Broken Cricket Dreams Logo

John Urschel Mind and Matter Book Review: Life Lessons from a Mathematician & NFL Football Player

Imagine having the mind of Srinivasan Ramanujan, the athleticism of Jim Thorpe, the creativity of Albert Einstein, and diligence like no other.

One man embodies all of these traits—John Urschel, a former NFL football player for the Baltimore Ravens and a renowned mathematician.

Join me on a journey of beautiful lessons in this book review of Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football by John Urschel and Louisa Thomas.

*For this book review, I read Urschel’s book, watched a couple of interviews, and perused through a few of his math papers.

Table of Contents

Mind and Matter Book Review – Quick Takeaways

  • Title: Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football
  • Authors: John Urschel and Louisa Thomas
  • Pages: 238
  • Chapters: 28
  • Publisher: Penguin Press, New York, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Mind and Matter Summary

This book is a goldmine for people who like mathematics, college football, sports, and reading in general.

For the mathematician, there are mentions of John von Neumann, Pascal, Fermat, Heisenberg, Bernoulli, Schrodinger, Kolmogorov, Leibniz, Newton, Godel, G.H. Hardy, Einstein and brief dives into the topics of probability, dynamical systems, Markov Chains, physics, measure theory, gambling, game theory, linear algebra, numerical analysis, set theory, and logic. For the football fan, there are references to locker room talks, deep friendships, training drills, college football season, tryouts, the NFL draft, CTE, concussions, injuries, and more.

Urschel reflects on the constant internal push and pull between doing mathematics and playing football. We learn how he developed these interests and navigated both spheres of his life without losing proficiency in either one. He ended up playing at the highest level in NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and completed his PhD in mathematics from MIT, specializing in linear algebra, graph theory, and numerical analysis. We also learn about important events that occurred during his education like the Jerry Sandusky scandal and how it impacted the Penn State community.

Quick Review

Two aspects that I really enjoyed were how (1) the writing style matched (2) the content of the book. The book seamlessly alternates between football and mathematics at different stages of his life. For example, he talks about Concussion in one chapter and moves on to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle in the next. The length of each chapter ranges from 4-15 pages, making it an accessible read.

I definitely recommend Mind and Matter for all ages looking to pick up a short, fun, and inspirational book.

Embed from Getty Images

Also Read:

Also read this article on Medium and follow us there !

Quotes from “Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football”: 5 Life Lessons We Can Learn from John Urschel


Let’s start with a little back story. My family gifted me this book on my birthday.

In my undergraduate years studying mathematics, Urschel’s poster hung outside the math department. For four years, I walked by it, the image slowly getting ingrained in the deep echelons of my memory. I always smiled when I saw it but did not give it much deep thought.

However, over the years, I have often been conflicted and never really come to terms with balancing my own interests, whether that is as a mathematician, sports enthusiast, programmer, teacher, writer, or as a violinist.

I am glad to have finally received the opportunity to read this book, which breathed life into Urschel’s poster and provided me with some topics of reflection. The perfect gift.

In any case, here are a few quotes and life lessons that stuck with me from John Urschel’s life.

1. “So often, people want to divide the world into two. Matter and energy. Wave and particle. Athlete and mathematician. Why can’t something (or someone) be both?”

At some point in our childhood, we have all been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Humans are multi-dimensional creatures. Kids especially are innately curious and are fascinated by different sort of things like solving puzzles, running around, reading a book, etc.

But as we grow up, there is the societal narrative to pick a field, choose a profession, and sacrifice interests that will not result in monetary gain later on.

In a NFL Films interview, Urschel himself shuts this myth down perfectly, “Everyone makes me try to choose between football and math and who says I have to?”

Life Lesson 1: You can be a jack of many trades. You can be a master of one. Life is about choices and there really isn’t a right or wrong way. You can go the route of John Urschel, Justin Timberlake, Albert Einstein, Farhan Akhtar, Elon Musk or the way of Michael Phelps, Sachin Tendulkar, and John Nash. Be curious, be yourself. Why limit yourself to one sky when you can explore many galaxies?

2. “Nothing made me want to take that class more than being told that I couldn’t do it. That was my nature. If someone thought I wasn’t up for something, then I had to show them wrong.”

The only way to reach the peak is to overcome the struggle.

Stressing is bad, but struggling can be good.

Life Lesson 2: Challenges can be daunting, but they have the potential to mold you into the person you want to become. Take the extrinsic negative noise and convert it into positive intrinsic motivation. A ‘can do’ attitude is the way to go.

3. “I decided to stay. I did not know what would happen to the football team… But I loved Penn State, and I loved my teammates. I wasn’t going to walk away.”

I’ll jump directly into the life lesson on this one.

Life Lesson 3: Friendships and relationships are often the strongest bonds and the easiest ones to break. When someone close to you is in need, be there for them. Make time for your loved ones regardless of how busy you are. Send a quick text or give them a call.

4. “I wanted challenges. I liked the feeling of being tested—even if I disliked the tests we took at school.” Improvement did not always come easily. It took work. But there was nothing like realizing that what had seemed hard before now seemed easier, or that what I had done badly before I could now do well. Solving problems like the Einstein puzzle gave me satisfaction and clarity I rarely felt anywhere else. It gave me a sense of purpose. It gave me a sense of power.”

Similar to #2 but with a slight distinction.

Challenges are a common theme in Urschel’s journey, but here he stresses that these challenges came from within. Hence, overcoming them was more satisfying.

Life Lesson 4: If you do things that you enjoy, then even the greatest of challenges become child’s play.

5. “He was struck by the diligence and determination that brought to the work—or make me want to work even harder. ‘It is fascinating to see your progress and enthusiasm..'”

And finally, whatever you do, do it with a smile!

Life Lesson 5: Hardwork is good, but do you know what is even better? Hardwork plus enthusiasm. If you work with a smile, this will provide positive energy to those around you. A win-win situation.

Also, don’t forget to watch his football clips.

Embed from Getty Images

Bonus: Relationship Between Math & Football by John Urschel

Here are a few quotes from John Urschel’s Path to Math & NFL film interviews that shed light into both of his topics of interest.

“Football helped my math career in a number of ways. In football, you’re constantly being challenged, every single day. You’re being knocked down and you have to get up, constantly fight back. Build this sense of resiliency. That has helped me in my math, the resiliency. Even when I try 99 things and I fail, I still try the 100th time. Stay curious.

“Math certainly defines football. Football is a game of numbers, and this governed by math. The physics going on, the forces, the momentums, the passes, the kicks, the catches, this is all mathematics….Every football player is just like a math formula in a way…My quantitative thinking is what helps me see what [the opposition does] and immediately know what I’m supposed to do.”

“The biggest similarity is intuition. In mathematics, intuition is a really strong thing that can help you. In football, you need instincts to make split second decisions.”

And finally, I am going to leave you with this one really cool fact: He wears #64 on the field, “a perfect square and perfect cube. A true mathematician’s number.”

Embed from Getty Images

Final Thoughts: Read It or Skip It?

Definitely a must-read book for mathematicians, sports enthusiasts, and anyone who wishes to excel in two or more fields of their choice.

Urschel demonstrates that we can be both physically fit and mentally agile at the same time.

This book inspired me. Hope it inspires you as well.


Here is a link to Mind and Matter: Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football: Urschel, John, Thomas, Louisa

Facts About John Urschel

Here are some facts about John Urschel.

Urschel was born on June 24, 1991 in Winnipeg, Canada.

John Urschel is 6 ft 3 and 300 lbs. Apart from being a mathematician and a football player, he also enjoys playing chess.

John Urschel Education & Academic Appointments

  • Canisus High School
  • B.S. Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University (2009-2012)
  • M.A. Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University (2012-13)
  • Ph.D. Mathematics, Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) (2016-2021)
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2021-22)
  • Harvard University, Junior Fellow (2022-23)
  • Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) (Present)

Urchel’s Sports Journey

John started his football career as a late bloomer in 9th grade and never looked back.

Baltimore Ravens John Urschel

He was picked as the 175th draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft and played till 2017 before he retired to pursue mathematics and finish his PhD full-time.

He has played as center, guard, and other positions (to cover for immediate injuries).

Embed from Getty Images

Urschel’s Mathematical Journey

Urschel’s research areas span (pun definitely intended) linear algebra, numerical analysis, theoretical machine learning, and dynamical systems.

