East Africa in 1975. In 1983, the Australian captain Kim Hughes had rated the Indians as “dark horses” to win the championship. They sprang a surprise in the opening encounter by inflicting upon the West Indies their first defeat in the World Cup. Then they nearly faltered against Zimbabwe before being bailed out by a Herculean effort from their captain, Kapil Dev. But now in the final they were not expected to take the title away from the reigning champions.

The match began true to form with Andy Roberts and Joel Garner bowling extremely accurately. Garner’s steeply rising deliveries bowled from his great height, were impossible to get away. Soon Sunil Gavaskar fished at one from Roberts and was easily snapped up at the wicket. Krishnamachari Srikkanth dazzled for a while in his customary fashion, and even delighted the crowd with a hooked six off Roberts. He and Mohinder Amarnath put on 57 for second wicket. Then Yashpal Sharma helped Amarnath in a useful stand, and at 90 for two the Indian score bore a healthy look.

Disaster was round the corner as Amarnath was comprehensively bowled by Michael Holding, and Yashpal fell to the gentle off-break of Larry Gomes. Though Sandeep Patil played a useful knock, the innings fell away in the face of some fine bowling by the West Indians. Had it not been for a fighting last-wicket stand between Syed Kirmani and Balwinder Sandhu, the Indian total would have looked even more pitiable than their 183 all out in 54.4 overs.

There was a sensational start to the West Indies innings as Gordon Greenidge shouldered arms to an incoming delivery from Sandhu and was bowled for 1. You could not blame Greenidge, for Sandhu himself thought he had bowled an out-swinger. Instead, the ball came in sharply after hitting the seam. That set the stage for a grand entry by the imperious Vivian Richards. And he batted like the monarch that he often was at the crease.

As he smashed the bowling to all the corners of the hallowed ground, an early West Indies victory looked most likely. Just then he skied Madan Lal high over mid-wicket. Kapil Dev turned and ran after the ball that was rapidly going away from him. After what seemed an eternity the Indian skipper clung on to the prize. The door seemed to have opened for the underdogs. They stuck to their task, bowled tightly, fielded brilliantly and were constantly egged on by their captain. Wickets started tumbling; soon it was 76 for six. Jeff Dujon and Malcolm Marshall hung on for a while, and when the day’s hero Amarnath trapped Holding plumb in front, the sensational upset left everyone dumbfounded. "Now Indian mystics walk through fire", screamed the headline of Tony Lewis' report in The Sunday Telegraph.

And even the diehard Indian fans were stunned by this memorable win.

India               : 183 all out (54.4 overs)
West Indies    : 140 all out (52 overs)

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).

Follow his blogs:

Indra Vikram Singh’s books are available at attractive prices on Amazon:

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3








Crowning Glory
Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7








Don’s Century
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0








A Maharaja’s Turf
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6







Indra Vikram Singh’s forthcoming books:

Indian Spring, on India’s triumph in the cricket World Cup 2011

Wonder Down Under, special souvenir on the cricket World Cup 2015

Monday, February 18, 2019

Road to the cricket World Cup 2019. Collis King and Vivian Richards launch ferocious assault for the crown. Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011’

England v West Indies (final) • Lord's, London, 23 June 1979

Vivian Richards in belligerent form.
Collis King on the rampage.
For over a-decade-and-a-half, Vivian Richards was king. On this mid-summer day Collis King put him in the shade. The two were associated in an exhilarating partnership, and Richards went on to get a super hundred. But King was simply brilliant in this game, and the king would be the first to admit that such was the case.

The West Indies began the final in exactly the same manner as they had done the previous one, four years earlier. They lost early wickets, and three had gone around the fifty mark. In 1975 Clive Lloyd had taken over at that stage. In this match the skipper too fell at 99 in the 30th over as Chris Old held a brilliant return catch. The champions were a worried lot when allrounder Collis King joined Richards.

They need not have been so apprehensive because King was in awesome form. The pair first repaired the damage, and at lunch the West Indies were 125 for four off 34 overs. Richards was on 55, and King 19. Mike Brearley has been hailed by many as an outstanding captain, though others feel that he was over-rated because the opposition was often feeble. In this final his calculations went awry.

