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Democracy's XI: The Great Indian Cricket Story

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Nothing unites India like cricket. The Indian team is a glorious mix of people from different religions, classes, castes, regions and languages; where the son of a pump manager from Ranchi is tightly bound in fate and determination to the child prodigy of a Marathi professor from Mumbai and a Muslim from the back alleys of Hyderabad. And while dynasts can rule the roost in ...more
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published October 15th 2017 by Juggernaut
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Umesh Kesavan
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, cricket
Rajdeep's biggest strength is his access to every cricketer he profiles in this book. He gets valuable bytes on all issues and personalities- He questions Gavaskar on Bedi, Dhoni on Srinivasan and Ganguly on Chappell. Despite such precious access and a promising premise, Rajdeep falters because cliches rule every page. The well written parts of the book are wherein he quotes veterans like Gideon Haigh or Mukul Kesavan. A maudlin, cliche-loaded tribute to Indian cricket that could have been much ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Reading books on sports and sportsmen is a newly acquired habit. For the first 55 years of my life, just read two. Tiger’s Tale by Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and later Sunny Days by Sunil Gavaskar. Interest got reignited after someone gifted me a copy of OPEN – the no holds barred autobiography of Andre Agassi. Fell in love with the book and also rediscovered the joy of reading about young achievers who overcome all odds and come on top of the their game and stay there for a while. In the last 3 ye ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I know that there has been some criticism of Sardesai's methodology and choice of the eleven cricketers in the book but I was never bothered by it. I was more keen on reading short stories about cricketers that I have watched - and more importantly, about those who I haven't. I really appreciated the minor details about different cricketers that Sardesai's research generated - such as the importance Dravid's parents gave to education (Can't think of a better example. Writing this review belatedl ...more
A Man Called Ove
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports-arts
Profiles of cricketers can be fun to read. One of my favourite books as a teenager was Idols by Sunil Gavaskar that contained profiles of around 30 cricketers who were contemporaries of Gavaskar and thus introduced me to a previous generation.
This book is a delightful read about 11 cricketers who the author thinks changed Indian cricket. While the list is far from perfect, each of the profiles was fun to read with the right balance of commentary, anecdotes and narration. I have read biographies
Saurav Choudhury
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
A golden opportunity, squandered. Rajdeep with his kind of access to these individuals was expected to bring out a masterpiece, a book filled with anecdotes and stories that would make any cricket lover stand-up and take note. Unfortunately nothing as such happens.

He definitely tries to bring up the true reach of the game and how this simple game connects all of India, small towns to larger cities and how it has played an important role in building a connect between the different segments of th
Shreyas Dixit
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
It provides a history of BCCI and the player vs board dynamics. Linking it to India's democracy was mostly unnecessary. The choice of players again is not to my liking. ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Nothing new or rare unknown incidents,
T. Sathish
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Finished reading the book, Democracy XI, by Rajdeep Sardesai..The book is a collection of 11 short biographies of prominent stars in Indian cricket. Each biography had some nice anecdotes, some of them are already well known while others were new.

Rajdeep has tried to draw parallels to India as a country and the star(s) of that time period;how they were a reflection of India of those times..This aspect has been handled at a very superficial level. No deep analysis has been presented. So mostly,
Diptakirti Chaudhuri
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Probably the highest concentration of anecdotes I have read in a cricket book!
Rajdeep Sardesai's access to cricketers (of all levels and vintages) is something else and he has managed to get reactions and stories from a mindboggling number of them. The writing style is easy and smooth.
The book falters only when Sardesai tries to draw connections between cricketing events and political ones or parallels between cricketers and politicians. Other than that, it is a fine read and stands up as a go
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Rajdeep gives you these delightful little stories about the cricketers interspersed between ramblings and repetitive paragraphs. The extra .5 is for those stories alone.
Arunayan Sharma
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has everything, except for the true feeling of cricket and cricketers.
Maruti Naik
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review was written In October 2017, spread over 3 parts -

Part 1: The first 3 chapters

I kinda like Rajdeep; he is straightforward, feisty and sporting (his unedited interview of Pranabda is testimony). I have been waiting for this book quite eagerly i must say; the first book i have ever pre-ordered on Amazon.

The book arrived in the middle of a family get together — yesterday was bhaubeez and Janaki had invited her dad’s side of the family over. The packaging quickly disposed off, i started
Raj Sinha
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
The first thing that strikes you (even as you look at the cover of the book) is that there is one odd player in the XI. Dhoni is difficult to recognise.

If you look at the composition, it's Dilip Sardesai who stands oddly from the rest - what is he doing in this exalted XI? Rajdeep anticipates this and takes pains in the too-long introduction to justify the choice of his father - but the justification does not cut ice. Rajdeep's apology sounds hollow.

The point that the author clarifies about th
Prabhat  sharma
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed
Democracy’s XI The Great Indian Cricket Story- Rajdeep Sardesai is an inspiring book about 11 cricketers- Dilip Sardesai, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli . The story begins with the life of his father (Dilip Sardesai) of the writer (Rajdeep Sardesai) in 1961 onwards to Virat Kohli 2008 about how cricket has has developed in India and brought happiness t ...more
Ritu Mantri
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Among the 11 cricketers chosen by Rajdeep Sardesai for his book Democracy XI, 9 were batsmen and only 2 were ballers. What does this means? That India produced more world class batsman than ballers. That in India, there is more keenness to become a batsman than baller.

