Sunday, 13 March 2016

Book Review: The Corridor of Uncertainty: How Cricket Mended a Torn Nation by Nihar Suthar

The success of the Afghan cricket team in the current World Cup has been complete at the time of writing. They have won all three matches, against Scotland, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe and have progressed to the next stage against the major cricket nations. On the way they have played bright, purposeful cricket and have done well in all disciplines of the game.

It was not always so. This remarkable book tells the story of a game started in the refugee camps of the 1990s, using a bat and a tennis ball purchased from a bazaar for a dollar each.How the game survived the Taliban, with floggings and dreadful punishments being meted out on the field before games. It is extraordinary that the game survived, let alone thrived.

Yet the Afghans are a strong, proud race and thrive it did. This is as far removed from a conventional cricket book as you could wish for, but all the better for that. It is a triumph over adversity and of the human spirit, an inspirational story that should be on everyone's list of 'must reads'.

It is also a multi-dimensional book, interweaving the cricket with things going on in the politics, religion and culture of the country as it recovered from a brutal, decade-long civil war. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died and millions more were re-located to the refugee camps where the game took root and a talented side took shape.

It is an extraordinary read and one that I would heartily recommend to any cricket fan.

The Corridor of Uncertainty: How Cricket Mended a Torn Nation is published by Pitch Publishing and is priced £9.99 from all good book shops

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