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A Shared History

T.C.A. Ranganathan

By Shaharayar M. Khan
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2005, pp. 238, Rs. 350.00


“Round and round the cauldron go, In the poisoned entrails throw, ………………………….., ……………………….., Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble, ……………………………., ………………………….., Cool it with a baboon’s blood, Then the charm is firm and good”-- Macbeth   An odd way to introduce a book on cricket? Perhaps.   Nawabzada Shaharyar Mohammed Khan joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1957 after a Cambridge education and retired as Foreign Secretary of Pakistan in 1994. But he was born in Bhopal to Begum Abida Sultaan of the Bhopal ruling family and had studied in Daly College, Indore and Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun. He had supported his mother’s decision to give up her claim to the throne and move to Pakistan after Partition. He has neither regrets regarding this decision nor any afterthoughts. But at the same time, he carried with him to Pakistan a love for classical music (now called Indian), his roots in history (again now called Indian) and a cultured way of life (now perhaps evaporating everywhere). In 1999, he was called to manage the Pakistan cricket team’s tour to India—the first after 11 years. The decision to tour was only partly out of a desire (on both sides) to test the cricketing powers of the two countries but mainly to assist the peace process between the two nations—a Vajpayee-Nawaj Sharif initiative. The decision to appoint Shaharyar Khan as the team manager was because of his skills as a career foreign service officer. But perhaps it was also because he had been a cricketer in his school/college days. Or even perhaps because of his ancestry—who knows?   The book started off as a tour record of that series—it is a complete record . After a four year gap, the author was called back into cricket to manage the team for the 2003 World Cup. There is thus an extensive Part Two on the World cup series. While the book was still in the press, the author was asked to take over as chairman of PCCB in November 2003. The return visit of the Indian Cricket team took place in February 2004 as part of the resumed Indo-pak peace process post Kargil—a Vajpayee-Musharraf initiative. There is thus an extensive epilogue regarding this tour. As a book on cricket it naturally has a number of perceptive comments regarding cricket. There are comments on how a final team gets chosen—analysis on why a match ...

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