Fun as a way of doing Business, and why the “Cricky says Thanks” Campaign?

As I (CricketRadius) launch the Cricky says Thanks to Dravid and Ganguly campaign on twitter today, I want to take you into a brief journey of how I came up with the idea and how I see fun as an integral part of life, whether it is doing business or watching a game of cricket, or anything else for that matter.

If you Obey all the Rules, You miss all the Fun
If there is one mantra I live my life by, it would be this. The focus is not on breaking rules, but on having fun. We learn by doing, and by failing we learn how not to fail the next time. But that failing had all the fun. Remember the childhood days when you fell off the bicycle, or while playing football, and how much fun it was. And with every fall, we became better at not falling. For me, doing something the way I want do it is the greatest thrill in the world.

Cricky The Fan

Cricky The Fan

Work = Fun = Play = Business
I have always been in the business of cricket. Irrespective of where I have worked, I have always followed every single cricket match played by India in the last 20 years. I have devoted hours every day reading articles, watching videos and discussing about cricket with my friends and colleagues. The point I am making is what you ‘care‘ about is your business anyway, in whichever form it is. And throwing yourself into a job you love and enjoy is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I am my own Customer
The one thing that wakes me up in the morning these days is the idea of giving a great experience to my customer. I have myself followed cricket by way of keeping a track of records in notebooks and cutting pictures from newspapers to form huge albums of collages. Later on I have maintained excel sheets containing all kinds of cricket related data and kept them updated regularly. What I am trying to do with CricketRadius is to deliver a product for myself and people like me. I have still not figured out what the end product would be, but I am sure I know it somewhere deep inside and just have to bring it out in the right form.

Get Started. Make Impact. Small is not Bad
If I have an idea that can save the planet, I will act on it. But if I have a small idea which will just make watching cricket more fun, I will work on that too. For me, the real joy is of ‘creating‘ something new, not in how big or  small, and the journey in itself rather than the destination. So the point is – Just make a difference where you can. Some solutions can be scaled up, some can’t, but I like to realize that after taking action, rather than in classrooms and meetings.

Relive 5 historic matches of Ganguly and Dravid on Twitter from 23-27 May

Relive 5 historic matches of Ganguly and Dravid on Twitter from 23-27 May

How the campaign came about?
It is not a co-incidence that the campaign is about expressing gratitude to Dravid and Ganguly for their contribution to Indian Cricket. I have spent my childhood watching their entire careers and I believe these two players have had the biggest impact on Indian Cricket in the last 20 years, along with Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar. And in todays inter-connected world, the question I am asking with this campaign is – “What if twitter had been there on these 5 historic matches which I am re-creating and reliving?” Every fan has the option to relive those moments of pure joy by following the commentary, reading articles and watching videos about the same online for 5 days starting today.

And what better way to show that we acknowledge Dravid’s and Ganguly’s contribution to Indian Cricket than getting all fans together in the form of a huge collage made out of our Twitter profile pictures – The Twit-Bat. So follow the matches live on our twitter account, and invite other fans to take part in the campaign all details of which can be found here.

Back to Entrepreneurship – Circa 2012, and what is CricketRadius?

If I have not told you yet or you have not heard yet, let me tell you. Recently, I quit Yahoo and am now working on another entrepreneurial venture of mine (after SaleRaja). Like most things in my life, this happened suddenly and without notice. When I joined Yahoo!, I was very clear that I would jump back into entrepreneurship again, but always thought it was 3 to 5 years away. More than that, I had a certain set of skill-gaps which I wanted to plug in before jumping back again.

Today, as it has already been over a month since I left Yahoo!, I can say with surety that those skill-gaps have not been plugged 🙂 And though I have done and learned a lot in the two years I spent at Yahoo, the gaps I wanted to plug still have a lot of holes left in them. But as I wrote in one of my previous posts (read point 9), maybe it was only a question of WHEN and not IF, that this would happen. And I am thankful to Yahoo to pushing me where I am today.

It started with the idea of a job change a few months ago and perfectly coincided with a separate cricket blog I started in November ( When the response I got in the next couple of months to mine (and others) articles on CricketRadius surprised me, I actually looked at starting this as a business, even when I had a good and exciting job offer in hand. And so here I am, a little scared, a lot unsure about the future, but certainly confident that this is the right thing to do and I will figure out the maze that awaits me in the year ahead.

CricketRadius - Because Fans Deserve Better

CricketRadius - Because Fans Deserve Better

Coming back to cricket, it has always had a very central place in my heart right from my childhood. From watching every ball of Test Matches to cutting pictures from newspapers and creating collages to the many thousands of cricket records and statistics in my head, I always knew cricket is going to take up a lot of my time, no matter what I do and where I work. And when I started writing regularly in 2010, I couldn’t stop myself from writing on a lot of topics related to the gentleman’s game. Eventually it led me to where I am today. Another benefit of my writing and proof that if you have faith in life, the dots will somehow connect in the future.

