Interview of Cricket Fans – 160
Which Cricketer did you idolize growing up?
Well, pretty simple answer; Shane Keith Warne. There was some magic that no one else could produce that completely captivated my mind. I took leg-spin primarily in my playing days and he revolutionized and made a very difficult art form: Leg-Spin bowling look almost so ridiculously easy. The ball of the century in 1993 against Mike Gatting or the 2005 Ashes series when ‘The King’ was nearing his end as an International career was an exemplary and classic example of Shane Warne literally running through oppositions.
Although, amidst all his achievements, I admired how the Indians especially Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman never let him settle. So Warney’s number against India isn’t’ too flashy and if it was, he could well have been the #1 wicket-taker in World cricket overtaking ‘The Smiling Assassin’ Muttiah Muralidharan.
Tell us about your favourite cricket book.
There are plenty of books on Cricket especially Autobiographies that tend to just tell the respective cricketer’s playing journey, the ups and downs he went through, the mood of the team and other challenges he would have faced in making it to the big stage, throw in some controversies/scams and what they felt about them; as lovers of the game and fans of that cricketer, it certainly makes for a good read.
But one book that I have gone back and re-read a few times is ‘No Spin’ which is a no-holds-barred autobiography of Shane Keith Warne co-written by possibly the finest voices and thinkers of this beautiful game, Mark Nicholas. For people who want to know the real Shane Warne, filled with all his ups & downs and his relationships off-field, it is not just another autobiography, through this book Warne gives a complete picture of what a colourful personality he is.
We all know about his exploits on the cricket field as a leg-spinner and he will go down as among the best players the sport has witnessed and reading the book reaffirmed my loyalty and fondness for this legend. He leaves no stone unturned in presenting a complete and true impression of his eccentrics, his smoking habit etc. All I have to say is for me Shane Warne is a classic example of believing in your ability and not bow down to anyone; the system, stern coaches or captains. A must-read for all Cricket fans as through Mark Nicholas’s guidance we get a pearler of a book.
Which cricket website/app do you rely on for news and other stuff?
Well, it’s split into two parts. For all articles related to the game, I go to ESPNCRICINFO, and I extensively use Cricbuzz App to check the latest scores etc and also that’s where I get some really good reference material for some of the articles I write on the game; be it listicles or features. Cricbuzz’s content may not be at the level of ESPNCRICINFO but I still like their growth especially in the digital space after they bought in ‘The Voice Of Cricket’ Harsha Bhogle. I really like ‘Cricbuzz in Conversation’, ‘Cricbuzz Live’, ‘ Cricbuzz Chatter’ and even ‘Spicy Pitch’.
There is a perception that cricket is called a batsmen’s game. Do you agree?
Without a doubt, yes. From flatter pitches to smaller grounds, thicker bats, the game is slowly heading only in one direction: towards the bowlers. Well, I understand the more runs scored would entertain fans and bring in more fans to the game, irrespective of the format; when there is no contest between bat & ball it just doesn’t make for a good watch. When so many former greats are advocating for more neutral or level playing conditions that allow both bowlers and batsmen to have their say; I am hopeful of that happening.
The longest and fondest memories we have even in recent times could be the ICC World Cup 2019, Ashes 2019, India’s epic win down-under. One thing that is common to all three series was that the level of competition was at its peak and the conditions were pretty balanced, making it a fine watch. Hopefully, the pitches can get more bowler-friendly and we can get to see, many batsmen also show their true prowess more often against the odds, shall we say?
What is going to happen on the 18th, according to you?
Considering that the Kiwis have a two-match Test series before the WTC finals, they have an edge over India there. But one thing Team India in the past two years has shown is never, ever write them off. They have got a fantastic team with a lot of exemplary gifted players in their arsenal. Probably this is going to be India’s toughest challenge in a while, New Zealand’s bowling attack comprising Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Kyle Jamieson in good conditions at Southampton.
But India has the bowling to dent New Zealand and if the likes of Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma can find their feet pretty quickly. I am going for an Indian win; and creating history in the process.
Would you rather want India to win the finals of the WTC or the England series?
Both have huge significance. But considering this is the first-ever ICC World Test Championship, and the fact that India were the winners of the inaugural ICC World T20 back in 2007, I would want India to win both because I believe they have the team to beat New Zealand and England in their home conditions. But just for the fact that every ICC event is very special and as a captain, Virat Kohli is yet to get his hands on an ICC trophy across formats, this would be apt if he won the ICC WTC. As he’s someone who openly advocates the importance of Test Cricket.
Tell us about your podcast and the kind of content you post there.
It’s called ‘Cricket Unplugged- A Podcast on Cricket’. I co-host this with my close mate Sooraj SG. We both are Cricket purists and share a lot of similarities in terms of what content we want to put out. So for listeners, you can get to hear about the latest happenings and developments from the game along with getting to know about some untouched and unknown series/players and give our perspective on the same.
Cricket fans should enjoy listening to the podcast which is available on all prominent platforms and one of the main reasons for the growth of the podcast has been the support and recognition it has received from ‘Cricket Twitter.’
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