The Evolution of a Cricket Fan

My Shapeshifting Journey

Samir Chopra, with a Foreword by Mukul Kesavan
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1197-6
Publication: Jun 21

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1196-9
Publication: Jun 21

Ebook: $24.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1198-3
Publication: Jun 21

248 pages
6 x 9

An autobiographical account of a cricket lover’s journey across nations and identities

Read the Introduction and an excerpt of Part 1 (.pdf)


Samir Chopra is an immigrant, a “voluntary exile,” who discovers he can tell the story of his life through cricket, a game that has long been an influence—really, an obsession—for him. In so doing, he reveals how his changing views on the sport mirror his journey of self-discovery. In The Evolution of a Cricket Fan, Chopra is thus able to reflect on his changing perceptions of self, and of the nations and cultures that have shaped his identity, politics, displacement, and fandom.

Chopra’s passion for the sport began as a child, when he rooted for Pakistan and against his native India. When he migrated, he became a fan of the Indian team that gave him a sense of home among the various cultures he encountered in North America and Australia. This “shapeshifting” exposes the rift between the Old and the New world, which Chopra acknowledges is “cricket’s greatest modern crisis.” But it also illuminates the identity dilemmas of post-colonial immigrants in the Indian diaspora.

Chopra’s thoughts about the sport and its global influence are not those of a player. He provides access to the inner world of the global cricket fan navigating the world that colonial empire wrought and that cricket continues to connect and animate. He observes that the Indian cricket team carries many burdens—not only must they win cricket matches, but their style of play must generate a pride that assuages generations of wounds inflicted by history. And Chopra must navigate where he stands in that history.

The Evolution of a Cricket Fan shows Chopra’s own wins and losses as his life takes new directions and his fandom changes allegiances.


“Samir Chopra is one of cricket’s most distinctive voices. His work is a unique weave of close analysis, broad perspective, and unflinching self-inquiry. He provides himself as a case study of the relationships that fans form with cricket, which are far more ambivalent and volatile than is commonly imagined. He reconnects with that most intimately mysterious of personages: ourselves when young. Everything Samir writes is worth reading, but The Evolution of a Cricket Fan is especially so, because the sentiments he elucidates are genuinely universal.”
GIDEON HAIGH, author of On Warne and Mystery Spinner: The Life and Death of an Extraordinary Cricketer

“This is not the story of the average cricket fan—thank God for that—but anyone who has been consigned by defeat into day-darkening depression or transported by victory to a hallucinogenic high will read this book grinning or grimacing with recognition. Cricket’s literature is rich with magisterial histories; it now has a wonderful, maverick, coming-of-age story that lives and breathes the game.”
—From the Foreword by MUKUL KESAVAN

Table of Contents



Prelude: The White Raven

Part I Genesis and Misautogeny
Enter Cricket
Getting Used to an Idea
Treachery: India in Pakistan
Places in the Mind
Doing Well Abroad
Shine a Light on Me: Reading Sunny Days
Cricket on the Sidelines: The Packer Years
Lowest of the Low
The Great Miss
No Voyagers
Topsy-Turvy Down Under
The Great Bore: England in India and Vice Versa
Captain Courageous: Imran at the Helm
Imran Ascendant, India Descendant

Part II The World Is Ours
No Love for Sunny
Azadi at Nehru Stadium
Begging to Be Put Out of Misery
End of a Dream
Live on Channel Nine: The Indians
The Summer of Missed Opportunity
The Tied Test
Imran’s Last Frontier

Part III Crossing the Black Water
Free of India and Pakistan
Close Encounters of the Cross-Border Kind
Cricket on the Internet
An Awakening
Pakistan Triumphant
Channel Wars: The Internet Relay Channel
Hudson Crossings
The Sublime and the Sordid
The Desi Watercoolers
Back and Forth to India
Offshore Proxy Wars: Toronto and Sharjah
The Traveling Patriot
Rewriting Lives: The Military History Connection
“South Asian” in the Time of Indo-Chic
Return of the Prodigals
Cricket and Kargil

Part IV All Shook Up Down Under
Cricket in Oz
Watching India from Australia
The White Raven
Back in the USSA
The Great Miss
“Only Net Pakistanis Are Like This”

Part V Brave New Pitch
Twenty20: A New View
The Indian Mutiny
The Indian Cricket League


About the Author(s)

Samir Chopra is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He is the author of Eye on Cricket: Reflections on the Great Game, and coauthor of Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software and A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents.


In the Series

  • Sporting edited by Amy Bass

    As an international cultural activity for athleticism, spectatorship, and global cultural exchange, sport is unmatched by any other force on earth. And yet it remains a consistently understudied dimension of history and cultural studies. Sporting, edited by Amy Bass, aims to contribute to the study of sport by publishing works by people across a range of disciplines, by professional sportswriters, and by athletes to add substance to our still emerging notion of globalization.