Match-fixing is a deep-rooted problem in modern-day cricket and its existence is undeniable. But sometimes cricket fans tend to overlook it owing to their blind love for the sport. That is what Payal Dhar explores in her novel Hit for a Six.
The story revolves around the 13-year-old Laila who is a spunky girl crazy about cricket. In fact, she loves everything about the game and is badly shaken when she discovers that her cricketer friend, who had been so close to her, is involved in match-fixing. Things get even murkier when she discovers that her school is going to be home to the town’s first-ever girls’ cricket club inside the Old Mister Marshall’s house — one of the oldest buildings in the town.
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This is when the novel takes a mysterious turn. Laila and her friends have to do a project on the town’s historical places for which she chooses Marshall’s house. The curious Laila digs deep to find out what exactly is going on in the house which many say is haunted. She wants to find out the identity of the anonymous benefactor who has made the sponsorship to renovate the house.
What keeps you hooked:
The Nancy Drew-ish approach to the mystery plot makes you turn pages and so does the young adult part about precarious friendships. It is a simple afternoon read as the characters are easy to understand and the plot relatable. It may even make you think back to your childhood when you enthralled in the mysteries of Famous Five, Nancy Drew and were curious to discover things that seemed fishy. Though it is a young adult fiction, it can be read by both teenagers and adults.
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But no cricket!
The book’s title is ‘Hit for a Six’ but well, there is barely any cricket in the novel at all. The protagonist is female and interested in the girl’s cricket club but she never really plays any cricket. That’s where the novel fails in selling cricket to young minds who are more or less invested in video games and virtual world. It focuses on match-fixing but is no Inside Edge either which categorically breaks down the nexus of betting and fixing on all levels.
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Overall, though, it is a fun and easy read in which you don’t have to pick up a dictionary as you read through.