Friday, 17 February 2017

Cricket Literature on the Syllabus!!!!!!


The news is that the slightly conservative Oxford University will soon incorporate cricket literature written by the finest cricket scribes into its PG course of 'appreciation of liberal arts and English literature.' This's a heartening news. The students of English literature will surely benefit from this innovative decision because cricket is the only game that lends itself to sublime literature. No other game has fascinated the wielders of pen the way cricket has. Right from the beginning, there've been cricket writers like Sir Neville Cardus, West Indian Sir C L R James, Ausralian Sir Ray Robinson, Noel Coward, Peter Roebuck, Lawrence Booth, to name but a few. Cardus, who was basically a music critic, wrote musical prose.
His magnum opus, " Cardus on Cricket," is regarded by many as the most fascinating piece of written English.

 In one of his essays in this book, he described Carribean George Hedlee, the black Bradman, as "A batsman so exalted and infallible that even if he desired to get out, angels stopped him to commit a cricketing harakiri and the opponents commiserated...! " Or when he described Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers in full flow in the first ever tie in Test cricket at Brisbane in 1961, " Gary's 132 in the first innings had all the ingredients of Beethoven's symphonies. His every shot reminded the lovers of music, the nuances of a well-orchestrated symphony...." But  Oxford is not the first University to introduce cricket literature to its Masters degree course in contemporary English literature.

Jamaica and Barbados Universities among the Carribean islands along with Adelaide and Christchurch varsities in Australia and New Zealand respectively, have been teaching cricket literature to their post graduate students of English literature. Indian universities can also take a cue from these universities as cricket is a religion in India and most of the students, even female students, can also relate to it. Instead of age-old format of all the Indian universities teaching same English poets, American literature, post modernism and commonwealth literature at college and university levels and churning out the same stupid students as well as utterly monotonous professors, isn't it a pathbreaking decision to emulate Oxford and other universities while chalking out the syllabus for English literature?


 India has also produced a few wonderful cricket scribes like K N Prabhu, Rajan Bala and to some extent, Sumil Gavaskar, who never had his books ghost-written. The late Rajan Bala's English was so beautiful in his numerous pieces that Pakistan's late cricket commentator and scribe, Umar Qureshi, requested University of Lahore to incorporate one of Bala's pieces on the famed 3 Ws of West Indis into the syllabus of degree courses. It was finally incorporated. And here in India, students have still been studying the same old stuff with no innovation and imagination. Can't the UGC take a leaf out of the books of these varsities and spruce up the overall syllabus of literature?        

                                                         -----Sumit Paul

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