After lunch Brearley put on his non-regular bowlers. This was just the opportunity Richards and King were looking for. They pounced on it with glee. Geoff Boycott was smashed for 38 runs off his six overs, with 11 coming off the 4th, and 15 off the 6th. Graham Gooch was carted for 27 in 4 overs. Brearley then tried Wayne Larkins with disastrous results. He was thrashed for 21 in two overs, with 16 coming off the second. And so 86 runs were logged in those 12 overs.

Perhaps Brearley could have pressed on in attacking mode. Maybe he could have bowled the occasional trundlers in tandem with the accomplished ones. Even these tactics might not have worked. One will never know. The score now stood at 210 for four at the end of 46 overs. The partnership continued as King and Richards piled on the runs.

Finally, King fell in the 51st over. His blazing 86 came off a mere 66 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes. The pulsating 139-run partnership spanned only 21 overs. King was simply breathtaking. Farokh Engineer wrote: "It looked as if the spirit of Learie Constantine lived again in his body." All this while Vivian Richards managed only 46 runs. Amazingly, he was overshadowed - for once.

Perhaps Richards' pride had been hurt. He went on a rampage thereafter and hit 43 of the last 48 runs in 9 overs. He lofted the last ball of the innings in his nonchalant manner for a huge six. The West Indies finished at 286 for nine as Richards remained unbeaten with 138 off 157 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes. The crowd was satiated.

The score was too big for England. Brearley and Boycott did put on 129 runs for the first wicket but they laboured for 38 overs to get them. They had already batted their side out of the match, and when Joel Garner claimed 5 wickets in 11 deliveries he only hurried the inevitable. Needless to say, the match will be remembered for the scintillating batting of Collis King and Vivian Richards as the West Indies lifted the gleaming Prudential World Cup for the second time.

West Indies       : 286 for 9 wickets (60 overs)
England                : 194 all out (51 overs)

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).

Follow his blogs:

Indra Vikram Singh’s books are available at attractive prices on Amazon:

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3








Crowning Glory
Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7








Don’s Century
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0








A Maharaja’s Turf
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6







Indra Vikram Singh’s forthcoming books:

Indian Spring, on India’s triumph in the cricket World Cup 2011


Wonder Down Under, special souvenir on the cricket World Cup 2015

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Road to the cricket World Cup 2019. Clive Lloyd’s searing innings in the first final in 1975. Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011’


A glorious finale

Australia v West Indies (final)    Lord’s, London, 21 June 1975

West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd blazing away in the World Cup 1975 final.
    
The stage was set for a battle royale at the Mecca of cricket. The atmosphere was electric as the first-ever World Cup final began. Dennis Lillee bowled a well-directed bouncer and Roy Fredericks, as was his wont, hooked it perfectly for a six. As all eyes followed the ball, Fredericks began to walk away. Soon everyone realised that the batsman had dislodged the bails while completing the stroke. Remember, bouncers were not no-balls in One-day cricket in those days. That was as dramatic a start as one could have wished.

Not long after, the Australian pacemen bagged two more wickets, both caught behind by Rod Marsh. That was the signal to the tall, slightly stooping and stoic West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd to enter the arena. And how he belted the Australian attack! There was so much savage power behind those strokes that only he could have played them.

The experienced Rohan Kanhai was an admirable foil, as they first repaired the fractured innings and then put it on the road to a big total. Lloyd reached his century off just 82 balls, the fastest in the World Cup until Canada's John Davison set a new mark in 2003. The pair put on a record 149 runs for the fourth wicket off just 26 overs. Lloyd’s contribution in this stand was 102 which included 2 sixes and 12 fours. The last 81 runs of the partnership came in a mere nine overs. The Australians were mesmerised by this brilliant performance.

The later batsmen carried on the good work, and the West Indies finished just 9 runs short of 300 which put them firmly in control of the match. Gary Gilmour did well to pick up a five-wicket haul close on the heels of his six scalps in the semi-final.

The Australians are nothing if not gritty fighters. After the early loss of Rick McCosker, they made steady progress as Alan Turner and Ian Chappell put on valuable runs for the second wicket. They were, however, stunned by the brilliant fielding of a rising Caribbean star named Vivian Richards. He made direct hits to run out Turner, and then Greg Chappell. Incredibly, he made another lightning pick-up and accurate return, with Ian Chappell still out of his ground. These run outs must surely have been the turning points of the match. They certainly set the stadium alight.

