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Mike Marqusee

Mike Marqusee’s most recent book is Anyone but England: Cricket and the National Malaise (Verso, 273 pp., £16.95. 23 June, 0 86091 492 5).

Diary: On the Indian Plague of 1994

Mike Marqusee, 8 December 1994

‘I am satisfied the war is over,’ declared N.K. Sharma, the World Health Organisation representative in India. Certainly the war against the plague has disappeared from the newspapers and the airwaves. Business India, the fortnightly gospel of the country’s burgeoning corporate sector, questioned whether there had been a plague epidemic at all. Accusing India’s doctors and government officials of making a ‘presumptive diagnosis’ and its trade partners of ‘over-reacting’, an editorial complained that ‘the damage caused to the country’s image and economy is immense.’

A cricket ball is a peculiar object Primitive, volatile, a relic of the game’s origins in a pre-industrial world, its behaviour still baffles physicists. Over the years, bowlers, seeking to exploit the mysterious properties with which the solid sphere of leather, twine and cork seems endowed, have done just about everything imaginable to it. They have polished and scratched, dried and moistened the ball, applied spit, sweat, sawdust, sun cream, lipsalve, hair oil and, yes, dirt.

Labour Blues

Ross McKibbin, 11 February 1993

This in its own way is a formidable book, but not one to hide its argument under a bushel. ‘The book that blows the lid off the Kinnock years’ is how the publisher’s press...

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