It takes a brave man to attempt a biography of [recent cricketing history], and to write a first draft of history as it were. Samir Chopra, a professor of philosophy in New York by day and a passionate cricket fan (and ESPNcricinfo blogger) by day and night, attempts this with the honest, open-minded spirit of inquiry that defines the best sports fans.
I can happily declare [Samir Chopra’s] book a triumph. Brave New Pitch defies easy categorization. Part love letter from a lifelong fan, part analysis of the modern game, it also contains philosophy and social history, economics and sports politics.
— David Mutton
Chopra has written one of the most thought-provoking and knowledgeable cricket books to be published in recent years. He writes with a keen sense of history: not just the history of the game, but that of the world in which the game is played. That alone places him head and shoulders above most other contemporary cricket writers.
— Satadru Sen (City University of New York)
Samir Chopra’s book, ‘Brave New Pitch –The Evolution of Modern Cricket’, falls into a category of its own altogether. It is literature coming not from a player or a journalist or even an academic or a commentator; but from a fan….It presents multiple issues that fans all over the cricketing world are grappling with in their minds. The author writes, much as a fan would dissect the proceedings of a game, albeit with some delay, with introspection, poise and attempting to understand the nuance behind the obvious. It’s not just the simple writing style of Chopra that makes this book readable but also his construct of arguments that does not present any clear cut judgments and lets the reader appreciate the insight of his viewpoint and then formulate his own opinion on what is presented….[He] manages to cross the artificial lines created in the world of cricket and speaks to all those through this book who quite literally possess, ‘the love for the game’.
‘Brave New Pitch’ offers cricket fans, both young and old, a compelling mix of history and famous anecdotes. It also puts forth a prescription for all that ails cricket, though most of the ideas have been floating around for a while. The writer has spent long hours watching, reading and discussing cricket, a sport he is shamelessly addicted to. And that shows in the book. In terms of research, Chopra is as meticulous as Rahul Dravid. In terms of language, he has the fluency of Brian Lara. And his passion for the game? Let’s just say he’s Indian.
I recommend Brave New Pitch by Samir Chopra. It’s a passionate and surprisingly optimistic account of where cricket’s going, written by a fan for other fans. There’s lots of interesting stuff about great players and memorable matches, but the real significance of this book is in its account the context in which the game is played, the economics of the game, the media coverage, the impact of technology on the way it’s played and appreciated. It’s heavily focused on Indian cricket, but that’s appropriate given that’s where the most of today’s players and fans are, and that’s clearly where its future lies.
— David Coady (University of Tasmania)
A philosopher at Brooklyn College and a regular contributor to ESPN Cricinfo, Samir is alert to the profound identity crisis in which world cricket finds itself. He plumbs various aspects of this current turmoil in his thoughtful and eloquent book Brave New Pitch: The Evolution of Modern Cricket (HarperCollins, 2012). But rather than denouncing the IPL and all its vulgar wealth as the cause of the crisis, he points to a franchise-based form of international cricket, with players treated as professionals rather than servants indentured to national boards, as something that can potentially benefit all forms of the game.