To the credit of the Aussie batsmen, most of them chipped in with useful scores. But at 233 for nine the fight seemed to have gone out of them. That was to under-estimate the Australians who were not ready to surrender the ultimate prize easily. The unlikely pair of Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee got together to try and carve out an even unlikelier win. As the runs mounted along with the lengthening shadows, tension ran high. Forty-one priceless runs had been added for the last wicket. With nine deliveries left, and the clock nearing 9 p.m., only 18 runs were required. It was possible. Was this a miracle in the making?

Just then Thomson panicked. Missing a delivery from Vanburn Holder, he rushed out of his crease. His desperate dive back was not enough as Deryck Murray effected a fifth run out. It was a thrilling finish to a great final. Everyone wished there would be many such in the future. E.W.Swanton wrote in Barclay's World of Cricket: "It had been a miraculous day, in cricketing terms: perfect weather, perfect pitch, a superb game and a great finish."

West Indies    : 291 for 8 wickets (60 overs)
Australia        : 274 all out (58.4 overs)

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).
Follow his blogs:

Indra Vikram Singh’s books are available at attractive prices on Amazon:

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3








Crowning Glory
Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7








Don’s Century
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0








A Maharaja’s Turf
Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6







Indra Vikram Singh’s forthcoming books:

 Indian Spring, on India’s triumph in the cricket World Cup 2011

Wonder Down Under, special souvenir on the cricket World Cup 2015

Thursday, January 3, 2019

With the Indian team endeavouring to win their first Test series in Australia, a glimpse into the cordial relations between Don Bradman and the Indian players during the first tour Down Under in 1947-48. Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘Don’s Century’


 
Indian team arriving at Adelaide for the 1947-48 tour to Australia.
In his Farewell to Cricket, Bradman paid compliments to Amarnath: “I look back on the season with him as my opposite number as one of my most pleasant years. Lala, as he was called, certainly believed in speaking his mind at all times and was not averse to expressing his opinion in regard to a controlling authority or an individual but in Australia he always did with the utmost courtesy and tact. Amarnath was such a splendid ambassador and throughout the tour, I found him and (Pankaj) Gupta (manager) absolutely charming in every respect. They co-operated in all conceivable ways to try and make the games enjoyable and the most wonderful spirit of camaraderie existed between the Australian and Indian players.”

Amarnath, on his part, was unstinted in his praise for Bradman. He wrote in The Sportstar: “I am yet to see another Bradman. Probably none would in the times to come. When people make comparisons between Bradman and others, I laugh. Such was Bradman’s mastery that even Test cricket was One-day cricket for him. Has anyone made 300 in a day in a Test? So please don’t insult The Don by making silly comparisons. I know he never came to India but then it was good for our bowlers. On our pitches, where the ball does nothing, it would have been like going shopping for him and he would have batted day and night.”

Regarding the characteristics of Bradman’s batting, Amarnath observed: “Bradman’s eyesight was remarkable. He would spot the ball so easily, when batting or fielding. Bradman was essentially a back-foot player. And an absolute delight to watch. Among the shots he played, the pull obviously was the most outstanding. He could pull any ball from anywhere, even those going away on the off-stump. His square-cut came from the middle of the bat and the speed with which the ball travelled to the boundary was amazing. I remember in the first Test at Brisbane, he played a square-cut off (S.W.) Sohoni and the ball came back five yards after hitting the fence.”

Hazare referred to Bradman’s tendency to often run, or jog, back to the pavilion after being dismissed. In an article in The Week, Hazare stated: “Whenever he got out, he always used to run to the pavilion! He never questioned the umpire’s decision. Most of the time he started running to the pavilion even before the umpire’s finger went up. We didn’t find him getting angry on the field. He was a cool person. He didn’t want to waste energy on anger.” Bradman’s exit was quite in contrast to his entry towards the crease. Then he would walk in slowly, collecting his thoughts, taking in the atmosphere, getting used to the light. When his job was done he would depart hurriedly, getting away from the heat of battle to relax and rejuvenate in the dressing room.

