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Cup of glory!

If Jeanne had been a racehorse, she would have commanded a hefty breeding price.” That is a son’s take on his mother.

Ian Chappell wrote that on ESPNcricinfo. It was his opening line. Headline: This one’s for Jeanne. Strapline: In praise of a thoroughbred mother.

With the ICC World Cup 2023 on our doorstep, cricket is on every screen and on everybody’s mind. I do feel a bit bad for the Asian Games medallists as the cricket coverage is building up. As I write this, shooter Sift Kaur Samra has broken the world record in the women’s 50m rifle three-position event. My congratulations to all the medallists in Hangzhou.

Our six-article World Cup cover story is one of our finest cricket covers in recent times, and there is enough for every kind of cricket fan… the trivia buff, the photo fan, the policy man, and the one looking for quick snappy items. BCCI Chairman Roger Binny spoke exclusively to Chief Associate Editor and Director Riyad Mathew and Consultant (Sports) Ayaz Memon. Binny was key to the 1983 campaign, where he picked up a record 18 wickets—including Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd in the first match. The interview brings out both sides of Binny, the cricketer and the administrator.

Ayaz has also written about the five best ODI World Cup centuries he has seen, and Riyad interviewed Yuvraj Singh, the star of the 2011 campaign. The swashbuckling batter talked about how he handled his health challenges, emotionally and physically. And there are his views about the current team, and the one person he wished was in the squad. And of course, on Shubman Gill.

Seasoned cricket writer Sharda Ugra has written about the 10 impact players “who can bring their best or bring out the best in their teammates”. She is at her analytical and humorous best.

A favourite article of mine is ‘Sunny + Sunny’—a conversation between Yajurvindra Singh and Sunil Gavaskar. They were roommates in the team hotel during the 1979 campaign. It is a rollicking read covering everything from seeing Imran Khan in briefs and the life of two young cricketers on a budget, sharing a pot of tea and a KitKat. The KitKat was a surprise, I must say. I always thought Gavaskar was a Parle-G man!

The burst of colour—visually and in terms of characters—comes through in Chief Subeditor Anirudh Madhavan’s take on 12 men and moments from the World Cups. For example, the time when Henry Olonga and Andy Flower sported black armbands to protest the death of democracy. They had to go into permanent exile thereafter.

To round off the package, there is the @leisure section with Deputy Chief of Bureau Mandira Nayar’s article on Shashi Tharoor’s new book, co-written with Joseph Zacharias. Mandira says Shashi was down with fever. But he provides good copy, even with a blocked nose, I say!

Let me stop with a bit of trivia about my friend Yajurvindra aka Sunny. Though he has played only four Tests for India, he made it to the record books in the very first one—against England in Bengaluru in 1976. He collected five catches in the first innings and equalled Australian great Vic Richardson’s record against South Africa at Durban in 1936. In the second innings, he held on to two more and matched Greg Chappell’s seven-catch haul during the 1974-75 Ashes.

He might be the only cricketer to match grandfather and grandson’s records. Greg is Jeanne’s son, and Vic was her dad!