I am working on developing the first version of the CricketRadius product I have in mind, and it would go live in April first week. The central idea around CricketRadius is that fans like me are at the center of everything that happens in cricket. There would be no meaning to any cricket without fans, and as much as cricketers are sports persons, they are also entertainers performing in front of an audience. This fan base is the glue holding the cricket world together, as they generate the eye-balls, the emotions and the revenue which eventually runs cricket and pays for the salaries of everyone involved with the game.

The aim of CricketRadius is hence to provide a platform on web, mobile and other mediums where fans can express themselves and share their emotions about the game they so much love and adore. Because as fans, we deserve a lot more than just being able to read articles by journalists or hear the commentary by former players or watch the match passively on television or at the stadium. As a fan, I want the ability to express my love for my team and my favorite players in an easy and convenient way. I want to let the world know how big a cricket fan I am, and what this game means to me.

The exact details of how this will shape up as I build the product is still very unclear and evolve in the year ahead, but what I am very sure is the ‘WHY’ of doing this as a business. And the WHY is that ‘BECAUSE FANS DESERVE BETTER‘.. Much better than the options currently in the market to express their love for the game. And more than anybody else, I am the most eager person to start using the CricketRadius website once it is live.

If you are a fan, behold, as the COUNTDOWN begins…

Two more historic moments from my cricket archives

After the last article where I chronicled three important cricketing moments from my archives which I could recall very vividly, I went over the archives once again. And alas, I found two more historic moments from 1999. See the first three here. I am sure I can find many more if I try to go over the images again and try to recall the matches. While going over these archives, I also got present to the fact that I remember the 1996, 1999 and 2003 World Cups much more clearly than the 2011 World Cup which we won. Well, those were the days!!

1999 India – Paksitan Test Series

The 1999 India Pakistan test series was as dramatic as it can get. It was the first tour by the Pakistan team to India (apart from 1996 WC) in more than a decade and Indo-Pak relations were on a boil at that time. Even before the first ball was bowled, some Shiv Sainiks damanged the Kotla pitch which made the first match to be scheduled in Madras instead. India lost that match by some 12 runs after Sachin’s dismissal following a brilliant century. His dismissal by an unnecessary shot caused an unlikely collapse resulting in India losing the match.

The second test match was eventually held in Delhi and it was forever written in history books for what happened in the 4th innings. Pakistani batsmen fell prey to the guile and spin of Anil Kumble on a chilly February day. He became only the second player after Jim Laker to take all 10 wickets in an innings. The fact that I watched every ball of this last innings on TV made the memories even more sweeter.

An eventful series - as dramatic as it gets

An eventful series - as dramatic as it gets

Though the series was shared 1-1 and as you can see in the pic, both Wasim Akram and Mohammad Azharuddin lifted the trophy, there was another controversial Test Match after the series in Calcutta as part of the Asian Championship. It was marred by a controversial run out of Sachin Tendulkar which led to crowd trouble and I still remember Sachin and Azhar going around the stadium asking the people to calm down. Eventually the match was finished in front of empty stands as the crowds were evicted by the police. India lost the match. Shoaib Akhtar, who was at perhaps the peak of his form at this time, was at the centre of the controversy in this match. He bowled some unplayable deliveries to the Indian batsmen but his involvement in the Sachin run out turned into a big controversy. As I said, as dramatic as it gets.

Read this Cricinfo report to get a feel of what happened that day.

Pitch Invasions during the 1999 World Cup

Pitch Invasions during the 1999 World Cup

1999 World Cup  and security fiasco

The 1999 World Cup in England saw fantastic performances by Lance Klusener, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Rahul Dravid and many more players, but it was also one tournament where crowd trouble threatened to go out of hands, for the first time outside the subcontinent. The tournament saw a lot of Asian fans watching the games and they would celebrate by running onto the field after the end of play. This turned into a nightmare for the security staff as they were unable to handle the crowd. Luckily no untoward incident happened, but it would not have been a surprise if something tragic would have happened. The below pic taken after a Pakistan match shows it all.

Three Cricketing Moments Immortalized in my Cricket Archives

Ever since I found my cricket archives collection at my Delhi home which was gathering dust for over 10 years, I have been going through them and recalling some of the old memories I had of important moments in cricket history. These moments mark important milestones in cricketing history and I am going to share three of them here.

The Shiv Sainiks damaging the Kotla pitch

The Shiv Sainiks damaging the Kotla pitch

Kotla Pitch Fiasco before Indo-Pak Test Match

In what was a major fiasco for security agencies, Shiv Sainiks damaged the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in early January 1999 just before the start of the first Test Match. It is to be recalled that this was the first Pakistan tour after a long time and there were a lot of politics and emotions involved. The match was later moved to Madras with the second match scheduled for Delhi (the one where Kumble took all 10 wickets in an innings). Here this picture captures the Shiv Sainiks damaging the pitch in the middle of the night.

