Just kicking off the first post on this blog... the umpire's called "Play!", so I'll start by introducing myself, and this blog.
I was born and brought up in the spiritual home of Indian cricket - Mumbai. Little wonder then that I ended up as a devoted cricket player and fan. In addition, I like to think of myself as a "Cricket Stalker" -- I stalk cricket! Whenever and wherever I get the chance, I watch cricket. Of course there's plenty of it on TV these days. But I prefer the multi-dimensional experience of watching it live -- at a stadium, at a maidan, even on the streets. TV gives you instant replays from multiple angles, it gives you Hawkeye and Snickometers and Hotspots and radar gun readings. But it isn't (yet) capable of conveying the true thwack of wood on leather, the birds-eye view of the field from the ground level (as the players see it), the smell of freshly-cut grass in the outfield. And the economics ensure that you don't see what happens between overs, the grizzled veteran batsman educating the youngster at the other end, the fielder at the boundary chatting with the spectators, and so on. There's an altogether different charm in "being there".
I've had the pleasure of "being there" for momentous (or at least, memorable) performances in cricketing history, and for completely unrecorded ones as well - a magic ball that cleans up a batsman in a club match could be just as memorable as Shane Warne's "ball of the century". A big hit by a Sandip Patil in the nets at Shivaji Park could be just as awesome as any sixer he hit in international cricket - more in fact, because of the sweet sound of tinkling glass at the end of its majestic trajectory!
So, this blog is about the ruminations & reminiscences of a cricket stalker. I've been stalking cricket since the mid-to-late 1970s, and I hope at least some of you will have memories from that era that I can refresh. But I may also be occasionally moved to write about the modern game, and about the early days of CricInfo (of which I was a co-founder). "Real-life" dictates that the opportunities and, I must admit, the ability to play the game are greatly diminished these days - but for those of you who aren't thus encumbered, "Play!"