Tehelka has a great profile of psychologist/anthropologist/cultural-critic Ashis Nandy, whose Tao of Cricket I recommend to one and all. Excerpt:
If it was the bottom-up energies of hindi cinema that Nandy found irresistible, ironically it was the top-down construct of cricket that he found compelling. he has been drawn to his two principal tropes for opposite reasons. He saw cricket as part of the imperial project: “It’s not an accident that cricket, not football, was shown as England’s national sport to Indians.”
The arcane rules; the umpire in the white coat who is infallible and inviolable; the constrained aggression; the idea that the close-in fielders are not opponents but the first line of spectators before whom you must not behave in a ‘wrong’ manner: it was Nandy who demonstrated that the cricket match was a means of sublimating colonial class hierarchies.
To Indians it became a means to grapple with issues of ethics and chance. “Cricket is a game of fate passed off as a game of skill,” Nandy argues, “it is not a game against the opposition; it is a game against your own destiny. The weather conditions may change when you are batting, the ball may swing more when the opposition is bowling. That’s why I used it to explore, for instance, the phenomenon of astrology.” The full name of his frequently quoted book of 1989 is telling: The Tao of Cricket: On Games of Destiny and the Destiny of Games.
The profile doesn’t quote the most famous line from the book, which is something like: Cricket is a game invented by the English but discovered by Indians. Read the whole thing if you’re interested in a model for analyzing cricket for larger cultural lessons.