Ishan Roy
24 Jan 2024

Stumps to Stories

With the 17th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival just around the corner, the excitement is palpable. As this year’s edition of the festival approaches, cricket enthusiasts and literature aficionados alike are in for a treat as stalwarts of the game Ajay Jadeja, Venkat Sundaram and Amrit Mathur, are set to take centre stage in a captivating session. For me personally, the choice of which session to preview was an absolute no brainer, combining my two greatest interests- sport and the written word. Speaking for myself and the countless other cricket crazy folk in our country, this session promises a unique fusion of cricketing expertise, literary flair, and untold stories that have shaped India's deep-rooted connection with the sport.

First up in the panel we have Ajay Jadeja, a renowned cricketer and commentator who has actively contributed to the Indian cricket team in various formats, showcasing his skills as a player, coach, and mentor. Electric in the field, he was undoubtedly one of the safest pair of hands and served as the captain of the Indian cricket team as well.

On the non-strikers end of the literary pitch (only figuratively) is Venkat Sundaram, a multifaceted personality with roles ranging from author and commentator to coach and former cricketer. He brings forth his recent literary gem, Indian Cricket: Then and Now. This collection of fifty articles serves as a homage to legendary cricketers and a compelling chronicle of pivotal moments in India's cricketing history. Sundaram's work mirrors the evolving spirit of cricket in India, capturing the essence that binds the nation together across generations and diverse regions.

Amrit Mathur, a former civil servant, journalist, and a seasoned cricket administrator reassumes his role as umpire (again only figuratively). His memoir, Pitchside: My Life in Indian Cricket, provides readers with a literal first-hand account of the transformative period in Indian cricket. From the legend of ‘Martial Sahab’ to tales about the debonaire Tiger Pataudi, Mathur skilfully recounts the changing dynamics of the game, intimate accounts of players' lives and exclusive dressing room chat. An incisive narrative, it promises an insider's perspective on the sport that has been the heartbeat of the nation for as long as one can remember.

To add to the literary + cricketing feast, entrepreneur and author Amrish Kumar will be in conversation with Jadeja, Sundaram and Mathur. Kumar, known for his book Gods of Willow, will guide the discussion, delving into the authors' experiences, anecdotes, and the enthralling narratives that have kept cricket at the forefront of the sporting world for decades.

Cricket, often hailed as the de facto national sport of India, holds a special place in the hearts of millions. The upcoming session at Jaipur Literature Festival aims to unravel the layers of this obsession by bringing together the unique perspectives of Sundaram and Mathur. Through their books, readers will witness a tapestry of memories, insights, and reflections that showcase the profound impact cricket has had on shaping India's cultural fabric. As anticipation builds for this cricket-centric literary affair, fans can expect a rollercoaster ride of emotions — from reliving iconic moments on the field to discovering behind-the-scenes revelations that have, until now, remained concealed in the vaults of cricketing history. The Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 is not just a gathering of books and authors; it's a celebration of narratives that have the power to unite, inspire, and transcend boundaries. Sundaram and Mathur, with their rich contributions to cricketing literature, promise to elevate this celebration, offering a deeper understanding of a game that has played a pivotal role in shaping the collective consciousness of a nation.

So all you cricket crazies and literature lovers, mark your calendars for the 1st of February 2024 , book your delegate packages now, and head on over to the Pink City for a journey through the pages of Indian cricket history!