Issue :   
November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:November' 2018

BOOK BAZAAR

A fine piece of reference on Indian cricket

Keshav Rau

Many Journalists in India can boast of having written 30 books in a career spanning nearly 70 years ? Also, how many could boast of having written large number of those 30 books while going through the regular daily grind of reporting, subbing, page make-up and managing and giving directions to a teams of subs and reporters in a National Daily of the country? Also, how many could have achieved all this even while going through several physical ailments: quite a few fractures, hip replacement surgeries, eye surgeries etc.?
All this Kishin Rochiram Wadhwaney has achieved even while being just two years short of touching 90 years of age. His latest voluminous book “Test Cricketers of India” came out a few weeks back. In the past few recent years, his biographies of MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar added to the repertoire of books written by him. Earlier some of the other biographies that he came out with were on Lala Amarnath, with the sub title “The Stormy Petrel of Indian Cricket”, Sunil Gavaskar, Mansur Ali Khan, and the former Nawab of Pataudi.
A decade back, Wadhwaney came out with a different material for a biographical venture: Muslim cricketers of India ---- pre and post partition. The present book is also of a different variety: a compendium of 290 cricketers who represented the country ---- the personal views of Wadhwaney, their attitudes, temperament, different approaches to the game as well their attitude towards their team mates etc --- all recorded in a compact fashion. The book also contains lots of statistics about each one of the cricketers. These statistics have ably been provided by the co-author of the book, Ravi Kant Srivastava, a statistician of repute.
This writer found this book to be somewhat different from the biographies that he has penned in the past on individual cricketers in the sense that not many controversial inputs have been provided. The writer could clearly discern a certain degree of balance in the treatment of his subject. The few exceptions are the Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram, better known in the cricketing World of India as “Vizzy”.

Kishin R. Wadhwaney Generally, in all his writings ---- whether in the newspapers he worked or the books he wrote ---- some element of controversy was infused by Wadhwaney. That streak of revelling in controversy began very early in his career: as an apprentice sports reporter in The Pioneer of Lucknow in the early fifties filling up just a leave vacancy, he went hammer and tongs against Vizzy who was at the helm of affairs in UP Cricket as well as the BCCI. On his own admission, he was forewarned by a Senior Editor of the paper to desist from such critical writing because it would cost Wadhwaney his job as Vizzy was on the Board of Directors of the newspaper. But the young apprentice chose to ignore the advice and within no time sack orders were served on Wadhwaney!

The book is a painstakingly wellrecorded account of all the Test Cricketers of India, with appropriate statistics provided by the statistician Srivastava. It will serve as a good piece of reference material in the archives of the BCCI, State Associations and Libraries. Apart from recording the achievements of all Test Cricketers, it also touches upon those played in unofficial Tests.

This trait continued even after he left The Pioneer and joined the National Herald. He had several run ins with Habul Mukherjee, the hockey player, who claimed that he couldn’t represent the country because he insisted on playing with a dhoti.
When he left Lucknow and came to the National Capital to join The Indian Express ---- where he continued till the end ----- the atmosphere was much more conducive for his forays in controversial areas. He exploited the situation very well and came out with several scoops in newspapers and inputs in some of the many books that he wrote. As Airport correspondent of the Express, he churned out excellent scoops.
While covering a match ---- first class or a test --- Wadhwaney always had his ears and eyes open for some unusual happenings on and off the ground; if there was anything at centre he missed out, he could very well depend on his colleagues in the press box to fill in the gaps.
A fine cricketer himself, Wadhwaney played for his Lucknow club D.Y.A. which will be celebrating its 75th year in a few months time. Till the very end, he held the record for the highest runs scored in the All India Sheesh Mahal cricket tournament ---- a very popular hot weather tournament of Lucknow.
Wadhwaney would have definitely represented U.P. in the Ranji Trophy, but for his penchant for his utterances and writings, which would raise hackles of the authorities just like Devraj Puri, who just played some unofficial test, but went on to become India’s cricket commentator. With his knowledge of the game and its rules, he took on in one of books the M.C.C. for being the final arbiters of the rules of the game and for bringing about changes. The latest book is a painstakingly well-recorded account of all the Test Cricketers of India, with appropriate statistics provided by the statistician Srivastava. It will serve as a good piece of reference material in the archives of the BCCI, State Associations and Libraries.
Apart from recording the achievements of all Test Cricketers, it also touches upon those played in unofficial Tests.