John Urschel’s Math Papers

Here are some of his contributions to the mathematical world:

  • The Urschel-Zikatanov Theorem (Spectral Bisection of Graphs and Connectedness)
  • Maximum Spread of Graphs and Bipartite Graphs
  • Some New Results on the Maximum Growth Factor in Gaussian Elimination
  • Multidimensional Scaling: Approximation and Complexity
  • Learning Determinantal Point Processes with Moments and Cycles

Here is the complete list of Urschel’s publications, CV, and achievements.

If you liked this article, check out other articles in the Life Lessons and Inspirational Stories category:

John Urschel – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is John Urschel Famous For?

John Urschel is famous for simultaneously pursuing professional careers in football and mathematics. He went to the highest level with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL an became a professor of mathematics.

How did John Urschel Contribute to Mathematics?

John Urschel’s contributions have been in spectral graph theory, linear algebra, and numerical analysis among others. The Spectral Bisection of Graphs and Connectedness is one of his searly significant mathematical contributions.

Why did John Urschel Retire?

John Urschel retired because he wanted to focus on mathematics full-time and give time to his daughter and family. There was also an additional layer of concern with concussion he had suffered earlier.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, LLC 2023. Originally published on 09/23/2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Review, Quotes, Life Lessons, Release Date, and How to Watch Documentary

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes released today on Amazon Prime Video, the same day the English scored a commanding century against South Africa. This is a story that captures England captain, Ben Stokes’ journey through the ups and downs of his illustrious career.

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Review: Skip It or Watch It?

I will get straight to the point—The Review. Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Review is not necessarily a must watch documentary. However, it is an important one.

It is skippable in the sense that Ben Stokes’ career is an open book—Humble roots in New Zealand, an upcoming youngster in the England circuit, The Bristol brawl incident, eleven-month court trial & media pressure, Carlos Brathwaite 4 sixes in Kolkata, IPL heroics, the 2019 World Cup final and Headingly heist, finger and knee injuries, his father’s terminal brain cancer, mother’s legal suit against The Sun newspaper for exploiting another personal tragedy, global pandemic, mental health break, and captaincy comeback. In a sense, nothing new is revealed about Ben Stokes. In addition, the picturization and flashback sequences are not the most coherent.

However, it is an important film due to the first-person points of view of Stokes & his family as well as Sam Mendes’ interview with Stokes while he was struggling with his mental health. It was courageous for Stokes to explain what he was going through on such a large platform. Appearances of Joe Root, Stuart Broad, manager Neil Fairbrother, and Stokes’ father adds immense value to the documentary.

Watch It For: The Interview, Highlight Packages, Ben Stokes’ cricket practice videos from U-12 & U-15 cricket, Mark Wood’s comic timing, Joe Root’s heartfelt messages

Don’t Watch it for: The overly dramatic background music

Rating: 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Also Read: 45 Best Sport Movies & Documentaries (Updated 2022) – Hollywood & Bollywood Combined

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Release Date, How to Watch, Director, Actors

Release Date: August 26, 2022

How To Watch: (Amazon Prime Video Link)

Title Name: Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes

Prime Video Summary: A refreshingly honest film about an extraordinary cricketer. Directors Chris Grubb and Luke Mellows were allowed unprecedented access to Ben’s Life with interviews and insights by Sam Mendes.

Protagonist: Ben Stokes

Major Cast:

  • Teammates: Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer
  • Commentators/Ex-Cricketers: Ian Bishop, Isa Guha, Shane Warne
  • Other: Dean Wilson (journalist), Phil Scott (England’s strength & conditioning coach), Neil Fairbrother (Stokes’ Manager), Vithushan Ehantharajah
  • Family: Clare Stokes (Wife), Gerard Stokes (Father), Deborah Stokes (Mother)

Directed By: Chris Grubb, Luke Mellows

Produced By: Sunil Patel, Sam Mendes, Mark Cole

Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Language: English

Embed from Getty Images

7 Life Lessons and Quotes from Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Documentary

Here are some quotes from the documentary that paints a picture of Ben Stokes’ overall personality.

*Spoiler Alert Note: The quotes below are directly from the documentary and related clips in case you are planning to watch the documentary first.

1. Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

Quote: Trouble follows him around

“Trouble follows him around” – Nasser Hussain (clip from old interview)

Context: The Bristol brawl halted Stokes career due to the litigation, investigation, and media tensions that followed. The documentary walks through what Stokes’ family went through at this point. Although he was not found guilty of affray, the media only portrayed the negative side of things. Stokes had already been involved in a few incidents earlier in the England team like punching lockers, getting banned from driving to four speeding tickets, etc., and this incident was almost the nail in the coffin.

Stokes clears up what exactly happened and why he was involved in the incident in the documentary (he was defending his friends from homophobic abuses)

2. Heartbreak at the 2016 T20 World Cup Final

Quotes: That experience would have broken lesser mortals; Makes you even more hungry

“That experience would have broken lesser mortals” – Ian Bishop

“Makes you even more hungry” – Shane Warne

Context: The 2016 T20 World Cup Final would forever be remembered for Ian Bishop’s iconic Remember the Name phrase when describing Carlos Brathwaite’s heroics. On the other end of the spectrum was Stokes, absolutely gutted. How he came back from the lows of 2016 to the highs of 2019s is an inspirational journey for all.

Embed from Getty Images

3. Embrace Failure

Quotes: Setbacks are your biggest teachers; Rather than fearing failure. Embrace it.

“Setbacks are your biggest teachers” – Ben Stokes

“Rather than fearing failure. Embrace it” – Ben Stokes

Context: The 2016 T20 World Cup final was a disappointment. However, it is portrayed in the film that the 2017 Bristol incident was the most impactful turning point in Ben Stokes’ career and life. He became a more mature individual, grew closer to family, and learned which people who could trust. At this point, he almost quit cricket and had to dive deep to figure out what used to drive him to give it his all.

4. Mental Health Awareness

Quote: This can happen to someone who is perceived as invincible; I noticed how emotionless I was

“This can happen to someone who is perceived as invincible” – Joe Root

“Honestly I could have seen him never play again” – Stuart Broad

“I noticed how emotionless I was” – Ben Stokes

Context: The interview was conducted two weeks after Ben Stokes’ suffered his major panic attack and decided to take a break from cricket. Stokes looked visibly fatigued and recalled a panic attack he suffered which included shortness of breath.

Mental health, especially in sport, is an important topic and can occur to anybody regardless of his or her stature.

5. The Larger-Than-Life Hero

Quote: His life is a story you could not script; Trauma, grief, strength, and defiance

“His life is a story you could not script” – Sam Mendes

“He has a bit that one else has…magic…Not many people see the best side of him…I’m just very grateful that I have” – Joe Root

“The film is about loss in the time of lockdown…it’s about trauma and grief, but also strength and defiance.” – Sam Mendes

Context: Rarely has a cricketer in recent memory suffered the ebbs and flows to the extent as Stokes has. He has touched glory with starring roles in World Cup and Ashes victories. On the other hand, he has had to see his father, a former Rugby league player in New Zealand, pass away after a fight with terminal brain cancer.

Yet, he gives it his all in those tireless bowling spells with injured knees or directs a comeback with the bat when there is no hope or takes a catch that only Ben Stokes can – No Way, You Cannot Do That Ben Stokes! He has flaws, he has magic, he is human, he is greatness.

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Trailer

If you have yet to see this documentary, check out the trailer below.

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is the director of Ben Stokes – Phoenix from the Ashes documentary?

Chris Grubb & Luke Mellows is the director of Ben Stokes – Phoenix from the Ashes. Sam Mendes, who also interviews Ben Stokes, is the producer alongside Sunil Patel & Mark Cole.

Where can I watch Ben Stokes Phoenix from the Ashes?

Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes is released in Amazon Prime Video on August 26, 2022 worldwide.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 08/26/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

61 Best Sport Movies, TV Shows, & Documentaries (Updated 2023) – Hollywood & Bollywood Combined

Today we rank the best sport movies & documentaries.

Welcome to the “All of the Above” best sport movies, TV shows, & documentaries ranking list. We consider everything sports – drama films, biopics, sports documentaries, streaming platform content, Hollywood, Bollywood, English, Hindi, Spanish, American football, soccer, cricket, boxing, and more. Let’s cut to the chase.

The best sport movie of all time is Remember the Titans followed closely by the Blind Side, while Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) makes the cut as the best Bollywood sports movie.

