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Chasing Sachin By Adam Carroll-Smith

Release date: 17th February, 2012
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £9.99
Our Price: £6.99
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Dismissed by some as being too frivolous or simply plain ridiculous, to others, sport's sense of the absurd is one of its greatest attractions.

Why, for example, design a rugby ball to bounce unpredictably? Why, for that matter, climb mountains, run races or just get involved in any form of sporting pursuit that could be interpreted as completely absurd?

In truth, billions of followers actually enjoy identifying with sport's irrational nature because it adds to each game's sense of fun. Now Adam Carroll-Smith has made his mark in sport's register of the ridiculous with Chasing Tendulkar, the basis of which is an outrageous proposition to bowl at one of cricket's greatest batsmen.

Carroll-Smith is no natural cricketer, although his epiphany arrives in the summer of 1996 when playing football with his brother. The ball is lashed to a far-off field and away the author goes in hot pursuit, on his bike, only to miss the rope surrounding a nearby cricket square, causing him to crash, head-over-handlebars and receive an ear-wagging from a dishevelled groundsman.

Fate determines this to be on the same day as England draw 1-1 with Switzerland in Euro 96 and Sachin Tendulkar scores 122 against England's cricketers at Edgbaston.

A few weeks later, our hero reveals to his mate, Rosh, that he would fancy taking up cricket, a conversation overheard by Rosh's father, a cricketing fanatic who happens to have videoed Tendulkar's Edgbaston innings. AC-S watches intently until the Indian superstar is dismissed.

"As he walked off, even the umpire, a portly, ruddy-faced man, acknowledged Tendulkar's brilliance with a nod of congratulations to him. I had never seen sport - or sportsmanship - like it. The tape ended. I was transfixed."

Bitten by cricket's bug, Carroll-Smith embraced the game as any youngster would, only to discover that he wasn't much good, although he was enthusiastic. Several years later, a drunken Carroll-Smith advises Rosh that it is his intention to bowl at Tendulkar and so begins his unlikely quest to track down the Indian great and bowl just one ball at him.

The story is not dissimilar to Ian Stafford's Who do you think you are - Michael Schumacher? published in 2005. Like Stafford, AC-S never loses sight of what he sets out to achieve. He may meander off along anecdotal footpaths, but always returns, undeterred, to recommence his pursuit.

It is, of course, quite absurd, but that's the whole point of a sports book which is meant to be fun. In that respect, it succeeds. Does Carroll-Smith? That would be tellingÖ


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