Books. One should never throw any book unread into the waste paper basket. This is what I did to an excellent book on cricket on January 24, 2010. I received a book from one of my sisters but I was so sick I threw it unread and unappreciated.

Yesterday, I asked my attendant to give me that book called 'Shadow across the playing field: 60 years of India Pakistan cricket' by Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan. The book has been edited by David Page. On the title is a cricket-ball; one of its halves has been painted a black green. Perhaps this is the shadow about which the book refers.

The Editor has contributed a piece which has been included as an introduction. The page begins by his reference to Lahore Airport. Here he ran into a welcoming crowed, chanting a slogan “Imran Khan Fateh-i-Hind”, 'more a reception' for a Mughal Emperor than a captain of cricket team.

The Germans military theorist Clause Witz wrote that war is merely a continuation of politics by other means. Over sixty years or more, this has been the state of cricketing relations between India and Pakistan. This sentiment has been echoed by an Indian Cricket writer Ram Chandera Guha in his book “A corner of a foreign field” which shows that cricket has been entwined with politics from the very beginning. He says that in the 19th century in Bombay, both Parsis and Hindus fought for the supremacy in cricket. As a challenge to dominate European Gymkhana, they were later joined by the Muslims and Muslim did to cricket as they did to politics more readily than the others. The ground was laid for the famous Quadrangular and Pentangular tournaments between the communal teams which brought life to Bombay.

A scion of princely house of Bhopal, Shaharyar Khan, who after studying in Cambridge served Pakistan as a diplomat for 30 years and more, served as an ambassador to Amman, London and Paris before becoming foreign secretary of Pakistan early 1990s.

His first love was cricket and he acted as Pakistan's manager of highly successful tour to India in 1999 and then as the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board from 2003 to 2006.

Shashi Tharoor worked for United Nations for nearly 30 years. His passion for cricket began as a schoolboy and continued till late in life. Then Mr. Page serves the bodyline controversies and how the phrase “It is not cricket” became a household phrase.

In some of the values of the game both authors find themselves on the same side. Shashi Tharoor is very critical of Indian spectators, who carry the support for their team as their failure to their Pakistani counterpart.

Both agree that the desire to win puts both India and Pakistan to ignore the basic points of the game.

Mr Tharoor is for the view that communalism of pentangular tournament was on the forefront.

Mr Tharoor says that communalism has created parties like Shivsena but he is as critical of Hindus chauvinism as he is of Muslim sectarianism.

Shaharyar Khan says that communalism is more of a problem in India than it is in Pakistan.

Finally we are told that this is the fifth volume to be published and the series. Cross border talk in which eminent Indian and Pakistani describe their sides and discuss the issues which divided the two countries. The series is published simultaneously in India and Pakistan in order to generate discussion in both countries at the same-time.

Mr Tharoor writes, for many Indians, Pakistanis are merely estranged siblings “basically like us”, in appearance, ethnicity, cuisine, and music largely indistinguishable from northern Indian. For other Indians then Pakistan can never of the taint of the original sin of its creation. While India has its share of Hindu bigots, hostile to Muslim in general and Pakistanis in particular, Indian liberals weaned on a diet of preaching about pluralism and religious co-existence.

They said many more comments like these to be found in this book. This can be described as an anthology of relations between the two countries

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