My Life System #69: Cricket

As an Indian, it is hard not to love and follow cricket. I am no different. As I have grown older, the craze has gone, but the interest has not. When I was young, I meticulously followed cricket matches and listened to radio commentaries. I especially loved the live broadcasts from BBC and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – I could almost imagine myself being there at the stadium. (Besides, I loved the near-perfect English accents – which I tried to imitate!) I kept detailed statistics of key players and their averages – this was in the 1970s and early 1980s, when there was no Internet.

I played cricket in my building. I was a “kaccha” (raw, green) player, and always the last to be picked when teams were being formed. In fact, since I was younger than all the others, it took a lot of pleading from my mother to get me to become part of the group. And once I was in, I gave it my best. I learnt how to bat and bowl; I would play in our small flat by throwing the ball on the wall, and then hitting it and scoring. I learnt how to do both top spin and hold the ball back to make it come slower after pitching. I worked on improving my fielding. I kept daily stats on my performance – the days I scored runs or took a wicket or even a catch were my happy moments. Unfortunately, these were few and far between!

In my free time, I played book cricket. When the computer came into my life, one of the first games I wrote was a 1-day match simulator. In a few minutes, I could get a full scorecard of a match. Along with Monopoly, it was one of the great achievements of my early software career.

I saw a Test match once. An uncle had an extra ticket and took me along. I think it was Day 4 of this match – I clearly remember Gavaskar getting caught for 42. It was a wonderful experience – I was about 10 years old then.

As I grew older, life took over and my love for cricket diminished. The Internet brought it back. I launched in 1997 – live cricket coverage and detailed stats with charts, which at that time were even better than Cricinfo. I poured my heart into the site – because I wanted it for myself! I had even collated all Ranji Trophy scores – the first of its kind in the world. One of the sad moments for me was when was sold as part of the IndiaWorld deal; I would think many times of buying it back!

Now, I still like to track the scores on Cricinfo but the deep love is gone. I don’t care much about IPL. But I still have very fond memories of my younger years – cricket was so much a part of me and a shared experience with friends.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.