Interview of Cricket Fans – 45 – Cricket Archivist

Over 7000 cricket videos, more than one lakh subscribers on YouTube, eleven thousand followers on Twitter. Mainak Sinha is a cricket footage archivist from West Bengal, who keeps entertaining us with his videos everyday on social media platforms.

I got the opportunity to interact with him who I feel is one of the greatest cricket fans of all-time in this interview article where he shares his early memories of this sport, comparison of him and Rob Moody, fear of copyright strike, his future as a cricket archivist and more.

Thank you so much Mainak, for your participation in this interview. Tell us your early memories of watching cricket, how did you fall in love with this sport?

My first memory of a live cricket game is the 2003 World Cup final. I was 6 years old back then. In fact, I was so shattered after India’s defeat, I switched off the TV & didn’t let my family members watch the presentation ceremony. I was an introvert & socially awkward kid in my childhood. I didn’t have many friends (I still don’t for that matter) so Cricket was a big escape from the monotony of daily life. My dad used to watch cricket closely so I too naturally got attracted to it. The sheer thrill of a game which is unfolding bit by bit with each passing over was a big attraction.

Some people say you are the Indian Robelinda because of the massive archive of cricket videos that you have. Do you like this comparison?

I absolutely don’t like it. Rob is good mate of mine, we have helped each other with footage of many games in past. In fact his YouTube channel & twitter handle was an inspiration or sorts to start mine. Having said that, our nature of uploads, interests are very different. Most of Rob’s uploads are Australia centric. He undoubtedly has the biggest archive in the world if you consider the amount of data (courtesy the amount of ball by ball stuff he recorded) but if you consider the number of International games/series the likes of myself, Zohaib Khalid have much more than him. There is no rivalry or rat race at all of course. I always tried to be original with my own style of contents like covering every era and every possible series. From the 60s to the 2010s, games played in every parts of the world. Some months back my handle name was @desi_robelinda, it was a sort of tribute to Rob. It was well taken by most fans but after some time few people started to say I’m using Rob’s name (while Rob himself never complained) & trying to leech of his fame. So I switched to @cric_archivist. Rob is awesome in his own way & I would like to think I have done a decent job in my own way. Not a fan of the comparison.

How much time does it take to upload a video on various platforms? 

The uploading happens in a flash obviously because I don’t post long videos. But the process of finding a proper content among sea of data (I have like 7500+ International games and it’s worth 50 TB approximately. I’m not even going into non Internationals) & editing it is the toughest part. I’m not a fan of posting a random clip from a random game. The content should have a meaning or significance.

Have you thought of making an edit version of a particular cricketer like we see other accounts doing here?

It’s definitely a good concept but I haven’t thought of doing any posts like that. In fact I’m a fan of compilation videos but they takes a lot of time to edit therefore I often abort plans of making such videos. But good to see people out there doing those sort of clips.

Has there been such instance where you had received a copyright strike for posting a particular video?

Yes many times. In Jan 2015, my first YouTube channel (created in 2012) was terminated after 3 strikes by Cricket South Africa. I didn’t have much knowledge on these things back then. My current YouTube channel has got some strikes (or claims) here and there but so far so good. The last strike I got was issued by ICC in mid-2017. On Twitter only once, it was issued by BCCI on couple of clips of IPL 2009.

Is there a constant fear that your channel or your account may be taken down because of this? 

Yes, there is. Especially on YouTube, not that much on Twitter. Twitter is much more relaxed when it comes to copyright strikes compared to YouTube. Over the years I got smarter with experience so have been able to survive so far.

You have a separate dedicated page for pictures known as @cric_pictures on twitter, tell us what kind of photos you post there from that account. 

Actually few months back, I created this 2nd handle to upload videos which are copyright prone (ex- IPL videos). Then I thought of building it as a backup handle as well as upload some cricket pictures from my collection. Now truth be told here, despite having a fondness for cricket pictures it is nowhere near the level of obsession I have for cricket footage so that handle remains inactive for most times. But when I find some picture which I like, I try to post it from that handle. It could be a picture perfect Rahul Dravid forward defence or it could be a rare picture of Sourav Ganguly with a floppy hat.

Out of all the archives that you have, you must be having one particular video which you like the most, which is your favourite video that you have posted? 

There are many clips of mine which I like a lot, some of them did well in terms of views some of them didn’t. My clips have been quoted and liked by the likes of Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kevin Pietersen, Vinod Kambli, Sanjay Majrekar etc. But if I have to pick one then it would be a video I posted on June 2020 in my backup handle @cric_pictures, it was a compilation of Rahul Dravid’s best catches. It went absolutely viral. So far it has 125k views but few days later, Harbhajan Singh re posted my video (it has my watermark on it, thank God for that!). His post got 1.2 Million views so far and it was quoted by various media outlets and cricketers like Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Aakash Chopra, Amol Muzumdar etc. I even ended up giving an interview on that video!

What next for Mainak? What does your future look like and what do you plan to do with all these videos?

I guess all depends on my schedule because as I said, this hobby is very time consuming. At present I try to post one video every day on Twitter and once in a while I’d post something on YouTube. Cricket Twitter has given me all the fame & adulation. So I’ll always be grateful to them & I’ll try to keep going for as many days as I can. Maybe the frequency of the post will go down in future but for sure I won’t leave the people who have given me so much.

On a personal note, it’s tough to say what I’ll do with my archive in future but for sure I’ll keep it organized & help out the next gen of archivists if anyone reaches out to me.

One of the things that I liked the most is the part where he says about cricket twitter giving him all the praises and appreciation for what he does. Social media is a powerful tool and one can use it for good or bad depending on what that person would like to do irrespective of what others have to say.

Cricket twitter has given me lot of praises too and I am, like Mainak Sinha, also grateful for them for their love, support and respect. Thank you so much for reading this article, hope you guys enjoyed it. If you liked this article then please share it and let me know in the comments section if you have anything to say. Follow me on Twitter for more such interviews. Link of my profile is below.

Thank you so much Samish for this comment on my previous post.

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