List of Best Sports Movies and Documentaries

Disclaimer: This list is based upon the movies I have watched so far, but here are some sports films on my watchlist.

Currently Watching: Man in the Arena (2021), Becoming Champions (2018), Welcome to Wrexham (2022)

  • American Football: Rudy (1993), Draft Day (2014), Concussion (2015), American Underdog (2021), Hard Knocks (2022)
  • Baseball: 42 (2013), Eight Men Out (1988)
  • Basketball: White Men Can’t Jump (1992), Hoop Dreams (1994), The Way Back (2020), Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Glory Road (2006)
  • Boxing: Raging Bull (1980), Ali (2001), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Irudu Suutru/Saala Khadoos (2016), Mukkabaaz (2017), Mike (2022)
  • Cricket: Chakda ‘Xpress (TBD), Kai Po Che
  • Golf: The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
  • Miscellaneous: ESPN 30 for 30 (ex: OJ: Made in America), Cool Runnings (1993), Kai Po Che (2013), I Tonya (2017), Free Solo (2018), Icarus (2017), Budhia Singh – Born to Run (2018), Saand ki Aankh (2019), The Way Back (2020), Saina (2021), 14 Peaks, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Off (2022), Hawaa Hawaai (2014)
  • Racing: Rush (2013), Schumacher (2021)
  • Rugby: Invictus (2009)
  • Soccer/Association Football: Escape to Victory (1981), Goal Trilogy (2005), The Damned United (2009), All or Nothing (Arsenal 2022, Tottenham Hotspurs, etc.), Diego Maradona (2019), Bigil (2019), Jaadugar (2022)
  • Tennis: Venus & Serena (2012), Borg vs McEnroe (2017), King Richard (2021), Serena (2022)

These will be added one by one to the ranking list once I have finished watching them.

61. Apne (2007)

  • Sport: Boxing
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

In the most literal sense, it is a family-driven boxing drama marred by false doping accusation.

60. Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Sports Drama/Rom-Com
  • Language: Hindi

Girl playing cricket by concealing her identity in an all-boys’ team. A bit of romance and of course, an India-Pakistan local club match as well.

59. Brothers (2015)/ Warriors (2011)

  • Sport: MMA (mixed martial arts)
  • Genre: Sports drama (fiction)
  • Language: Brothers (Hindi), Warriors (English)

Brothers is the official Bollywood remake of the 2011 American film, Warriors.

58. Sachin: A Billion Dreams (2017)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: Hindi, English, Marathi

Documenting the journey of the greatest cricketer of all-time, the film explores the life behind the scenes and how he battled pressure while giving people hope. Great background music by AR Rahman as well.

57. Space Jam (1996)

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Genre: Sports fantasy, live-action & animation
  • Language: English

In the age of Marvel & Avengers, Space Jam looks like a joke in animation. Michael Jordan flying with Bugs Bunny and getting kidnapped in outer space isn’t exactly bingeworthy material, but if you are a sports fan, you have to watch it once in your life. Considered a classic.

56. Home Team (2022)

  • Sports: American Football
  • Genre: Comedy/Biography
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Netflix

Any movie with Kevin James is bound to be funny. A college football star coach who was removed from duty due to an investigation goes on to coach his son’s middle school football team. A good watch.

55. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

Based on Indian captain MS Dhoni’s journey before he broke into stardom, the movie explores his family life, love angles, & early struggles. Late Sushant Singh Rajput did justice to the role, but the story & direction were a bit short. Good first half, but the story isn’t as tight in the second half. It did not help that the movie was released during the latter years of Dhoni’s career, before his retirement.

54. Sultan (2015)

  • Sport: Wrestling
  • Genre: Sports drama
  • Language: Hindi

Sultan is a fictional drama based on a couple who are both professional wrestlers and develop ego clashes along the way.

53. Azhar (2016)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Sports Drama, Biography
  • Language: Hindi

The movie explores the larger-than-life character of Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, and his interpretation of the 2000 match fixing scandal.

52. Welcome to Wrexham (2022)

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English (both American & British accents with a slight dose of Welsh)

Where to Watch: FX on Hulu

Imagine Deadpool’s actor Ryan Reynolds. Now imagine Rob McElhenney. Now imagine they randomly bought a fourth division team in Wales and try to resurrect it and promote it to the next level. Well, this is exactly what happened. Some humor, mostly reality, and a bit of soccer as well. Basically, Ted Lasso but in real-life.

*Note: I have only watched 5 episodes so far. This ranking is subject to change. 15 episodes will be released in total by the end of the season.

51. Becoming Champions (2018-)

  • Sport: Soccer/Association Football
  • Genre: Documentary Series
  • Language: Multiple Languages (Spanish, French, English, etc.)

Where to Watch: Netflix

The journeys of the 10 FIFA World Cup winners and how it all fit in the history of their respective countries. Good watch, but I have one complaint – there were a few World Cup clips, but not enough for a soccer documentary. Lots of newspaper cuttings instead.

50. Beyond the Boundary (2020)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Netflix

This hour-long film documents the 2020 T20 World Cup – a watershed moment in women’s cricket. Watch it for the inspirational journey of Thailand and the India-Australia final.

49. Toofan (2021)

  • Sport: Boxing
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Amateur fighter turned boxer gets banned for five years due to corruption and attempts to make a comeback.

48. Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007)

  • Sport: Racing
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

A carefree star NASCAR drive whose life turns upside down after a life-threatening crash.

47. Soorma (2018)

  • Sport: Field Hockey
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Based on the true story of India’s drag flicker specialist, Sandeep Singh, this is an inspirational story of a comeback of from being shot and paralyzed.

46. 99 (2009)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Crime Comedy
  • Language: Hindi

Not quite a sports movie in its entirety, 99 is a fictional behind the scenes underworld account of the match-fixing & betting scandal that married the India-South Africa series.

45. Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes (2022)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Live through Ben Stokes’ ups and downs of his iconic career, rising from the lows of mental health break and grief to the captaincy of England cricket team.

44. Bandon Me Tha Dum (2022)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Where To Watch: Voot Select

Relive India’s dramatic victory in Australia in the players’ own words – featuring Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Vihari, Pujara, and Tim Paine himself.

Also Read: India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?

43. Dickie V (2022)

  • Sport: College Basketball
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+ESPN

Beautiful tribute to college basketball broadcaster, a former coach, and the face/voice of ESPN—Dick Vitale.

42. Toolsidas Junior (2022)

  • Sport: Snooker
  • Genre: ‘Coming of age’ Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Vowed to avenge his father’s defeat in a local club’s snooker competition, the young son goes out of his way to learn the game and enters the contest. Nice, cute movie.

41. Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007)

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Set in Southall, a predominantly South Asian community in the UK, a club overcomes their differences and comes together to play a tournament and save it from being demolished.

40. Bad Sport (2021)

  • Sports: Olympic figure skating, racing, basketball, horse riding, soccer, cricket
  • Genre: Docuseries
  • Language: English

Six episodes of hour long each exploring scandal in a different sport. Firsthand interviews make this series special.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Read Complete Review Here: Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans – How Will History Judge Hansie Cronje?

39. Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012)

  • Sports: Cricket
  • Genre: Sports Drama/Comedy
  • Language: English

Sharman Joshi shines as a middle-class man trying to come up with some money so he can send his talented son for a camp at the majestic Lord’s cricket ground.

38. Chhalaang (2020)

  • Sports: Multi-sports
  • Genre: Sports Drama/Comedy
  • Language: English

A sports film from the coach’s point of view. Funny and entertaining throughout.

37. Gold (2018)

  • Sport: Field Hockey
  • Genre: Historical Drama (based on true story)
  • Language: Hindi

On the backdrop of the Partition, the movie explores one of the all-time great field hockey teams disrupted by the separation of British India into current cay India & Pakistan.

36. 83 (2021)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

Where to Watch: Netflix

Well directed movie on Kapil Dev’s unlikely 1983 World Cup movie. Ranveer Singh and co do justice to their roles.

Read Complete Review Here: 83 Movie Review – Does the Film Do Justice to India’s Unlikely Dream 1983 World Cup Journey?

35. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Genre: Sports Comedy
  • Language: English

It is a story of two girls daring to play soccer against societal pressure. Very nicely done comedy sports film.

34. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)

  • Sports: Track & Field
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Story of two competing colleges in a sport tournament—A classic.