Sarwate spoke more about the personal qualities of Bradman. He said in The Sportstar: “He was a great tactician, a great captain. But he was also a great sportsman, a perfect gentleman and a true ambassador for cricket. I have not seen many opponents appreciating a good stroke or a good ball. The Don always had nice words if you played a good shot or bowled a good ball to him. Signs of a good sportsman who appreciates a good act and it did not really matter to him if the player was on his side or the other.” Sarwate also recalled in The Week, “Don was very confident but not arrogant and that was the way he behaved with us. He never tried to show that they were playing against a very inferior side.” All this may sound bizarre and outlandish in the modern age of sledging. True, this is a very different era, of cut-throat commercialism, but abuse on the field is certainly a bane of present-day cricket. If players find it difficult to be gentlemanly nowadays, they should at least refrain from being loutish, particularly in this electronic age when impressionable minds watching on live television are quick to imbibe crass behaviour as being an acceptable way of life.    

Equally effusive in his appreciation of The Don, C.S. Nayudu also told The Sportstar: “As a cricketer he had no match and he was simply a lovable character as a down-to-earth human being. I know people said he was aloof at times, but we all found him such an easily approachable man.” The verdict was unanimous. Bradman and the Indians got along very well.

Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com.
Follow him on:


Don’s Century is available at an attractive price on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166859

Other books by Indra Vikram Singh available on Amazon:
A Maharaja’s Turf  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166832
The Big Book of World Cup Cricket  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166840

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

As the Indian cricket team tours Down Under, a flashback to Don Bradman’s 100th first-class hundred that he scored against the first Indian team to visit Australia in 1947-48. Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘Don’s Century’



Appropriately, independent India’s first Test series was against Bradman’s Australians. The Don was a much loved and worshipped figure in India. It was said that apart from his own country, Bradman received the most letters from India. A succession of Indian cricketers from the captain of the 1947-48 team Lala Amarnath, to the present demi-god Sachin Tendulkar, spoke about their admiration and awe of Bradman, and many of them kept in regular touch with him, exchanging greetings and letters and speaking over the phone.

The Indian team missed a few of its top players. Vijay Merchant, who was designated captain, had to withdraw owing to health problems, as did Rusi Modi. Mushtaq Ali had a bereavement, while Fazal Mahmood, based in Lahore, was now a citizen of newly-created Pakistan. A fortnight before the Test series, there was a match between an Australian XI and the touring Indians at Sydney. Prior to this Bradman had scored his 99th first-class century in a Sheffield Shield game. A huge crowd congregated at the Sydney Cricket Ground in anticipation of the great man’s 100th hundred. The Indian team batted first and was all out for 326 on the second morning. Rob Lurie, Australian High Commissioner in India more than half a century later, was a wide-eyed young spectator on that historic occasion.

He wrote in a special issue of Cricket Talk in September 2000 to commemorate the 92nd (and as it, sadly, turned out, last) birthday of Sir Donald Bradman: “The day was overcast. Bradman, by his standards at least, started sedately and for much of the pre and early after lunch sessions Miller was the dominant partner. So much so that when he reached his half-century before Bradman and to a rapturous reaction from the crowd, it looked as though the day belonged to Miller rather than to his captain. But a remarkable change came over the game as Miller suddenly seemed to appreciate this fact and went into his shell, working the strike so that Bradman had a good deal of the bowling and limiting his own flamboyant strokeplay to the occasional trademark and sublime cover drive. Bradman meanwhile got on with things with superb judgement, placement and running between the wickets until he reached 99 in the last over before tea. You can imagine how we all felt - Bradman later wrote ‘even in the most exciting Test match I can never remember a more emotional crowd nor a more electric atmosphere’.“

The High Commissioner continued: “Amarnath threw the ball to (Gogumal) Kishenchand. In my view this was a very shrewd move as Bradman like most of us in the crowd, had never seen him bowl, and the element of surprise can be critical at such a moment. Bradman was very careful with the first ball but the second he played off his pads on the on-side. As he and Miller ran through for the single, a huge cheer engulfed the ground and the Indian team rushed to congratulate a man they admired and liked. My family and I joined with many thousands in repeated singing of the refrain ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’.” Bradman himself recalled that cherished instant in his Farewell to Cricket: “Finally, with my score on 99, Amarnath called on G. Kishenchand, who was fielding on the boundary. He had not bowled before and I had no idea what type of bowler he was. It was a shrewd move, as one could have so easily been deceived but I treated him with the greatest respect until eventually came a single to mid on and the great moment had arrived.”

Don Bradman sprinting for his 100th run to complete 100 First-class Hundreds.

