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Book Review – LBW: Love by World Cup by Vinay Dhamnani

LBW by Vinay is a fascinating dramatic thriller novel, totally backdropped against the cricket ambience of India. The novel narrates the tale of Alok Kumar who is chosen to play in the Indian team in a world cup. All the events and episodes that nudge the storyline ahead are contemporary and have a sense of pragmatism. You will be surprised to find secrets, unheard insights, and internal politics that this novel divulges because cricket in India is often revered with love and hope.

Ego clashes, betrayal, and politics are some of the stand-out themes that this novel deals with while taking a sneak peak in the dressing room of our cricketers. The novel is interesting all the more because of its intriguing characters that are ambitious and have lust for success and money and love. Cricket is a glorious career – not all cricketers representing the national side can take it with an equal élan.

The story shuttles between India playing the world cup, Sheena’s student life at IIM Bangalore, and snatches of IPL. Vishvesh Singh is a ferocious Indian captain. He is a brilliant batter but equally arrogant and greedy for money. Right in the first match Alok makes an entry as a fast bowler, ironically he performs with the bat than the ball. That raises questions on his otherwise batting talent.

Vish trusts Alok as a match winner but things begin turning out sour when Sheena resurfaced in the cricket arena. She being a daughter of the president of the Indian Cricket Board (Madan Chopra) has the advantage of floating around the team, its events, and even on big occasions.

As the story chugs ahead, India wins more matches in the world cup, the story gains intense momentum. Not so soon, yet Alok falls for Sheena’s charm. They often stumble upon each other in parties, events, or flights. Sheena is also one of the strongest characters in the novel. The thriller angle of the novel picks up pace when Sheena and Alok are spotted together. Vish doesn’t take it as a good gesture. He begins playing politics and often drops Alok from the games. The story wanders here and there, as cricketers travel a lot, so does Sheena.

Alok isn’t aware of Vish’s intentions and Sheena’s past rapport with him. Nonetheless, Alok is being victimized to an extent that the entire nation goes against him. Vish conspires in such a way that he longs to gain supremacy over the cricket board…but it isn’t that easy to turn the tables.

It is a finely woven love tale around the cricket of India. However, other than love the novel can be reckoned for subtle crime and political thriller. Vinay delivers a near perfect novel with doses of many subthemes in it. The book is easy to read and connect with today’s cricketing events. The good thing is that despite a mountain of deceitful lies, the truth wins in the end. Overall, a great novel for cricket lovers. Highly recommended!

Buy it from Amazon/Kindle.


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