33. Jersey (2022)/Jersey (2018)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Telugu (original 2018)/ Hindi (2022 – official remake

Where to Watch: Netflix

Directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, Jersey is a fictional yet emotional movie based on a father’s drive to fight societal & physical for the sake of his son. The Pankaj Kapur & Shahid Kapoor starrer was a 2022 Hindi remake of the 2018 Telugu film.

Read Complete Review Here: Jersey Movie Review Hindi: A Cricket Movie about Inspirational Comebacks, Mental Health Struggles, and Societal Pressure

32. The Test: New Era for Australia’s Team (2020)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Never before seen scenes of camera in Justin Langer’s new Australia dressing room as Australia try to recover from the sandpaper gate scandal.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

31. Safety (2020)

  • Sport: College Football
  • Genre: Biographical Drama
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+

As much as it is about football, this movie is about two brothers and a community coming together. Based on the true story of Ray McElrathbey and Clemson University. If you have time, this is a nice watch.

30. Coach Carter (2005)

  • Sports: Basketball (High School)
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Netflix

An inspiring true story about a coach who halted an entire school system to make sure his basketball players became all-round students and go to college.

29. Rise (2022)

  • Sports: Basketball
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+ESPN

A movie about family & sports on the true story of the Antetokounmpo brothers – Giannis, Thanasis, and Kostas from Nigeria to Greece to the NBA.

28. The Skater Girl (2021)

  • Sports: Skating
  • Genre: ‘Coming of age’ Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi/English

Where to Watch: Netflix

Inspirational story that shows how one person can have an immense impact in someone else’s life if they have the support & resources. In this case, a skateboard changes a young girl’s life who now dares to dream.

27. Kaun Pravin Tambe? (2022)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

One of the most underrated inspirational stories of a man who never gave up and finally received recognition and opportunities at the age of 41.

Where to Watch: Disney+Hotstar

Read Complete Review Here: Kaun Pravin Tambe? Movie Review: Does Shreyas Talpade Revive His Iqbal Magic?

26. Invincible (2006)

  • Sports: American Football
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+ESPN

Mark Wahlberg plays the role of real-life inspiration of Vince Papale, who ends up playing for the Philadelphia Eagles at the age of 30 without having a professional background in the sport. A story of hope, realizing dreams, and friendship.

25. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer (2021-)

  • Sport: Ice Hockey
  • Genre: Series
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+

Nothing better than a group of misfits coming together as an underdog team. Great life lessons in this one and funny as well.

24. Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

  • Sport: Track & Field (Steeplechase)
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

Interesting twist of tale of a national level sportsman turned a rebel dacoit.

23. They Call Me Magic (2022)

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Apple TV

Brilliant documentary on one of the greatest American athletes of all time, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Jr. This documentary is as much about basketball as it is about HIV/AIDS awareness, the city of Los Angeles, the Black community, and life of a businessman.

22. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Genre: Sports Comedy
  • Language: Cantonese/English (dubbed)

You know what’s better than Kung Fu or soccer? How about Kung Fu in a soccer match. Add an ounce of comedy as well.

21. Shabaash Mithu (2022)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

Inspirational story about women’s cricket in India. Not only is Mithali Raj’s journey well captured, but also the growth in Indian women’s cricket (and in the mindset of the general public) from the 90’s to the 2017 ODI Cricket World Cup.

Also Read: 20 Years of Mithali Raj And Jhulan Goswami: Eternal Legends for Indian & Women Cricket

20. Big Shot (2021-)

  • Sport: High School Basketball
  • Genre: Sports Drama (TV Series)
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Disney+

Fictional story of Marvyn Korn, a star college basketball coach, who loses everything due to anger management issues. The TV series is about how he finds himself learning the important things in life and building relationships while coaching high school girls.

19. Man in the Arena: Tom Brady (2021-)

  • Sport: American Football
  • Genre: Documentary (TV Series)
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: ESPN+/Hulu

Documentary on the rise of Tom Brady. Champions are not made in a day. They are made with relentless efforts over the decades.

18. The Longest Yard (2005)/(1974)

  • Sport: American football
  • Genre: Sports Comedy
  • Language: English

The remake of the 1974 film, the 2005 version is a star cast of Adam Sandler, the Great Khali, Terry Crews, and Chris Rock. This comedy movie revolves around a football match between prisoners and guards for a reduced jail sentence.

17. Hustle (2022)

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Netflix

Adam Sandler at his best (in a serious role, yes really). Scouting a 22-year-old basketball talent from Spain, he does his all to get him to the NBA draft, even if it means to fight against all odds. Inspirational. Must watch.

16. Rocky Series (1976-)

  • Sport: Wrestling
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: English

The boxing movie that started it all and took Sylvester Stallone to stardom. If you haven’t listened to this song a million times while working out, what have you been doing?

Movies In this series: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015), Creed II (2018), Creed III (2023)

15. Mary Kom (2014)

  • Sport: Boxing
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

Priyanka Chopra nails her role in the true story of Olympic medal winner, Mary Kom.

14. Air (2023)

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Genre: Biographical Sports Drama
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Prime Video

The story of Nike and how they signed Michael Jordan against all odds. With a star cast of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, and Jason Bateman, this is a classic.

13. Ford v Ferrari (2019)

  • Sport: Grand Prix
  • Genre: Biographical Sports Drama
  • Language: English

Where to Watch: Prime Video

Matt Damon & Christian Bale come together for an enticing sports drama based on the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans car race.

12. Dangal (2016)

  • Sport: Wrestling
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

The highest grossing Indian movie of all-time depicting the story of Mahavir Phogat and his daughters.

11. Chak De India (2007)

  • Sport: Field Hockey
  • Genre: Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Chak De has all the ingredients of a hit sports movie – Disappointment, despair, comeback, teamwork, friendship, fights, joy, and of course, good music.

10. Iqbal (2005)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: ‘Coming of Age’ Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi

Depicting a deaf and mute aspirational cricketer trying to balance poverty and cricket dreams, Shreyas Talpade plays his debut role to perfection.

9. The Karate Kid Series (1984, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2010)

  • Sport: Martial Arts
  • Genre: ‘Coming of Age’ Sports Drama
  • Language: English

Center to any sport is the relationship between the teacher and the student. No movie does this better as Mr. Miyagi and Daniel LeRusso. The sequels and Jackie Chan’s reboot are also pretty good (and now has the Netflix series – Cobra Kai).

8. Lagaan (2001)

  • Sport: Cricket
  • Genre: Historical Sports Drama
  • Language: Hindi/English

One of the greatest movie of Indian cinema, Lagaan is a fictional cricket match between Britishers and Indian colonists (who do not know the sport) in exchange for reduced tax.

7. Forrest Gump (1994)/Laal Singh Chaddha (2022)

  • Sport: Ping Pong (table tennis)/American Football
  • Genre: Sports Comedy
  • Language: English/Hindi (official remake)

Although not officially a sports movie, there are several sporty elements to Forrest Gump, All American college football, national level ping pong champion, and even ran across America.

6. The Last Dance (2020)

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Genre: Docuseries
  • Language: English

Where To Watch: ESPN+, Netflix

Relive the ups and downs of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, and Dennis Rodman’s career in Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bull’s six-peat victory and their final breakup.

5. Ted Lasso (2020-)

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Genre: Sports Comedy
  • Language: English (American & British)

Where to Watch: Apple TV

One of the most inspirational comedy shows in recent times. Comedy, drama, team spirit, mental health issues, and a bit of relegation-promotion soccer drama – this series has it all. Here’s my favorite scene from Ted Lasso

“Be Curious, Not Judgmental”

4. Moneyball (2011)

  • Sport: Baseball
  • Genre: Sports Drama (based on a true story)
  • Language: English

Not many books and movies can say they have had as much of a dramatic effect as Moneyball did. Data and statistics have changed sports all around the world, thanks to Billy Beane’s revolution at Oakland.

3. The Blind Side (2009)

  • Sport: American football
  • Genre: ‘Coming of Age’ Biography
  • Language: English

This movie is as much a sport movie as it is a film about a mother and a son. The film depicts ‘Big Mike’ Michael Oher’s journey from poverty to the NFL via adoption into the Tuohy family. Sandra Bullock gives a performance of the generation by her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy.

2. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

  • Sport: Track & Field (400 m)
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: Hindi

The movie that began Bollywood’s obsession with biopics. Farhan Akthar’s stupendous transformation into Milkha Singh’s character is breathtaking. No other Indian sports movie has been able to match the direction, story, and filming of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

1. Remember the Titans

  • Sport: American football
  • Genre: Biography
  • Language: English

And Remember the Titans is #1 on our Best Sport Movie & Documentaries list. Based on a true story, high school football becomes central in racial integration. There was conflict, tension, inspiration, and happiness. Here are some of the inspirational moments from the movie. Denzel Washington at his absolute best.


Frequently Asked Questions – Best Sports Movies & Documentaries

What is the best sports movie of all time?

Remember the Titans has to be the best sports movie of all time, followed closely by, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the best Bollywood biopic of all time.

Who is Anil Mehta?

Anil Mehta is a cinematographer, famous for his contributions to India sports films like Lagaan and Jersey.

What are the best new 2022 sport movies and documentaries?

Hustle, Shabaash Mithu, They Call Me Magic, Bandho Ma Tha Dum, Kaun Pravin Tambe, and Welcome to Wrexham are some of the best 2022 sports movies & documentaries (across languages and genres).

What are the best cricket movies and documentaries?

Lagaan, Iqbal, Shabaash Mithu, Kaun Pravin Tambe, The Test, Jersey, 83, Ferrari Ki Sawari, Bad Sport, Bandhon Mein Tha Dum, Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes, 99, Beyond the Boundary, Azhar, MS Dhoni, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sachin Tendulkar: A Billion Dreams, and Dil Bole Hadippa are the best cricket movies and documentaries of all time.

What are the best movies to watch on Netflix in 2022?

Hustle, The Skater Girl, Coach Carter, Jersey, 83, Bad Sport, Beyond the Boundary, Becoming Champions, and Home Team are some of the best sports films to watch in Netflix in 2022 and 2023.

Where can I watch Ted Lasso?

Ted Lasso is available on Apple TV.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2022. Originally published on 08/10/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Hitting Against the Spin Review: 5 Powerful Insights from the Book That Changed My Perspective Towards Cricket

Hitting Against the Spin Review Time!

Let’s great straight to it.

Hitting Against the Spin: How Cricket Really Works Review: Skip It or Read It?

Definitely read this one. If you are a cricket fan who loves stats and number crunching, this is a must read. But even if statistics are not your thing, read Hitting Against the Spin for the stories and a commentary on the evolution of the game.

Ben Jones, an analyst at Cricviz, and Nathan Leamon, England’s analyst with a math degree from Cambridge. put together this revolutionary book. In their own words, “Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball: The Art of the Winning”, book about the data revolution at Oakland A’s. It’s one of the most influential books ever written about sport, and sparked a wave of change that left very few sports in the world untouched.” (316).

Does this book have such an influence?

Only time will tell. Although it is far too early to gauge the impact of Hitting Against the Spin, it will definitely change perspectives. Match-ups and flexible batting orders are already a part of modern day T20 cricket, but this book may offer an insight into other untapped areas of cricket.

Hopefully, this is just a start in data usage & cricket research.

Read It For

The stories, insights, graphics (variety of tables, graphs, & Hawkeye/ball-tracking visualizations), and references. The writers have done an excellent job intertwining themes and anecdotes from Poker, game theory, the Iliad & Odyssey, Ryanair, theoretical physicist—Richard Feynman, rackets (racquetball), tennis, golf, American football, soccer, baseball, and of course, Moneyball (the book & movie).

Don’t Read It For

Traditional Reading. This book is divided in two parts: Mechanics of the Game & T20—Changing the Game. Although each chapter carries themes from earlier references in the book, it is not necessarily to read this book straight through. If you want to read about swing bowling or leg spin, you can directly jump to those chapters. I personally jumped back and forth and was lot more fun that way.

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Hitting Against the Spin Cover

Hitting Against the Spin Book Details, Authors, and Where to Purchase?

Release Date: June 10, 2021

Where to Purchase: (Amazon Prime Link)

Title Name: Hitting Against the Spin: How Cricket Really Works

Publisher Summary: “How valuable is winning the toss? And how should captains use it to their advantage? Why does a cricket ball swing? Why don’t Indians bat left-handed? What is a good length and why? A fascinating whistle-stop tour of modern cricket and sports analytics, bringing cricket firmly into the twenty-first century.

Authors: Nathan Leamon, Ben Jones, with a foreword from Eoin Morgan

Length: 400 pages

Language: English

Publisher: Constable


  • Part One: Mechanics of the Game
    • Strong Back, Soft Front, Wild Heart – How to Win a World Cup
    • Playing Your Natural Game
    • Zen and the Art of Fast Bowling
    • Why Don’t Indians Bat Left-Handed?
    • Sachin’s Helping Hand
    • Oppenheimer and Duality
    • The Cat That Turned into a Fence
    • Why the Ball Swings – A Tale of Two Rivers
    • Hitting Against the Spin – England in India
  • Part Two: T20 – Changing the Game
    • Shortening the Game
    • Leg-spin and the Right to Feel Good
    • Technicolour Cricket
    • Moneyball 2.0
    • The Sultan’s of Spin – Multan Sultans in the PSL

Before we get to the rest of the article, consider subscribing to my email list. It really will help this website grow. Don’t forget to check out similar articles below!

Join 71 other subscribers

Other Book & Movie Reviews

  1. 54 Best Sport Movies & Documentaries (Updated 2022) – Hollywood & Bollywood Combined
  2. Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes Review, Quotes, Life Lessons, Release Date, and How to Watch Documentary
  3. Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans – How Will History Judge Hansie Cronje?
  4. Kaun Pravin Tambe? Movie Review: Does Shreyas Talpade Revive His Iqbal Magic?
  5. Jersey Movie Review Hindi: A Cricket Movie about Inspirational Comebacks, Mental Health Struggles, and Societal Pressure
  6. 83 Movie Review – Does the Film Do Justice to India’s Unlikely Dream 1983 World Cup Journey?

5 Powerful Insights from Hitting Against the Spin – In Their Own Words

Here are some quotes from the book that changed the way I viewed cricket (along with corresponding page numbers).

*Spoiler Alert Note: The quotes below are directly from the book in case you are planning to read the book first.

Embed from Getty Images

1. Tethered Cats and Chesterton’s Fence

What it is?

1. Tethered Cat

“There are many Tethered Cats in cricket, habitual actions that have outlived the conditions that created them. It is the case in most sports, but cricket seem to be particularly well-resourced in that regard (4).

2. Chesterton’s Fence

“Chesterton used the story to illustrate his principle that you should not be allowed to remove a rule or a tradition unless and until you fully understand the reasons why it was first put in place, and all the effects that its presence has (5).

3. Application to Cricket:

“This is the problem with Tethered Cats. Sometimes, a perfectly reasonable response to current circumstances becomes a habit, then a tradition, then an article of faith that outlives the circumstances that created it. We rarely question what we know to be self-evidently true, particularly when everyone else is doing the same thing. And so, the bias towards batting first seems to have outlived the circumstances that created it by several decades (175).


One of the long-running themes in the book is the dichotomy between ‘Tethered Cats’ and ‘Chesterton’s Fence’ and how they apply to cricket. In a book about data, strategies, and analytics, I found it deeply insightful that several cricketing decisions are still based on tradition without reason. The best discussion about these philosophies is when analyzing why captains still choose to bat first regardless of what the modern data tells them.

Further Reading/Videos: Chesterton’s Fence, Tethered Cat

2. Risk, Game Theory, and Decision Making in Cricket

What Is It?

Game Theory is a branch of mathematics and economics where behavioral strategies impact decision making. This can be best understood by the Prisoner’s Dilemma or the Nash Equilibrium (scene from A Beautiful Mind).


We are all loss averse, genetically programmed to be, and straying from the accepted path carries a twofold risk, firstly the increased failure rate of the innovation, and secondly the increased criticism and loss of standing that will accompany any failure (72). – Shooting 3 points, running on 4th down, reverse sweep.”

“Indeed, planning for a draft is a fascinating exercise in managing uncertainty.” (353)

“Whenever a batsman plays a defensive shot near the line of the stumps, he is weighing two competing risks – one is that the ball will seam aways from him and he will edge it, the other is that it will nip back into him and he will be bowled or LBW. Without the same threat from LBWs, left-handers are free to set themselves up so as to reduce the risk of edging the ball.” (119).


