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Synopsis

The great C L R James once asked: 'What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?' For some of us answering that can keep you awake at night.

Soumya Bhattacharya knows this: he has a steady job, a loving wife, a daughter he dotes on. But most of all he has cricket. Or perhaps more accurately: cricket has him. Ever since he can remember, he's loved the game. From his first knockabouts on the living-room carpet - with his mother's paper bats and balls - he progressed to Test Match Special on short-wave, then to the whole panoply of obsession: one-dayers, Test matches, TV highlights, re-runs of TV highlights, always following one team - India. When you come from a country where the game is more than a religion, you must like cricket, right?

In this sparkling memoir of a lifetime spent in the company of eleven men, a green field and a billion other worshippers, Soumya Bhattacharya gives us a guided tour of the soul of a cricket obsessive. Part reportage, part travelogue, part cultural politics, You Must Like Cricket? takes us from his home in Kolkata to Lord's and back again as Bhattacharya explores the joys and the lows (mostly the lows) of a thirty-year love affair, how one game has become so closely tied to a nation's identity, and the troubling hold cricket has over him. But if your home ground was called Eden Gardens, where else would you rather be?

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