High Commissioner Lurie added, “After tea Bradman cut loose and in 45 minutes scored an extraordinary, even by his standards, 72 runs marred only by the injury to a spectator by a very big six over long-on.“ Bradman revealed in Farewell to Cricket that he felt obliged to give the crowd which had so cheered his achievement some reward for its wonderful feelings towards him. 

It was unheard for anyone except those who played in English first-class cricket to log up a hundred centuries because nowhere else were sufficient matches played to enable a batsman achieve the feat. That Bradman reached the landmark is hardly surprising, and this only underlines the huge gulf between him and the others. Indeed Amarnath, in his brusque and inimitable way wrote in The Sportstar, “I always considered him a Derby horse; the others were horses before the cart.” Of the hundredth run of that famous innings, Raymond Robertson-Glasgow stated, “at the historical statistical moment, when Bradman was about to go from 99 to 100 there was the Indian bowler trying to deliver the ball with one hand and applaud with the other, a feat that is beyond the most enthusiastic practitioner.”

To give an idea of how difficult it was for non-English first-class batsmen to score a hundred centuries, Bradman scored 41 tons in four English seasons, but 72 three-figure knocks in his 14 full Australian seasons, not considering his first and last seasons, and two seasons during the war when he played just a few games. In England he scored more than 10 hundreds per season, while in Australia he averaged just above five centuries in a season. That was because he played 120 innings in those four English seasons, but only 197 innings in his 14 full Australian seasons. If Bradman was English he would have scored 200 centuries, wet wickets or otherwise. Hobbs - whose career was about a decade longer - scored 197 hundreds in 1315 innings (a century every 6.67 innings); Bradman hit up 117 hundreds in 338 innings (a century every 2.88 innings). 

Back to his 100th hundred, Bradman was determined to get it in that innings. That is why he began slowly, got his eye in, assessed the wicket and the bowling, and accelerated when well set. That is what he usually did, but on this occasion it might have been a bit more exaggerated. Indian vice-captain Vijay Hazare observed this tendency, and he said in an interview with Cricket Talk: “He used to take a lot of singles and rotate the strike in the initial phase of his innings.” C.S. Nayudu supplemented this as he told Vijay Lokapally of The Sportstar, “His footwork was lightning fast and I have not known a batsman with a better technique and class. After the initial period when he would gauge the pitch and the attack, it was almost impossible to contain him.”

Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com.
Follow him on:
Blogs: singhiv.wordpress.com  and indravikramsingh.blogspot.in
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ivsingh and https://www.facebook.com/Indra-Vikram-Singh-478036209195171/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IVRajpipla

Don’s Century is available at an attractive price on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166859

Other books by Indra Vikram Singh available on Amazon:
The Big Book of World Cup Cricket  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166840

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Two classic sports books by Indra Vikram Singh 'A Maharaja's Turf' and 'Don's Century' available on Amazon



A Maharaja's Turf

by Indra Vikram Singh

Collector’s edition on the triumph of 
Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla 
in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934

Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6
Fully Illustrated
Hardcover with jacket 8.75 x 11.5 x 0.6 inches (landscape)
140 Pages
Available at an attractive price on Amazon  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166832

The Book : This is the story of the exhilarating victory of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934, the only Indian owner to win the blue riband of the turf in its history dating back to 1780. The dapper Indian prince’s horse Windsor Lad left the hitherto undefeated favourite Colombo trailing in third place in the presence of royalty led by King George V and Queen Mary, and a multitude of an estimated quarter to half a million people on that damp afternoon of 6th June. The triumph earned the Maharaja a unique hat-trick of Derby victories as he had already clinched the first Indian Derby at Calcutta in 1919 with his horse Tipster, and the Irish Derby at Curragh in 1926 with Embargo.

The enthralling tale recounted by the Maharaja’s grandson Indra Vikram Singh offers an insider's insight, and is embellished with rare media photographs of the race and from the Rajpipla royal family collection over many generations. It has been extensively researched from about 80 newspapers and magazines of 1934, five books and websites, and carries articles by the Maharaja himself. There are news reports, cartoons and caricatures which open out a whole new world. Featured are the British royal family, the Aga Khan, Maharaja Man Singh II of Jaipur and the leading racehorses, owners, trainers and jockeys of the day, among other eminent personalities. 

