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White On Green Celebrating the Drama of Pakistan Cricket By Richard Heller & Peter Oborne

Release date: 29th June, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: £19.99
Our Price: £16.59
You Save: £3.4 (17%)
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Too often, we condemn the unknown, a contradictory, yet disappointingly frequent reaction to our lack of understanding or information about people or the countries from where they originate.

It’s probably fair to say that folks are sometimes a little too hasty to criticise Pakistan out of hand, tarring the whole nation with the same brush, an unfair and undeserved reaction, usually made more vocal by those who have never visited the country.

Yet travel broadens the mind, for it dispels prejudice and introduces us to fresh ideas and culture; wrap sport into this mix and the case for travelling to foreign parts becomes compelling. If hopping on a flight to Karachi at short notice is a tad inconvenient, however, reading White On Green will at least whet the appetite. Not only that, it will show how sport can bond people, becoming a form of social adhesive capable of gluing the previously dislocated and divided.

The book is a collection of essays, several of which could be developed into books in their own right.

I particularly enjoyed the tale of Duncan Albert Sharpe, the second of only four Christians to have played Test cricket for Pakistan. Sharpe was related to William Makepeace Thackery (and David Cameron) who, following an outstanding performance at Trent Bridge against Nottinghamshire’s second XI while on tour with the Pakistan Eaglets (he scored 135 before lunch), was elevated to the full Test side to face Ritchie Benaud’s Australia during their tour of Pakistan later the same year.

In another essay, we discover that Sharpe made further history when Eisenhower became the first (and to date only) US President to attend a cricket Test match during the same series, introduced to Ike on what is described as “one of the dullest days in Test cricket.”

Then there’s the schoolboy-dream-come-true story of how a net bowler, Tauseef Ahmed, was drafted into the Test side (against Australia, no less) after impressing during a handful of practice sessions. He took 4-64 in the first innings and claimed another three victims, including the prize wicket of Greg Chappell, in the second innings as Pakistan won. Ahmed recalls the aftermath when team captain Javed Miandad advised the media scrum, “Don’t surround him and congratulate him, he’ll faint.”

The five-page summary of Shoaib Akhtar’s career is particularly amusing, while discovering how Moin Khan and Rashid Latif are putting so much back into cricket via their respective academies is uplifting.

You don’t need to be a cricket fan to enjoy this book, for it will prise open even the most parochial mind.


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