Sport is a reflection of life and one of the key aspects of life is managing risks. The evolution of cricket has revolved around the idea of risk and decision making. Whether that is the advent of the reverse sweep, mystery bowlers in Sri Lankan cricket, or playing more aggressively in the modern T20 cricket, the team that optimizes the outcome of risk and anticipates the opposition usually has better odds of winning.

Embed from Getty Images

3. The Actual Analysis

So far, we have talked about the philosophical background in Hitting Against the Spin, but the actual analysis is quite brilliant as well. These are just three of the many examples.

Example 1: How Did England Win the 2019 World Cup?

After the 2015 debacle, Nathan Leamon and co were brought in to revolutionize England’s white-ball side. England were able to build a side through extensive analysis—batting strength and run rate, winning record prior to the World Cup, team experience as well as accidental changes—ODI regulations, England’s list A cricketers (like Roy, Buttler) trained in 40-over domestic tournaments. Once the players were picked, they were provided a long rope to play freely and even fail on the odd occasion.

Example 2: Innovation

In the current era, there are several 360-degree players—Suryakumar Yadav, Glenn Maxwell, and AB De Villiers earlier. This sort of play is now an expectation in T20 cricket today. It wasn’t the case when Kevin Pietersen brought out the switch hit against Muttiah Muralitharan. The authors describe the three stages of innovation as follows: Status Quo -> Honing and Perfection -> Competition -> Back to Status Quo.

The circle of life.

Example 3: T20 vs Test Cricket

T20 cricket is really changing how we view cricket. Averages, strike rates, etc. and the level of impact differ from format to format. Hence, the way we analyze cricket and pick players should have different metrics.

“The relative value of runs and wickets changes throughout a T20 match; in a Test match, they largely do not (302)”

4. Evolution of Cricket

What is It?

“Cricket, like much of life, is ever-evolving. The moment one problem is resolved, another emerges (Eoin Morgan xii, Dec 2020)


“The introduction of DRS was possibly the single most revolutionary moment in the history of Test cricket (166).”

“Swing changes the way the ball moves through the air, and as a result changes the balance of power in the match. The most elusive element of the game, it is also arguably the most important. Without swing, cricket would be a totally different game.” (217).

“The increased success of left-handed batsmen was a direct, unforseen consequence of better umpiring” (363).


The Butterfly Effect dictates that one small change can have an immense impact around the world. In Hitting Against the Spin, there are several instances where a small change in the rules and regulations changed how cricket was played.

Embed from Getty Images

5. Impact of Data and Moneyball in Cricket & Other Sports


One of the key commentaries in the book is about the warnings of data. Statistics and data are only useful if analyzed from an unbiased point of view. If it is used to prove a personal point or win an argument, then it is of no use. The authors also distinguish Simplicity vs Complexity and how both perspectives are necessary to properly embed data into the context of the game.


“Data democratizes truth. It makes us all, perhaps not equal, but closer to equal in the validity of our thoughts. It allows to tell right from wrong, insightful from mistaken…The data is never enough on its own. But expert insight buttressed by objective fact has a far better chance of being truth than myth and story.” (365)

“Balance and nuance must remain legitimate tools for useful understanding of many areas of the game to emerge….But once the exercise becomes about winning the argument, rather than discovering the truth, it is incredibly unlikely that you will achieve the latter.

“If data analysis can be used correctly, to help aid the growth of the language around the game, that will be a contribution to the sport far greater than it has made to any single bowling attack or batting order...If we can succeed in identifying and giving name to the macro-patterns and strategies that already exist and shape T20 teams, then we can start to understand and describe them (315).”

Humility, doubt, nuance, opening ourselves to the challenge, admitting the paradox of duality, these are necessary tools (171).

Impact of Moneyball and the Misconception

“I have nothing at all against Moneyball, the book by Michael Lewis. Firstly, it’s a great book. If you haven’t read it, then do; it’s a lovely way to spend a couple of days (and the film is fun too). And secondly, it got me a job. Ultimately, it was Andy Flower reading Moneyball that led to him recruiting me to work with the England cricket team and launched a whole new career for me. It is the term ‘Moneyball’ I find problematic. Because like all such zeigeisty words (think synergy, paradigm shift, etc.), it ends up being used to mean something slightly different by everyone who uses it, and so ends up not meaning anything at all. Moneyball was and is a story. It is not a technique, not a well-defined concept, and not a philosophy (339).

Bonus Content

Here are some other quotes that were quite revealing, but to understand the true context, you should read the book.

Where Did the Title Come From?

“In the era when home advantage feels, at times, like it is becoming insurmountable, the rare success against high class opposition with armour-plated home records are worth looking at in detail. The sides who manage to buck the trend, such as England in 2012 or India in Australia in the winter of 2018-1, are welcome reminders that through diligence and attention to detail it is possible to learn the skills required to plan and win in alien conditions, even against those who are native to those surfaces and styles of play. Overcoming the innate structure in your upbringings and cricketing culture is possible, to overturn what is expected – to Hit Against the Spin (252).

Impact of Rahul Dravid on England’s Test Success

Dravid in particular had already started to influence the England players and coaches’ thinking around the best method against spin. And in the preparations for the tour of India, this focus was redoubled (223).

On Ben Stokes’ 2018 Auction Purchase by Rajasthan Royals

“Zubin Barucha, ‘and so they’re playing game theory too, and trying to push you up. So the strategy going into the auction was very simple – we have to spend ninety percent of our money on eleven players and then just wing it from there (334). – On Ben Stokes RR 2018 auction

Individuals vs a Role-Defined Team

“In the words of Johan Cruff: Choose the best player for every position, and you’ll end up not with a strong XI, but with strong 1s (301).”

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out other featured content below and once again, don’t forget to subscribe!

Join 71 other subscribers

Other Featured Content

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 10/12/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Jersey Movie Review Hindi: A Cricket Movie about Inspirational Comebacks, Mental Health Struggles, and Societal Pressure

Jersey Movie Review Hindi By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 6/2/2022

After 83 and Kaun Pravin Tambe and Bandon Mein Tha Dum coming soon, another cricket movie hit the screen this year – Jersey.

Remake of the 2019 Telugu movie of the same name, Jersey explores the conflict of a promising cricketer who left the sport early and struggles financially but is inspired to make an improbable comeback due to his son’s wish to buy an official Indian cricket jersey.

Table of Contents

  1. Jersey Movie Detail and Information
  2. Jersey Hindi Movie – Summary
    1. The Main Conflict
    2. The Turning Point
    3. Spoiler Alert (you may skip this part if you have not yet seen the movie)
  3. Jersey Movie Inspirational Quotes
    1. Performances
    2. Jersey Movie Review Hindi: Watch It or Skip It?
  4. Other Cricketers Who Were Forced to Retire Early
  5. James Taylor
  6. Raman Lamba

Also Read:

Jersey Movie Detail and Information

Title Name: Jersey

Netflix Summary: Ten years after quitting cricket, a gifted but dejected ex-batsman pursues a spot on the national team, hoping to fulfill his son’s wish for a jersey. Netflix Link

Protagonist: Shahid Kapoor as Arjun Talwar

Major Cast:

  • Pankaj Kapoor as coach Baali
  • Mrunal Thakur as wife Vidya Talwar
  • Prit Kamani as son Ketan (Kittu) Talwar (grown up)
  • Ronit Kamra as son Ketain Talwar (young)
  • Anjum Batra as Arjun’s best friend, Amrit

Directed By: Gowtam Tinnamuri

Release Date: April 22, 2022 (Theatre release, now on Netflix)

Length: 2 hour, 48 minutes

Language: Hindi (English subtitles available)

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Jersey Hindi Movie – Summary

Jersey is a fictional story that revolves around the journey of a domestic cricketer named Arjun Talwar, who plays for Punjab.

The movie begins in present-day with Ketan Talwar, Arjun’s son, narrating his father’s story. The movie pivots back to the 1985-86 Duleep Trophy (North Zone Vs South Zone). Shahid Kapoor enters as Arjun Talwar to bat in the stadium with these phenomenal domestic career stats run as his introduction

106 half centuries, 52 hundreds, 9 double centuries, two triple centuries, the ‘best batsman of his time.’ Highest batting average in the country.