The book captures the era between the two World Wars, of imperial times and a royal lifestyle, also going back centuries into history, connecting the past and the present and depicting the march of time, even as the thrilling race remains the central theme. It unfolds the tale of the uncanny prophesy of Gipsy Lee, the several coincidences around the number 13, the defeat of a 'super-horse', and the unrelenting quest of a prince to realise his dream that is bound to keep the reader transfixed.

The Author : Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Rajpipla, now in the state of Gujarat, India, Indra Vikram Singh is a heritage resort promoter, writer, author, editor and publisher. He is author of 'Test Cricket - End of the Road?' (Rupa & Co., 1992); 'World Cup Cricket' (Rupa & Co., 2002); 'The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket' (edition I, Sporting Links, 2007); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’, edition II (ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8, Media Eight, 2011); ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6, Sporting Links, 2011) on the triumph of his grandfather Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934; 'The Big Book of World Cup Cricket' (ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3, Collector's edition, Sporting Links, 2011); 'Don's Century' (ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Sporting Links, 2011) which is a biography of Don Bradman and a panorama of batting from the 1860s to the present times; and 'Crowning Glory' (ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7, Sporting Links, 2011), a special supplement on India's win in the ICC World Cup 2011.   

The author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com. His blogs www.indravikramsingh.blogspot.com and www.singhiv.wordpress.com offer an insight into his work, his family and heritage.

Contents :
Chapter 1 : Chasing a dream
Chapter 2 : Thoroughbred with great potential
Chapter 3 : Captivating prelude
Chapter 4 : Day of glory
Chapter 5 : "Good old Pip"
Chapter 6 : A time to celebrate
Chapter 7 : Media carnival
Chapter 8 : Windsor Lad: gallant and endearing
Chapter 9 : Marcus Marsh: chip off the old block
Chapter 10 : Charlie Smirke: dashing rider with a point to prove
Chapter 11 : An uncanny forecast..... and the lucky number 13
Chapter 12 : Was 'super horse' Colombo unlucky?
Chapter 13 : Experts and bookmakers bite the dust
Chapter 14 : Poignant moments
Chapter 15 : 'I didn't think I would win the Derby - I knew'
Chapter 16 : "My Three Derbys"
Chapter 17 : A life blessed
Chapter 18 : The family's cherished memories
Chapter 19 : Special postal cover to commemorate the platinum jubilee of the Derby triumph
Chapter 20 : Rajpipla State post
Chapter 21 : The Gohil Rajput clan
Epilogue
Bibliography
Colour photo feature / Royal family of Rajpipla in modern times




Don’s Century

by Indra Vikram Singh

Biography of Don Bradman
and a panaroma of batting 
from the 1860s to the present times

Published in India by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0
Fully illustrated
Paperback French Fold 11 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
188 pages  
Available at an attractive price on Amazon  https://www.amazon.in/dp/8190166859 

The Book : The questions still asked are: how great was Don Bradman actually, was he just a run-getting machine and a statistical marvel, or was he truly the best there has ever been, have there been other batsmen as good or better than Bradman. Don’s Century analyses Bradman’s batting technique, brings forth his amazing achievements at the crease, and assesses the merits of other great batsmen from the 1860s to the present times. Written in the centenary year of the peerless Don Bradman, the book is a celebration of the life and magic of the willow of The Don, and also of the art of batting and indeed the game of cricket. 

The 11-chapter book by Indra Vikram Singh, the only Indian biographer of Bradman, interspersed with stories and comments from legendary writers and cricketers alike, and extensively researched from scores of old publications, has three sections.

The main segment showcases Bradman's days at the crease from Bowral to Sydney, on to Lord's and Leeds, back to Adelaide, and finishing at The Oval in 1948. The legend begins with young Don’s rise to the top, his first fifty and hundred in the backwaters of Bowral, the maiden double century against Wingello and triple ton versus Moss Vale, hundred on first-class debut and on to Test cricket. Bradman’s legendary feats in the Test arena are recalled in all their magnificence, the hundreds in his first Test series, the unprecedented and still-unparalleled triumphs of the Ashes tour of 1930, and annihilation of the West Indies and South African teams.

The saga undergoes a dramatic twist with the vicious Bodyline attack that was devised solely to decimate the genius of Bradman. This chapter carries extracts from letters received by the author from England’s Bob Wyatt who was vice captain to Douglas Jardine during that infamous series.

