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 politics and Bollywood, cricket is a meritocratic space. But it wasn’t always this way. Gandhi, for instance, intensely disapproved of cricket. During the Raj it was associated with racism. It had the nasty odour of communal division, with Hindus and Muslims playing in separate teams. Dalits, meanwhile, were personas non grata on the field. Bestselling author and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai narrates the story of post-Independence cricket through the lives of eleven extraordinary Indian cricketers who represent different dimensions of this change – from Dilip Sardesai and Tiger Pataudi in the 1950s to M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli today. This is not a book about an all-time best Indian cricket eleven but one that seeks to show us glimpses of a changing India through personal and anecdotal biographical portraits. From the days that Indian cricketers travelled by train and earned a few hundred rupees for Test matches to the bright lights of the multimillion-dollar IPL, this book puts the spotlight on the evolution of Indian cricket and society, and shows how a post-colonial nation found self-respect.