The Curse and the Cup

A story of unpaid karmic debt.

The Curse and the Cup is a harrowing story of unpaid karmic debt, of the dark, unvanquished consequences of apartheid that continue to exact revenge and cripple dreams till today.

It has a very simple theme…if you unjustly kill the dreams of others, your own dreams will be killed.


On an ill-fated day in 1991, Vuyisa Lingani and his son Manga, legendary left-arm spinners who couldn’t play international cricket for South Africa because they were black, die within hours of each other in a bizarre tragedy.

Vuyisa’s wife, Mama Nonkosi, blames the white cricket establishment and places a curse on the South African cricket team to avenge their deaths. The curse has done its bidding and successfully prevented the Proteas from winning a single World Cup championship since.

But Mama Nonkosi is dying, and the curse needs a new caretaker. She turns to her grandson, Themba, the sole-surviving Lingani male, and heir to the left-arm spin dynasty.

Will Themba honor her request and support the family’s tradition of hate and revenge, or will he pursue his own destiny and choose forgiveness? Will South Africa win the ICC 2015 World Cup, or will the curse continue its unbroken victorious run?

Praise for The Curse and the Cup

“Gaurav Bhalla's The Curse and the Cup is a tragic story of black cricketers, a wife and mother's fury, and one young man's determination to claim his rightful place on the cricket pitch and the world stage. A brilliant book that is sure to entertain and amaze.”
Robert Myers, Author, Playwright, Educator (over 15 plays on politics and race)

The Curse and the Cup is a remarkable multi-generational saga about the Lingani family and Mama Nonkosi's curse that has until now prevented the Proteas from winning the World Cup. Will the writer—like a modern-day songoma—finally, in telling this story, lift this curse?"
Professor Andre Odendaal, CEO Cape Cobras, Author of The Story of an African Game

“An outstandingly original novel, The Curse and the Cup takes the simple reality of South Africa's inexplicable failure to win any major global tournaments and casts a spell upon it. There is no cliched lap of honor here, just an engaging voyage of discovery.”
Mark Nicholas, Journalist, Commentator, and former Hampshire Captain

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Praise for The Curse and the Cup

“I've known the author for many years as a colleague, and am not surprised he has turned so successfully to literature. As an American, I know nothing about cricket, but that didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of this book, and maybe even enhanced it. Gaurav wasn't writing about cricket, he was writing about people, and how their emotions and history mix up in strange ways that can hurt you in ways you didn't expect. If you've ever pondered the question "At what point does respecting the past cross over into making you a prisoner of the past?", then you will find your time with this book very rewarding.”
Larry Friedman

“THE CURSE AND THE CUP is a fast-paced, heartwarming novel about family, race, revenge, and forgiveness —with the sport of cricket as a backdrop. Being an American who knew nothing about cricket before reading this book, I was surprised that my unfamiliarity with the sport never hindered my reading experience. I found it easy to relate to the flawed but beautiful characters—the family that’s been torn apart by decades of racial prejudice, the young man who must make a choice between hate and hope, and the friends who help him along his journey to achieve his dreams. I would definitely recommend this book.”
Taylor Mallory Holland