The Changing Face of Cricket From Imperial to Global Game

Buy Book


Edited by Dominic Malcolm, Jon Gemmell, Nalin Mehta
London: Routledge, 2010 – 302 pages

Whether one loves or hates cricket, understands what turns square legs into fine legs, or how mid-offs become silly, the game is a cultural and social force impacting far beyond the playing field. The Changing Face of Cricket is an indispensable guide to cricket’s many cultural contours, uncovering its social meaning and its deeper imprint.

For cricket enthusiasts there is nothing to match the meaningful contests and excitement generated by the game’s subtle shifts in play. Conversely, huge swathes of the world’s population find cricket the most obscure and bafflingly impenetrable of sports. The Changing Face of Cricket attempts to account for this paradox.

The Changing Face of Cricket provides an overview of the various ways in which social scientists have analyzed the game’s cultural impact. The book’s international analysis encompasses Australia, the Caribbean, England, India, Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Its interdisciplinary approach allies anthropology, history, literary criticism, political studies and sociology with contributions from cricket administrators and journalists. The collection addresses historical and contemporary issues such as gender equality, global sports development, the impact of cricket mega-events, and the growing influence of commercial and television interests culminating in the Twenty20 revolution.


a painstaking and commendable effort to study the complex cultural impact of cricket from imperial times to the present day of globalization…a comprehensive and highly welcome multidisciplinary examination of the evolution of cricket against broader social and political context, covering an impressively expansive geography (Australia, the Caribbean, England, India, Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe). — Sport in Society

..main contribution of the book to the wider field of sport studies lies in the disciplinary fluidity, the rich detail provided regarding identity and the discussion of post-colonialism in association with cricket. — Journal of Sport History


  1. Cricket and modernity: international and interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of the Imperial Game Dominic Malcolm, Jon Gemmell and Nalin Mehta
  2. Naturally played by Irishmen: a social history of Irish cricket Jon Gemmell
  3. South African cricket and British imperialism, 1870 – 1910 Dean Allen
  4. Irish Australians, postcolonialism and the English game Alan Bairner
  5.  ‘From far it look like politics’: C.L.R. James and the canon of English cricket literatureAnthony Bateman
  6. Fiery Fred’: Fred Trueman and cricket celebrity in the 1950s and early 1960s Jack Williams
  7. Rebellion, race and Rhodesia: international cricketing relations with Rhodesia during UDICharles Little
  8. A national(ist) line in postcolonizing cricket: Viv Richards, biographies and cricketing nationalism Malcolm MacLean
  9. Brian Lara in poetic form: tradition, talent and the Caribbean ‘mwe’ Claire Westall
  10. Wunderkidz in a Blunderland: tensions and tales from Sri Lankan cricket Michael Roberts
  11. Batting for the flag: cricket, television and globalization in India Nalin Mehta
  12. Different hats, different thinking? Technocracy, globalization and the Indian cricket teamStephen Wagg and Sharda Ugra
  13. Malign or benign? English national identities and cricket Dominic Malcolm
  14. ‘Look, it’s a girl’: cricket and gender relations in the UK Philippa Velija and Dominic Malcolm
  15.  International cricket – the hegemony of commerce, the decline of government interest and the end of morality? Russell Holden
  16. A legacy deeply mired in contradiction: World Cup 2007 in retrospect Boria Majumdar
  17. Burning down the house Rob Steen
  18. A strong sport growing stronger: a perspective on the growth, development and future of international cricket Ehsan Mani
  19.  ‘Bombay Sport Exchange’: cricket, globalization and the future Nalin Mehta, Jon Gemmell and Dominic Malcolm