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Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan

Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan
Shaharyar M. Khan, Ali Khan

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Pakistan is a country beset with politicised instabilities, economic problems, ethnic conflicts, religious fervour and crises of identity. It is also a country in which the game of cricket has become a nationwide obsession. How has that happened? How does a Muslim country, jealous of its independence and determined to forge a Pakistani identity, so passionately embrace the alien gentleman's game imported by the distant and departed former colonial masters? What do we learn of Pakistan from its attitudes and responses to cricket? This book sees Pakistan - its history, politics and society - through the prism of cricket. Shaharyar Khan and Ali Khan describe how cricket defines national identity and boosts morale even while Pakistan struggles to contain internal political conflict and the influence of the Taliban near and within its borders; they show how the game shapes the political, social and cultural landscape of Pakistan and its fractured relations with India. But with recent betting scandals and accusations of spot-fixing throwing Pakistani cricket into the global media spotlight, what does cricket tell us about condition of Pakistani society today?

The former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, a man with an unparalleled insight into the establishment, Shaharyar Khan examines how this very Western sport came to embed itself in the psyche of Pakistanis old and young, transcending social and class boundaries. The authors illuminate Pakistan for readers by offering an unusual and highly original perspective - that in understanding the state of cricket in Pakistan, can we gain a deeper understanding of the state of Pakistan itself. Demonstrating how the turbulence around cricket has much wider political implications, this book will fascinate general readers and cricket enthusiasts, at the same time proving essential reading for observers of Pakistan, India and the South Asia region.

Author Info

Shaharyar M Khan is a distinguished international diplomat who served as High Commissioner in Great Britain, as Ambassador to France and Jordan, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary and UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Rwanda. His cricket pedigree is impeccable. He distinguished himself for Cambridge University Crusaders while reading law at Corpus Christi College, played first grade cricket in Britain and Pakistan and was a playing member of the MCC. His family link him to the all-time 'greats' of cricket on the sub-continent including the Nawab of Pataudi who played for England and captained India and Mansur Alu Khan, a distinguished 'Blue' and Pakistani captain. He was Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, 2003-2006. Ali Khan is Associate Professor at LUMS, a professional social anthropologist and cricket-playing student of the game. Shaharyar Khan's previous publications include The Begums of Bhopal: A Dynasty of Women Rulers in the Raj, The Shallow Graves of Rwanda (both I.B.Tauris) and Memoirs of a Rebel Princess.


' honest attempt to analyse and find answers to the terrible problems of terrorism, match-fixing and international isolation facing Pakistan cricket today... Pakistan cricket has long needed a book of this calibre... full of insights and revelations... Nobody can claim to understand Pakistan, let alone cricket, without a full and careful reading of this admirable book.'
Peter Oborne, The Telegraph

'Cricket Cauldron answers an intriguing question: how did Pakistan, created for the Muslims of the subcontinent, take to the very English game of cricket? Khan combines his knowledge of cricket with his vast experience as a diplomat to tell a compelling story of cricket, society, nation and culture.'
Mihir Bose

'As a former foreign secretary, Shaharyar was well placed to straddle the meshing of sport and politics that characterises cricket in Pakistan... Shaharyar himself emerges as a sympathetic figure who is outward-looking and rides above the factionalism cricket boards are so prone to.'
Tim Wigmore, ESPN Cric Info

'[Shaharyar Khan] writes, with compelling understanding, of the conceits of power in a dysfunctional country.'

'...engrossing... Shaharyar provides a gripping insider’s account.'
Globe Magazine

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781780760834
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Height: 216
Width: 134
Illustrations: 17 b/w integrated

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