‘Indian Summers’ is an account of John Wright’s (former coach of Indian Cricket Team) association with Indian Cricket. It starts with the unreal world the author found himself in when he first took up the task and goes on to travel with the team in its highs and lows. It takes you to the flighty heights of the 2003 World Cup and the disappointments of some foreign tours. It’s written well and gives a detailed description of almost all the significant assignments of the team with the author. As a cricket enthusiast you would find this book engaging, but it somehow falls short, much like the Indian team, of living up to the expectations. Coming from someone like John Wright, who worked with the Indian team for five years, you would anticipate it to shed some light on the affairs further than the pitch. The relationship of John with players, the functioning of the rather opaque cricket administrative body called BCCI, the private lives of players, the emotions in and around the dressing room…it’s all there to arouse your curiosity but not enough to satiate it. There is also a dearth of good pictures which could have made the book a better read. John’s at his best when he speaks about his notion of India and it’s people. Its here he dares to move away from his customary restraint and share with the readers his feelings and experiences. The book touches you with its honest approach and you are inclined to consider that John was perhaps a very earnest, if not a successful coach.
Coaching India, particularly for a foreigner, can be a tricky task. The results which John helped India accomplish and the simple rationale that he could survive in the often logic defying world of Indian Cricket, tells a lot about the man’s commitment to his work. As you go through the book you can feel that perhaps the reason that he could accomplish something was his open and sincere endeavor to comprehend the psyche of Indians. He is very candid about his love for India and admits India is like a home away from home for him. Although while reading the book you are constantly reminded of the foreign perspective of the writer, the book holds your attention till the very end. The style is lucid and simple, even if at times it seems like a mere account of the matches. All in all, an honest and at times witty read. If you are looking for any great revelations from the author, it’s probable that the book will disappoint you. Read it for it’s plain charm and you might even find it beautiful…..