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Researching great Indian cricketeers

Posted October 17, 2017

Mihir has just returned from a literary festival in India. While there he took the opportunity to do some research for his next book on Indian cricket.  He travelled to Najafgarh, just outside Delhi to meet Amar Nath Sharma, Virender Sehwag’s coach. These are pictures taken at his coaching centre where Sehwag learnt the game.

Mihir interviewing Amar Nath Sharma, Virender Sehwag’s coach.

I went to Najafgarh, just outside Delhi to meet Amar Nath Sharma, Virender Sehwag’s coach.

An unlikely Prince of Spies

Posted September 12, 2017

Times Literary Supplement

Spies, by definition, live in a world of grey, but the life of Bhagat Ram Talwar, alias Silver, seems to have been exceptionally shadowy. Born a Hindu Pathan in the North-West Frontier Province of undivided India, of nondescript appearance, armed with broken English but with a limitless talent for deception, Silver ranks with Garbo (Allies), Sorge (Soviet Union) and Cicero (Nazi Germany) in the pantheon of the great spies of the Second World War. Even among them he is unique: he belonged to a colony involved in a freedom struggle of its own; his theatre was not Europe but the tribal badlands through which he would make twelve hazardous journeys between Peshawar and Kabul; and he spied, with varying degrees of loyalty, for five powers ­– Italy, Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union and Japan – and survived.

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The ins and outs of cricketer Steven Finn’s life

Posted August 31, 2017

Financial Times

The Hampstead home of the England bowler is where he relaxes to focus on future glory

At Home with the FT Steven Finn 

Steven Finn, the Middlesex and England fast bowler, has had the sort of rollercoaster career that would have tempted many cricketers to give up in despair. He always seems to be on the brink of becoming England’s number one fast bowler, then has a slump in form or injury and is fighting to regain his place. In 2010, he took 5 for 87 during his first Test at Lord’s and was compared to Glen McGrath, the great Australian bowler. Yet in the seven years since, he has been in and out of the team. On the 2013/14 tour of Australia he was the only player in the squad not to play a Test and was sent home, with the coach Ashley Giles saying: “Steve is not selectable at the moment.” The next year, he was selected to play in a Test at Edgbaston, also against Australia. He took 6 for 79, won the man of the match award and set up the victory that turned the series. England went on to regain the Ashes, the most fabled competition in cricket.

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India has changed beyond recognition

Posted August 15, 2017

Evening Standard

 

 

 

70 years after independence, the India I know is losing its way

Posted August 2, 2017

The Guardian

 

As the country celebrates 70 years of independence, it seems to be turning its back on the secular, tolerant society I remember growing up in Mumbai.

 

In 1960, 13 years after India won freedom, the American writer Selig Harrison published India: The Most Dangerous Decades. He feared “the collapse of the Indian state into regional components” ruled by communists. Predicting that India would never be able to match China, he wrote: “The west confronts the unmistakable fact of a dominant central authority in China, it is possible that in an unstable India no outsider will be able to say with assurance where political legitimacy resides.”

 

Such views were not confined to foreigners. Three years earlier, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari – a confidant of Gandhi, and the first Indian governor-general of the country – had predicted that “the centrifugal forces will ultimately prevail”, bringing anarchy or fascism. And my most vivid memories of growing up as one of the midnight’s children generation – born as the union jack was hauled down from Delhi’s Red Fort at midnight on 15 August 1947 – are of listening to my parents’ generation, who had survived partition, mournfully surveying the country’s future, some even hoping the British would come back.

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