Interview of Cricket Fans – 83 – Cricket Analysts
Jay – Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell us your early memories of this sport.
Thank you, Jay. My earliest memory of cricket was watching the 1992 World Cup. I remember waking up early and watching India games. I started playing cricket at the age of 8. So I’ve had a long association with the game and it’s still on.
Jay – What is the positive impact of cricket in your life?
Cricket has been a part of my life every single day while growing up. I’ve read up a lot on the game & it has given me immense joy. Some of the journeys have been very inspiring. The game has taught me a lot as I can draw inspiration from the great comebacks and the fact that it’s never a good idea to give up. I am following my passion and getting paid for it. That’s what cricket has given me.
Jay – Which cricketers story inspired you the most?
Every cricketer’s story is inspiring. There’s no one participating story. There are a lot of great stories.
I’ve followed MS Dhoni’s journey and wrote a long thread on Twitter. That’s close to my heart.
The journey of the Pathan brothers is an inspiring story. Love T Natarajan’s rise as a cricketer: from street cricket to Team India’s journey.
When I talk to cricketers who’ve represented their country, I understand everyone has had challenges along the way. All these stories are quite inspiring.
I could go on and on and maybe write a book on it one day.
Jay – Being a cricket analyst, tell us what does it take to be one?
You’ve to love the game, study the trends, match-ups & patterns. Cricket analysis is about identifying problem areas and suggesting a possible solution for the same. For instance: one particular team may have too many left-handers in the middle order. So the opposition may think of playing an off-spinner.
A certain batsman may not be comfortable vs leg-spin first up. So these are nuanced observations against a particular batsman.
At Star Sports, we have been very bullish about the broadcast analytics since 2014. It helps the viewers understand what the teams plan against their opponents. To be an analyst, you’ve to be well prepared
Jay – What inspired you to become a cricket analyst?
A Cricket analyst adds a lot of value to the broadcast and even the teams. During the broadcast, it gives a lot of talking points to the commentators & that’s quite satisfying. For me, I felt being a cricket analyst gives me the freedom to look at a game from the tactical viewpoint.
Jay – Why does IPL have more in-depth analysis as compared to International Cricket?
As I mentioned earlier, Star Sports have been pioneers in broadcast analytics so you might say IPL has in-depth analysis. T20 game is more tactical & fast-paced. There’s dugout during the IPL where we have the best cricketing minds in the world under one roof. So the endeavour is to stay ahead of the game and be predictive.
Jay – How do you see Indian Cricket in the present scenario?
This Indian cricket team has what it takes to be the Number 1 team in all three formats. India’s fast bowling resources are the best in the world. The team has won everywhere and they have the will to excel. All the players are incredibly fit as well. So, I’m sure we’ll see Team India dominating world cricket in a few years.
Jay – Your take on Mankad?
Mankading is within the laws of the game. There’s all the talk about the Spirit of the Game but if laws permits the bowler to run a batsman then there’s nothing wrong in that.
Jay – Do you see any change in terms of batting style or bowling style from the 70s, 80s & 90s era compared to modern times?
As far as batting is concerned the size of the bats, the strength of the batsmen & the fitness levels today is much better compared to the earlier era. The technical aspect of batsmanship was given more emphasis in the older times. For the bowlers: the workload today is a lot as many bowlers play all the formats. For the fast bowlers, that’s quite taxing. Hence we don’t see many bowlers bowling 150kmph consistently. It’s a little tough for the bowlers to play all three formats today.
Jay – Who, according to you, is the best player of swing and spin in English conditions?
Rahul Dravid’s batting in England during the 2002 series was amazing. His innings at Leeds must be a case study on how to bat on a seaming track. Gavaskar’s 221 at The Oval was a superb knock. Tendulkar looked unstoppable when he got set. So there have been many great knocks played in England.
I’ve heard stories of Vijay Merchant from the 1946 tour: how he scored tons of runs during the wet English summer.
Bradman scored 974 runs in 1930 & Sir Neville Cardus writing about this is immortal.
Jay – How is your experience of working with Star Sports?
Star Sports has been brilliant and I can’t thank my bosses and seniors for the kind of support they’ve given me. I was hired by my boss when I had no TV experience and he has more belief in me than I had in myself. I take this interview an opportunity to thank my boss & seniors for being amazing.
Jay – What would your all-time XI of ODI and Test squad look like?
All-time ODI team:
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
MS Dhoni (c)
(Richards & Sachin will be the bowling options)
Test All-time XI:
Garry Sobers (C)
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Thank you so much for reading. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on my name @bhavsarJ2_0 and make sure you don’t miss out any other cricket related interviews.