SACHIN AND AZHAR AT CAPE TOWN by Abhishek Mukherjee and Arunabha Sengupta

by Abhishek Mukherjee and Arunabha Sengupta

Published by Pitch Publishing
A2 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way,
Worthing, Sussex BN13 3QZ


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Pages: 256

MRP: £16.99


I was curious to read this book. I remember the partnership well on which the book is based having followed its breakneck speed on Ceefax - do readers remember that? - and wondering if it what I was witnessing was correct. India had travelled to South Africa and had managed 166 runs in the First Test at Durban (yes, over both innings) and, in Cape Town, had managed 58 for five in their first innings in reply to South Africa's 529 for seven declared. Things were looking glum as the stylish Hyderabadi batsman and former Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, made his way to the crease. With the comparatively new captain, the remarkable Sachin Tendulkar, at the other end the pair plundered 222 runs which changed the complexion of the Test, if not its ultimate result.

The book, though, is very much not solely about this Cape Town Test of 1996-97. The format is fascinating and is a history of Indian and South African cricket and much else besides. It is rather like listening to Test Match Special, but in book form with both authors appearing to have a discussion about many things cricket whilst describing the action of the partnership. Many subjects and statistics - pretty impressive ones too, and not at all mundane - are touched upon and emotive subjects are not excluded whilst a running commentary of the Tendulkar and Azharuddin partnership continues in italics. The authors have been helped with the memories of, amongst others, Lance Klusener and Paul Adams.

The book gives much detail about Nelson Mandela, his story, his interest in cricket and his effect on South Africa and the world. Another notable statesman, Mahatma Gandhi, is also widely mentioned, as is the infamous train episode in Pietermaritzburg.

Both authors are extremely knowledgeable and have researched extensively and diligently given the vast array of cricketing and social subjects brought up in the book. The statistics, as mentioned previously, are interesting and some might make the reader look up and take notice quite regularly. It is written entertainingly and I found the breadth of subjects mentioned both fascinating and captivating. It is about so much more than this one remarkable partnership.

If my somewhat ancient radio is still capable at picking up the commentary at Lord's this summer (pandemic naturally permitting), it will remind me of this excellent book, Sachin and Azhar at Cape Town, by Abhishek Mukherjee and Arunabha Sengupta. Well done to both.