The Main Conflict

In the next scene, Arjun slams his fist on a window frame after his coach Baali exclaims that Arjun’s name was removed overnight from the Indian team squad due to a “printing mistake.”

Seemingly due of this internal politics and disappointment, he slams out the door and angrily yells, “I quit cricket.” At the age of 26, he leaves the sport, settles with his wife, and joins the Food Corporation of India.

Next, the movie fast-forwards ten years later to Ketan’s childhood and regularly flashbacks to Arjun’s early life. In the flashback, Arjun is portrayed as charismatic, confident, and one of the best batters in the Ranji system. In his current avatar, Arjun struggles financially, circles lawyers in court case for alleged corruption (although he is honest), is frequently argues with his wife, and generally stays away from society. Even when Baali offers him an assistant coaching position, he refuses.

The Turning Point

All of this changes when his son asks him for an Indian cricket team jersey. When no avenues for funds remain, he decides to participate in a charity match between Punjab and New Zealand. Even though he doesn’t get the money, he scores a 100 against all odds, gains attention of selectors, and regains his will to play cricket.

At the age of 36, he trains hard, excels in training camp, and is selected for Punjab’s Ranji team. He scores centuries after centuries, the team gels wells, and Punjab races towards the final. In the final, Karnataka scores 454/6 declared.

Punjab are reeling at 45/4 when Arjun Talwar comes in. However, this time he departs for a golden duck. Clean bowled. Punjab collapse. For four days, Karnataka is in charge. In the final innings, a draw would mean Karnataka would win. So, Punjab has to go for the win.

47 overs, 352 target, 7.47 target, Punjab needs a miracle. Talwar shift up the order to open. After surviving a brief hostile spell, he piles in the runs and scores another daddy hundred. He brings it down to 36 off 12 balls and 14 needed in 6. In the final ball, he hits the balls towards the boundary, runs a couple of runs and dives.

Punjab win. Movie ends.

Spoiler Alert (you may skip this part if you have not yet seen the movie)

Or does it?

At the end of the movie, Arjun’s life is being felicitated. It turns out that he had arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and the last dive effectively ended his life.

Here is the twist. Arjun already knew about the diagnosis and subsequently quit cricket ten years ago. However, he did not let his friends or family know about his condition.

Throughout the film, it is assumed that he ran away since he could not face his troubles. In reality, he was just safeguarding is family from the pain. Even though he was warned to not play again, he did so for the sake of his son.

Finally in that ceremony, it is revealed that Arjun was, in fact, selected for India’s ODI team after his domestic performances in 1996 and would have played had he lived. That jersey is given to his son and the movie completes full circle.

Jersey Movie Inspirational Quotes

“Should I play or not? Arjun asks his son.

Play papa, play. Play with your whole heart. Whenever you play cricket, you look like a hero to me his son responds.

“We always prefer hearing stories of successful people. Not just in cricket, but also in life. But not everyone finds success. Maybe one out of 100. Arjun’s story is not one such success story. It’s about those 99 people who failed and yet had to spirit to keep trying.”

With Rafael Nadal’s 14th victory at the Roland Garros, Joe Denly’s century in the Vitality Blast, and Dinesh Karthik & Wriddhiman Saha’s resurgence in IPL 2022, it looks like 36+ sportsmen are the flavor of the season. Arjun’s story is applicable to their careers as well. Even with injuries, ups and down, they just keep on going.


Shahid Kapoor is back with another great performance. Early in his career, he had an image of playing this nice, young polite character. In the last couple of movies (Udta Punjab, Haider, and Kabir Singh), he has played more aggressive roles and tried to change that image. In Jersey though, Shahid has combined the best of both worlds. On the outside, he is portrayed as brash and angry, but his demeanor is one of honesty, kindness, and love.

My favorite part of the movie was the chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Pankaj Kapoor (real life father), who acted as his coach in this movie. Their relationship is depicted as one of friendship and Talwar’s only family. Pankaj’s acting is outstanding and keeps the story moving with his equally comic and emotional acting.

Special mention to Talwar’s friend group, the younger Kittu, and journalist for playing their roles to perfection.

Jersey Movie Review Hindi: Watch It or Skip It?

Definitely watch this one.

The main storyline that depicts the father-son relationship is done very well. Although the script itself is a bit far-fetched, the acting keeps Jersey going. The cricket scenes are not as realistic as 83, but they are good enough to not detract from the film (think Iqbal-esque screenplay).

Watch it for Shahid Kapoor, Pankaj Kapoor, and the inspirational we can take from a cricketer’s journey in our lives—keep on trying.

Other Cricketers Who Were Forced to Retire Early

James Taylor

James Taylor was diagnosed with ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy). He was forced to quit cricket at the age of 26 due to this incurable diagnosis and immediately had a surgery.

He represented England in 7 Tests and 27 ODIs (1-100, 7-50s). His List A career numbers are stellar (136 matches, 9306 runs, 53.11 average, 15-100s, 30-50s). In FC cricket, he racked up 9306 runs, 20-100s, 47-50s at an average of 46.06 as well.

His story is written in his autobiography Cut Short. An excerpt from Alan Gardner’s review of this book encapsulates this real-life struggle

“For six weeks after having a defibrillator fitted, Taylor could not lift his arm above shoulder height in case it pulled the wires out of his heart.

He subsequently became England’s selector and is now a head scout. He still gives back to the game of cricket as well as creating awareness of his condition as an ambassador of some foundations.

Embed from Getty Images

Raman Lamba

Although not due to heart condition, Raman Lamba passed away on 22nd February,1998 on a cricket ground while playing in a domestic Bangladesh Dhaka Premier League after being hit in the head while fielding.

He played for Delhi and had a stellar first-class record (8776 runs, 31 centuries, 27 fifties, 53.84 average). He scored a couple of triple centuries including a 320 in a Duleep Trophy (1986-87) between North Zone and West Zone.

Lamba represented India in 4 Tests & 6 ODIs, including a Man of the Series performance in an ODI against Australia in 1987.

Embed from Getty Images

No Jersey is not based on a true story. The script revolves around the cricketing journey of fictional character named Arjun Talwar.

Although Jersey had a positive reception, it had a subpar run at the box office. Worldwide, Jersey grossed around 27.9 crores although the budget was about 10-15 crores higher.

Jersey is currently available on Netflix.

Raman Lamba passed away on February 22nd,1998 after being hit in the head while fielding in Bangladesh Dhaka Premier League.

James Taylor was diagnosed with ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy). He was forced to quit cricket at the age of 26 due to this incurable diagnosis and immediately had a surgery.

After his sudden retirement, Taylor became England’s selector and is now a head scout.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 06/05/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Kaun Pravin Tambe? Movie Review: Does Shreyas Talpade Revive His Iqbal Magic?

By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 04/01/2022

Actor Shreyas Talpade, from Iqbal fame, is back to portray this inspirational story of a man who realized his dream of playing cricket on the national stage at the age of 41.

Can Pravin Tambe’s unlikely journey capture the imagination of the public like other sports movies? Today we review this latest cricket movie released on Disney+HotstarDetails, Summary, Verdict, and most importantly, Life Lessons We All Can Learn from Pravin Tambe. There is also a section of most popular Pravin Tambe videos, his playing career, and stats at the very end.


  1. Kaun Pravin Tambe Detail & Information
  2. Kaun Pravin Tambe Summary and Review
    1. The Stories
    2. The Acting
  3. Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?
  4. 5 Life Lessons We All Can Learn from Pravin Tambe
    1. 1. Age Is Just a Number
    2. 2. Balancing Dreams with Practicality of Life
    3. 3. Be Open-Minded
    4. 4. Passion Makes Perfect
    5. 5. All You Need Is One Good Over. Never Give Up. Dreams Really Do Come True
  5. Pravin Tambe Videos and Interviews
  6. Who Is Pravin Vijay Tambe?
    1. Pravin Tambe Stats
    2. Pravin Tambe Major Teams

Also Read:

Kolkata Knight Riders just posted an emotional video on social media regarding a special screening of Kaun Pravin Tambe?, celebrating Pravin Tambe who is on KKR’s support staff in IPL 2022 (video of KKR’s special screening linked below).

Kaun Pravin Tambe Detail & Information

Title Name: Kaun Pravin Tambe? (Who is Pravin Tambe?)

Hotstar Summary: Relentless effort can make an underdog rise to the top, and cricketer Pravin Tambe’s extraordinary journey proves why age is just a number.

