What connects Raja Raja Chola, a 11th century south Indian ruler and Ajith Wadekar of Indian cricket? M C Vasist, a history professor at Malabar Christian College has the answer. “Being the first ruler who made an overseas military victory for the first time in India, Raja Raja Chola did for India what Wadekar did for cricket in 1971 when the team under his captaincy made its first overseas victory against West Indies.” This is an example of how he enriches his history classes with analogies from the world of cricket.
The professor is an avid reader of books on cricket and cricketers. He has more than 100 books under this category. “My passion for cricket comes from my father. He was a college professor too and an avid cricket fan,” he says. The first book on cricket that came on his way was Sunny Days: The Memoirs of Sunil Gavaskar. One More Over by EAS Prasanna was around another which he came to read on the same period.
Kapil Dev’s autobiography, By God’s Decree is yet another favourite along with Raamachandra Guha’s A Corner of a Foreign Field. “Books penned by Boria Majumdar, Sunil Gavaskar’s My Idols’, Pradeep Magazine’s Not Quite Cricket, Mukul Keshav’s Men in White, CLR James’ Beyond a Boundary’ and even the latest, Yuvaraj Singh’s YUVI are there in my collection.
I like Guha’s books because it changed my perception on cricket. I used to have the notion that the game was an elitist one. But this particular book is all about the relationship between cricket and ordinary people of India,” he says. He also notes, “Ranji Trophy has a great history but has not been recorded. Also, books on legendary Indian wicket keepers are yet to be penned,” opines Vasist who is currently busy creating a cricket library.