Whatever be the analysis, Rajdeep Sardesai has done a fantastic job in bringing out the complete story of the journey of cricket in India right from its advent to evolve to touching the peak of glory at various points of time.

To gi
Rakhi Jayashankar
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Cricket is a religion for Indians. It is an Indian game accidentally discovered by the English, as the author says. Hence a book on cricket will definitely raise the expectations.

Who else to write on the topic than Rajdeep sardesai. Being a cricketer's son, author has the hands own experience on the cricketer's' lives. Author refers that an actor's son can be an actor. If not an A grade actor, they can be actors sill . A politician's son can be a politician but for a cricketer's son, even enter
Siddharrth Jain
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Cricket happens to be my first love and as they say, the first remains the special and forever. So growing up in the early 80s, and fortunately enough, Sachin Tendulkar's excellence had started to enthral the world. I am one of those gazillion 'devotees' of this Godly figure, who can never commit anything unworthy. Such was his aura and continues to be.

For a cricket aficionado in me, this book once again helped me re-live those memories, of India's finest cricketing produce. While the brilliance
Luke Gracias
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book every Indian cricket tragic should read.

Perhaps we grew up in the times of the transistor radio with the almost constant "Score kya hai?". Rajdeep has managed to find a wonderful story to tell about each cricketer who has shaped India from the times of his father Dilip.
The fascinating stories of Kapil, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly were my favourites and I even wondered if based on his strong religious beliefs, which i never knew before reading this book, if Azhar was framed.

Its a trip
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The parallels drawn between transformation of Indian cricket and its democracy, that goes hand in hand and severs as a vital bond between us as Indians, entices me more than any other biographies of Indian cricketers that I have had read earlier. The way each chapter is etched, engrosses you as it unfolds the journey of some of the most venerated Indian cricketing heroes. Not limiting itself to the Captains, and there exceptional feat of winning the World Cup twice, the book extends to speak abo ...more
Mayank Singh
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Rajdeep Sardesai has impeccable credentials for a book on cricket – lineage, a student of the game, ringside view and access to cricketing greats. Democracy’s XI’s first chapter pays tribute to his father Dilip Sardesai and follows it up with profiles of Tiger Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli. Most chapters are interesting reads with the ones on Sardesai, Pataudi and Az ...more
Nishant Bhagat
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of 11 cricketers who the author thinks defined and changed the way the game is played in the country.

I quite liked the book, being a son of a known cricketer Rajdeep surely has a better connect with the cricketing world. Add to that his experience in the media and you have a book which not only traces the timeline of the players lives but also gives us a glimpse of how our country evolved in those times.

I wish Rajdeep had given us some more anecdotes of these cricketers which a
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I am not a cricket fan but I do know about cricket given it’s a religion in India. I found some parts of the book very interesting and some very boring. It was good learning about the cricketers from the earlier generations (Pataudi, Bedi etc) and the hardships they have gone through. The book shows the passion the author has towards cricket.

The writing could have been better. It felt more like reading a magazine than a book. And the parallel drawn with politics seemed more convenient than rele
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gripping, personal and inspiring tales of 11 of India's best (for various reasons) cricketers, all brought together in own book. Rajdeep Sardesai, the famous journo does his research well. He himself coming from a cricketing background perhaps helped (Rajdeep is the son of 70's cricketer Dileep Sardesai).
All the chapters are filled with interesting anecdotes, real life incidents of these men and more importantly the battles they fought off-fields makes one get up and salute them. The perfect tr
Sadiq Kazi
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A nice perspective that chronicles the careers and lives of 11 cricketers from post-Independence India to the present drawing parallels with the evolution of democratic India. The list may have some surprise inclusions and omissions, but that's the liberty that the author takes without being authoritative. Many of the incidents narrated are in public domain, but some insights are something that the author was privy to. And that is what makes for interesting reading. ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book for cricket lovers. Each chapter comes with added scoops and different flavours. It's almost like reading a history book from the struggling start of the Indian cricket stalwarts to the modern era connect. The best part about Rajdeep is he manages to add these stories in the best possible with the firsthand experiences of people. Just loved it. Honestly I had my eyes on Dada chapter but i in turn loved the entire book . ...more
Suman Srivastava
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book about cricket. It’s a biography of 11 men who played cricket for India. Taken together it is a picture of how India has changed over the decades. Written in a, what else, journalistic style, it has lots of anecdotes and quotes from the players, their families and friends. Delightful read.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Rajdeep tries to pen his perspectives on various big names in the Indian cricket starting from the passion that was inculcated in him by his father Dileep Sardesai who played Cricket for India.

For someone who follows and tracks Cricket over a period of time, there is nothing much new to learn except few interesting trivias and anecdotes. Finished in a cursory read.
Sai Kanav
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cricketer for the earlier part of his life, Rajdeep captures the essence of each story with vivid details along with drawing intelligent parallels across cricketing eras that have changed so drastically. Each story is complete with the player's background, life changing events and the ups and downs of their cricket journey. My personal favorites were those of MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid. ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Nothing spectacular but one always gets an insider’s look with an author with access, much like Sardesai’s earlier book on the 2014 elections. Good selection of the 11 and fabulous peek into some endearing tidbits with small parallels drawn with the politico-social situation in the country’s democracy.
Vikram Ketkar
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rajdeep has his own selection of cricketers that he thinks are important in the history of India overall and these are interesting accounts of the cricketing and personal lives. as usual it's so easy and an entertaining read ...more
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Rajdeep Sardesai is an Indian news anchor and author.

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