The book cover of "Howzzat" by Mani D'Mello and Sanjay Pandey.

The book cover of “Howzzat” by Mani D’Mello and Sanjay Pandey.

 

In life it is said that “Truth is a bitter pill to swallow” and this axiom is clearly reflected in a book called “Howzzat” written by veteran journalist Mani D’ Mello and a senior member of the Indian Police Service belonging to the Maharashtra Cadre  Sanjay Pandey. This book basically is about the dirty underbelly that unfortunately still exists is the world of cricket. The fact that the authors have not only researched in great detail but also made sure that the narrative is smooth makes this book a real interesting read.

 

The plot of this book is based on the fight for the power to control cricket between politicians, cricket administrators, corporate etc and the dirty games they use to manipulate the system for power and money. The story begins in a fictious archipelago of eight islands together known as United islands. It is on this island that there are two major political parties the ruling party called United Democratic Party(UDP) and led by Carlotta Rossa and, United Republic Party(URP) led by Suresh Singh who are in direct conflict to gain power over the game of cricket on the islands. It is under such circumstances prevalent in the islands that a huge cricket league United Cricket League(UCL) is introduced with Dinesh Kumar or popularly known as DK who is basically a businessman being made the chief of this league.  The UCL is basically a league involving the 20-20 format of cricket with franchise teams owned by many celebrities representing each island. It is due growing suspicions of money laundering, match-fixing, illegal bidding for team franchises etc in the UCL that an agency known as Economic Offences Directorate(EOD) is called on to investigate. The investigation is handed to a man called Sameer Shinde who is the western regional head of the EOD. The rest of the book is all about the investigation undertaken by Shinde on how money laundering for crime syndicates, cocaine supply, match-fixing, flesh trade etc is an integral part of the UCL and, how DK is only just a puppet in the hands of powerful politicians wanting to manipulate the league in the quest for more money and power.

 

As for the writing style the book is written in very simple language which can be understood by one and all fairly easily. What is interesting is that the author’s have used the character of Shinde as the narrator and, hence we see the entire story through the eyes of this character. Also, quite noticeable is the very well researched information about the dirty underbelly of cricket that includes match fixing, money laundering etc that certainly manages to engage the reader. The only major concern about this book is the fact that this book talks about issues as grave as match fixing prevalent in the game and unfortunately in India cricket to the majority is considered as a religion due to which many may not be interested in reading this book.

 

Overall this a very interesting read consisting of an intriguing plot and good flowing narrative. With a number of match fixing controversies erupting in the recently concluded IPL (Indian Premier League) this certainly seems the perfect time to read this book for genuine book lovers all around the globe.

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  In life it is said that “Truth is a bitter pill to swallow” and this axiom is clearly reflected in a book called “Howzzat” written by veteran journalist Mani D’ Mello and a senior member of the Indian Police Service belonging to the Maharashtra Cadre  Sanjay Pandey. This book...