Australian team celebrating after the chokers choked

Australian team celebrating after the chokers choked

1999 World Cup Semi Final

Nobody can forget the 1999 World Cup semi final between Australia and South Africa which was dramatically tied leading to Australia entering the finals. It is to be recalled that South Africa needed 9 runs to win in the final over with Lance Klusener, the best player and the man of the series in that world cup. Klusener hammered first two balls of the over for boundaries, with a South African win looking almost certain. As Steve Waugh brought all his fielders in, there was almost a run out on the third ball, which eventually materialized on the 4th ball. With this being the last wicket, the match ended in a tie. See the video here, and as you can see, the South Africans choked, like they have done many times.

Sir Donald Bradman with Sachin and Warne

Sir Donald Bradman with Sachin and Warne

Sachin and Warne meeting Bradman in 1998

It became a talk of the whole country when Bradman’s wife saw Sachin play on television and reminded Bradman of how much Sachin resembled him. After that, Bradman invited Sachin and Shane Warne to come visit him, and their pictures were splashed all over the newspapers. (I cut one of those :P) Coming to what happened during their discussions, read the snippet below. To put this visit in perspective, Sachin was 25 years at that time.

Bradman asked Tendulkar whether he moved before the ball left the bowler’s hand. To which the younger batsman rather modestly replied, “I don’t know.” With a glint in his eyes, Sir Donald tapped Tendulkar’s shoulder: “I think you do. You begin your movement before the bowler balls, otherwise you wouldn’t have the time to play the kind of shots you do.”

Why I love Test Matches?

If there are sports as fast as hockey and football which can get pretty exhaustive and a real test of stamina for players as they hardly get any break in a game, there sits Test Cricket on the other side where your stamina and skills are tested, but in a totally different way. Test Cricket is the longest form of cricket, where two teams play over five days, and sometimes even those five days fails to produce a result. Nevertheless, it has its own following and has been in existence since 1877. It puts the players’ skills, patience, fitness and stamina to utmost test over the five days.

Waiting is a very important part of test cricket. Waiting everyday for a 40 minute lunch and a 20 minute tea forms an integral part of the day. Apart from that, there is more waiting, for the openers to settle in, for the ball to get old, and then waiting for 80 overs to take the new ball. The batsman wait for the ball to stop swinging, while the spinners wait for the ball to start spinning. The bowlers wait for the batsmen to make a mistake, and the batsmen wait with their shots till the bowlers are tired.

A sight only possible in Test Cricket

A sight only possible in Test Cricket

Twists and Turns

A test match can turn a match over its head many times over the period of 5 days. Every session gives both teams the chance to show their talent and come back into the game. This way it is a real test of skills and only the best team will win at the end. Lucky performances don’t matter as much as in ODI and T20 cricket. There is ample proof of this as teams have won after having to follow on or being completely outplayed in the first innings. No other sport perhaps can give such thrills.


Test cricket, more than anything else, is the test of patience of the players. Ishant Sharma’s spell to Ponting in Perth in 2008 was a testimony for that. A bowler has to bowl long spells and really bring out his talents to the table to get the batsman out. There is no hurry or run rate issues and the batsman will not play any rash shots. The batsman will also wait for the bowlers to get tired out and the ball to get old before playing their shots. In this way, it is more about playing time and testing the patience of the opposition which makes Test Cricket so intriguing to watch.


Although it might seem like a slow game, it never goes down in intensity. The concentration and focus which players need to put in, and the fighting spirit which brings out the best in many players, is a real treat to watch. Players like Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble are a result of this unwavering focus and never ending determination on the cricket field.

That's why they say that the defensive shot is the most important

That's why they say that the defensive shot is the most important


Playing continuously for five days, sometimes under very harsh weather (like in Chennai) requires great level of fitness and character to survive, let alone play. Many of the players to score a century in Chennai have suffered cramps and dehydration, but it has also brought out some of the best innings and test matches ever played. When a bowler has to bowl 40 overs a day and a batsman might need to bat out more than 10 hours, every muscle in your body will be tested and is a big challenge for not only the players, but also the support staff.

Those who say Test Cricket is dead perhaps have never realized what cricket is. The contest between bat and ball, the constant struggle to wait before the other side makes a mistake, and the never ending twists and turns it brings, with the emotions it brings out from players as well as spectators, make it the ideal ‘Test’ of a player’s skills, and also their patience. Only test cricket can create great records such as Australia’s 16 consecutive test wins, and only test cricket can bring out matches like the Calcutta Test in 2001, or the Adelaide Test of 2003, or Headingley in 2002. Only test cricket can bring out heroes like Gavaskar, Dravid, Laxman, and Kumble. And cricket would certainly be poorer without the presence of players of this stature.