The aftermath of Bodyline, Bradman’s exhilarating fightbacks on and off the field, how his stirring deeds brought solace to the suffering millions during the Great Depression, and his resilience as captain of Australia are presented lucidly, leading to the sabbatical brought about by the Second World War. The final lap of The Don’s career after the war, the firm hold on the Ashes, his exploits against the first Indian team after the nation’s independence, and finally the 1948 tour of England by his ‘Invincibles’ are described vividly and objectively. The text is supplemented by twenty scorecards detailing Bradman’s finest achievements in the first-class and Test arenas.

A large chapter in the middle is a panorama of batting portraying thirty-four of the best players down the ages, for no story of Sir Donald Bradman can be complete without an appraisal of other giants of the crease.
   
Commencing with the colossus of the Victorian era Dr. W.G. Grace, the captivating genius Prince Ranjitsinhji, the endearing and enthralling Victor Trumper from Australia, the complete master Sir Jack Hobbs, continuing with the likes of Frank Woolley, Charles 'Governor General' Macartney, Bill Ponsford, Walter Hammond, Stan McCabe, the forbear to West Indies giants George Headley, the brilliant South Africans Bruce Mitchell and Dudley Nourse, India’s Vijay Merchant, Sir Leonard Hutton, Dennis Compton, Neil Harvey, Arthur Morris, the inimitable Ws Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott, the original little master Pakistan’s Hanif Mohammad, the incomparable Sir Garfield Sobers, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar, Sir Vivian Richards, arguably New Zealand’s finest Martin Crowe, Steve Waugh, the exhilarating Sri Lankan Aravinda de Silva, and concluding with the champions of the modern era Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, and many more referred to down history, how good they were, and how they compared with each other and Bradman.

They include some of Bradman's favourite players. This is not just a factual or statistical segment, but importantly talks about the epochs and conditions they played in, and also has interesting little tales. It traces the evolution and development of the game from W.G. Grace’s days in the 1860s till the present day.

The third and concluding part explores the vicissitudes of Bradman’s life, trials and tribulations, his persona, way of life and quest for excellence, the detractors, friends and family, post-retirement days and role as cricket administrator, and the final stretch of one of the most amazing stories ever, of a sporting hero and icon beyond compare. A handwritten letter from The Don received by the author Indra Vikram Singh in 1999, and an article based on it that he wrote at Bradman’s demise in 2001, are all featured in this tribute to the unquestioned king of kings of the crease.

There are nearly 100 classic photographs of Bradman and other greats in sepia brown from the top agencies of the world. A comprehensive statistics section highlighting Bradman’s accomplishments and records sums up the inspirational tale. A detailed index makes the book extremely user-friendly.
  
The Author : Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Rajpipla, now in the state of Gujarat, India, Indra Vikram Singh is a heritage resort promoter, writer, author, editor and publisher. He is author of 'Test Cricket - End of the Road?' (Rupa & Co., 1992); 'World Cup Cricket' (Rupa & Co., 2002); 'The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket' (edition I, Sporting Links, 2007); ‘The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket’, edition II (ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8, Media Eight, 2011); ‘A Maharaja’s Turf’ (ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6, Sporting Links, 2011) on the triumph of his grandfather Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934; 'The Big Book of World Cup Cricket' (ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3, Collector's edition, Sporting Links, 2011); 'Don's Century' (ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Sporting Links, 2011) which is a biography of Don Bradman and a panorama of batting from the 1860s to the present times; and 'Crowning Glory' (ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7, Sporting Links, 2011), a special supplement on India's win in the ICC World Cup 2011.   

The author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com. His blogs www.indravikramsingh.blogspot.com and www.singhiv.wordpress.com offer an insight into his work, his family and heritage.

Contents
Chapter 1 : Born to Conquer
Chapter 2 : The Phenomenon
Chapter 3 : Sinister Plot
Chapter 4 : Truly Immortal
Chapter 5 : At the Helm
Chapter 6 : The Ageing Lion
Chapter 7 : Peerless Rungetter and Other Masters of the Willow
Chapter 8 : Reclusive and Focussed
Chapter 9 : The Game's Ultimate Authority
Chapter 10 : Travails Off the Field
Chapter 11 : End of a Glorious Innings
Career Record
Bibliography
Index