Protagonist: Shreyas Talpade as Pravin Tambe

Major Cast:

  • Ashish Vidyarthi as Coach Vidyadhar Paradkar
  • Parambrata Chatterjee as journalist Rajat Sanyal
  • Anjali Patil as wife Vaishali Tambe
  • Nitin Rao as teammate/friend/Mumbai selector/India player Abey Kuruvilla (Check Out Kuruvilla’s debut wicket against the West Indies)
  • Arif Zakaria as Jamil Jalali

Directed By: Jayprad Desai

Release Date: April 1, 2022

Length: 2 hour, 13 minutes

Language: Hindi (English subtitles available, also dubbed versions available in Telegu & Tamil)

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Kaun Pravin Tambe Summary and Review

Kaun Pravin Tambe? begins with a clip of a Rahul Dravid, who is portraying Pravin Tambe as the embodiment of passion (full speech below). The movie then tries to answer the question for the audience, who is this Pravin Tambe that Dravid is talking about? Cricket fans have heard about with his exploits with the Rajasthan Royals between 2013 and 2015, but how did he start his career? Why did he have to wait for 20 years?

Also Read: What Rahul Dravid Taught Me

The film begins in the early 2010s, when Tambe is juggling his life as a construction supervisor, father, husband, and cricketer. After brief introduction of the Shreyas Talpade, the movie rewinds to Tambe’s childhood and develops chronologically. We see that at the age of 12, Tambe finds his life purpose—to play Ranji cricket for Mumbai. The essence of the plot is to fill the gap between ages 12 to 41.

The Stories

There are several mini-stories within the larger movie. Tambe begins his career as an all-rounder and specifically, a medium-pace allrounder. How does he then turn into this leg-spinner? (Don’t worry, will not spoil that for you here). Another plotline is the various jobs Tambe takes upon for the sake of financial stability, while still trying to give time to cricket. This is my favorite part of the movie.

Finally, the portrayal of the Mumbai grassroots cricket, Shivaji Park maidaans, and gully cricket is cherry on top of the cake. The actual cricket has the perfect screen time—not too much (like 83’s highlights reels), not too little, just right.

The Acting

What makes this a neat watch is Shreyas Talpade’s bowling action. I loved his bowling action in Iqbal and since Tambe started as a medium pacer, Talpade was a perfect fit. His acting is brilliant as usual, but the minor characters (older brother, childhood friend, wife Vaishali, Abey Kuruvilla, and Arif Zakaria as Jamil) are the heart of the film. Special mention to Ashish Vidyarthi, who does an excellent job portraying Vidyadhar Paradkar sir (influential coach for Zaheer Khan and other great Indian cricketers).

Finally, a note on Parambrata Chatterjee, who is a wonderful actor (you might know him as the police officer in Kahaani & Aranyak). However, his minor negative character as a journalist did not suit him or the script well.

Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?

At this moment, there is loads of cricket going on—2022 Women’s World Cup, IPL 2022, Australia Vs Pakistan ODIs, Bangladesh Vs South Africa Tests, Netherlands Vs New Zealand limited overs series, and the 2022 County Championship will begin in a week as well.

On top of this, I am sure you are busy with work, family, or school.

But if you can make time for two hours in this busy world, I hope you can set everything aside and give Kaun Pravin Tambe? a sincere watch. Good, light-hearted movie that will rejuvenate your belief in cricket, specifically grassroot & gully cricket.

My review for Kaun Pravin Tambe? is 4.5/5. Great watch. The only thing that took away from the film for me was the minor conflict with the journalist, which seemed a bit forced.

Before we move on to “Life Lessons we can learn from Pravin Tambe”, check out BCD’s social media pages and consider subscribing to our newsletter. It would really help support this website.

5 Life Lessons We All Can Learn from Pravin Tambe

Pravin Tambe symbolizes Broken Cricket Dreams. His journey has broken dreams, but his story is also full of inspiration, passion, hard work, modesty, and determination.

Tambe is one of the great stories of the IPL. Got his big break before playing a Ranji Trophy match. And guess what? After all his toil, results were evident – hat-trick vs KKR, highest wicket taker for Rajasthan Royals in 2014, and the Golden Wicket taker for RR in 2012 Champions League.

And he played till he was 49 across IPL, CPL, Abu Dhabi T10 leagues. I am sure he still plays a few gully cricket games here and there. Dedication to the max. Here are some of the other life lessons from Pravin Tambe we can apply to our lives.

1. Age Is Just a Number

After almost 30 years of toil, Tambe finally got selected for the Rajasthan Royals in 2013. A few months later, he would get his beloved Ranji Trophy cap.

In this day and age of the internet and focus on fitness, anything is possible. Tom Brady, Pravin Tambe, Brad Hogg, and Chris Gayle can still play professional sports at 42. With resources online, you can obtain a new skill, learn new things, change careers, or start a business. At any point in your life, age is no barrier.

2. Balancing Dreams with Practicality of Life

As Tambe entered his twenties, he assumed more responsibilities. He got married, had two kids, and had to pay bills. Usually, people give up dreams during this time for financial security.

Pravin Tambe did not. He worked multiple jobs instead.

Life is all about moderation and balance. And to survive, money is needed. If you can develop multiple streams of income, while still being within reach of your dream goal, that is the ideal zone.

3. Be Open-Minded

Pravin Tambe reluctantly switched from medium pace bowling to leg spin. And boy, did it pay dividends.

There is a fine line between persistence and inflexibility. Quitting should always be your last option, but if things are not working in your favor, be open to change. Being open minded in the micro can have large positive effects on the macro.

4. Passion Makes Perfect

Dravid’s speech illuminates on Pravin Tambe’s work ethic. Although he did not play much the first year, he attended every optional practice session, every gym session, and was always discussing how to improve his game with other players in the squad.

After his first man of the match award in the IPL, “he was weeping.” He cherished every moment of this journey. Although he has now assumed coaching roles, he still plays for his company (Kanga League, Time Shield) and still bowls 15-20 overs a day in three-day-games.

We usually say ‘Practice Makes Perfect.’ That is true, but what is more is that ‘Passion Makes Perfect.’ If you combine your love or passion for a certain activity and put in the practice and the hard yards, then you will be happy with all your efforts and gradually get closer to your dream.

5. All You Need Is One Good Over. Never Give Up. Dreams Really Do Come True

The main theme of Kaun Pravin Tambe can be summed up by one quote in the movie.

“Whether it is life or match, all you need is one good over.”

Pravin Tambe was in the 40 Probable’s List for a number of seasons, even as early as 2000.

But he had to wait. And Wait. Almost gave up. And had doubts cast upon from friends and society, but he kept on working relentlessly and kept on dreaming a dream till he got his big break that changed his life.

In Tambe’s own words, “Just never give up on your dreams. Really dreams do come true.”

Try, Try, and Try Again Until You Succeed. You may take rest but never quit. The light at the end of the tunnel may be bleak, but there is light, nevertheless.

Pravin Tambe Videos and Interviews

Here are some of my favorite Pravin Tambe videos. In his interview with Aakash Chopra, Tambe reveals that his IPL cap was not his biggest moment. Getting the Ranji cap for Mumbai from legend Wasim Jaffer was his most memorable moment.

Here below is one of his best innings of his career. So much spin! Beautiful.

Here is Tambe’s hat-trick and 5-wicket hall in a T10 match that featured wickets of Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan, and Kieron Pollard (Bowled!), Upul Tharanga – as a 47-year old. Wow!

Embed from Getty Images

Who Is Pravin Vijay Tambe?

Born: 8 October, 1971 (Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)

Pravin Tambe Stats

T20s: 64 matches, 70 wickets, Best Innings – 4/13, 22.35 average, 6.92 economy

List A: 6 matches, 5 wickets, Best Innings – 2/26

First Class: 2 matches, 2 wickets, Best Innings – 2/127

  • First Indian and oldest player to play in the CPL.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why BCCI Should Allow Players In Foreign Leagues? Learn From the West Indies

Pravin Tambe Major Teams

  • Indian Premier League (IPL): Rajasthan Royals, Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad
  • Caribbean Premier League (CPL): Trinbago Knight Riders
  • Abu Dhabi T10 League: Sindhis
  • Domestic: Mumbai, Mumbai Cricket Association XI, Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Orient Shipping

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 04/01/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Image Courtesy: