On World Book Day, what are the sporting icons reading?

World Book Day celebrates the joy of reading, and Sportstar caught up with some of the sporting icons of the country to know about their favourite books.

What are our sport stars doing on World Book Day?

While Leander Paes (bottom R) is reading Muhammad Ali's autobiography, Mithali Raj (top R) is loving William Dalrymple's White Mughals. Rahul Dravid (top second from L) is currently reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein.

Today is World Book Day. At a time when the entire world has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, sports personalities across disciplines, are spending their time at home, immersing themselves in books.

Sportstar caught up with some of the top sporting icons of the country to know about their favourite read.

Rahul Dravid (Former India cricket captain): I have always loved reading on tours and during my travelling phase. I have enjoyed biographies. The one I am reading now is Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. It is about how generalists excel ahead of the specialists. I found the subject interesting.


'Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World' by David Epstein, the book Rahul Dravid is reading presently, is about how generalists excel ahead of the specialists.


READ: VVS Laxman releases book, shares ‘281’ stories

Bishan Singh Bedi (Former India cricket captain): Books have been my best friends right from my playing days. I am enjoying this wonderful book called It’s Not Cricket by Simon Rae. It deals with many unpleasant cricket happenings on the field. The subject is close to my heart because I’ve always said cricket is about everything good in society. I would recommend this book strongly.


'It’s Not Cricket' by Simon Rae is what is keeping Bishan Singh Bedi occupied these days.


VVS Laxman (Former India cricketer): I have just finished reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, who is also the author of The Tipping Point. Now, I am starting They Call Me Coach, written by John Wooden (as told to Jack Tobin).


VVS Laxman will start reading 'They Call Me Coach,' written by John Wooden.


I find this a fantastic read, giving a fascinating insight into the mindset of a coach. A great book not just for any sportsperson but also for everyone as it delves into how he evolved into one of the greatest basketball coaches. An inspirational read, it also gives us a feeling of how a coach understands his trainees and treats them as his own family members and reveals winning philosophies.

READ: A time to take stock for Mithali Raj

Kartik Murali (Former India cricketer): I am reading three books – Sai Sacharita on Shirdi Sai Baba and Journey Continues by Sri M, a spiritual book. I have another book to finish, Half Lion: How PV Narasimha Rao Transformed India by Vinay Sitapati.


Kartik Murali is reading three books together. Journey Continues by Sri M is one of those.


Mithali Raj (India’s ODI women’s cricket team captain): I recently finished Satyajit Ray's The Complete Adventures of Feluda. Now I am reading White Mughals by William Dalrymple. Though nothing is mentioned in the preface, the book touches a lot of topics pertaining to Hyderabad, and I am quite surprised after reading it. The book describes how Golconda mines were the sole suppliers of diamonds to the whole world, how racism existed during that era. The description of architecture is really nice to read and I am enjoying it.

Mithali Raj just finished reading Satyajit Ray's 'The Complete Adventures of Feluda'.   -  Penguin Books


READ: It is important for us to innovate, says Leander Paes

Sanjay Manjrekar (Former India cricketer): I just finished reading Stephen Hawkings’ Brief Answers To The Big Questions. It’s a great read and has firmed up my beliefs actually!


Sanjay Manjrekar's lockdown read.


Leander Paes (Olympian, Indian tennis ace): At the moment, I am reading Muhammad Ali’s autobiography and it is a brilliant read. Ali is one of my all-time favourite heroes. So, it is always a special feeling to read about him. My all-time favourite book is Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, written by Thomas Hauser. It is a fantastic read and is very inspirational!


'Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times' has been Leander Paes' all-time favourite read.


Heena Sidhu (Olympian, pistol shooter): I am reading Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. now. It gives me a way to own my day. The other book is Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. This made me understand how people think and how we can develop better habits.


'The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma' by Bessel van der Kolk.


I am also reading The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. It made me aware that emotions are felt not just in the mind, but by the body as well. Sometimes, the way to reach the mind can be through the body.

Sanjay Bangar (Former India batting coach): I am really fond of a Marathi proverb “waachal tar waachal (you’ll survive if you read)”. Over the years, I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked due to other responsibilities.

In fact, nowadays, I have been reading the kids’ school books more than anything else to help them in their studies (chuckles). The last novel I read was Mrityunjaya (a masterpiece on Mahabharata through Karna’s perspective by Shivaji Sawant); it was on my to-read list for a real long time and the wait was worth it.

I have a penchant for reading historical biographies and autobiographies since childhood. The next title on my list is Chhawa (a biography of Chhatrapati Sambhaji, son of Shivaji, by Ranjit Desai).


The next title on Sanjay Bangar's list is 'Chhawa' - a biography of Chhatrapati Sambhaji, son of Shivaji, by Ranjit Desai.


WV Raman (India women's cricket team coach): For the last few weeks, I haven’t been reading as much as I would have liked since I have been trying to learn various possibilities the Internet offers.

As a result, I have been reading three titles simultaneously: The 4-Hour Workweek (by Tim Ferriss); The 21 Day Miracle: How To Change Anything In 3 Short Weeks (by Ed Rush) and The $100 Startup (by Chris Guillebeau). Since I haven’t finished either of it, cannot really delve too much into either of these books for now.


WV Raman is yet to finish reading 'The 4-Hour Workweek' by Tim Ferriss.


Inputs by: Vijay Lokapally, V.V. Subrahmanyam, Nandakumar Marar, Shayan Acharya, Amol Karhadkar

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