Scoring sixes off the field
DT Next takes a look at the cricket scoring scene in India and Tamil Nadu
CHENNAI: They arrive hours before the commencement of a cricket match. They are glued to their seats for the entire duration of a contest and their eyes are fixed on the area where the action unfolds. They are unsung heroes who take note of literally everything, thanks to the toolkit they carry. They are the ones on-ground journalists turn to when doubts arise. They are none other than the scorers, most of whom do the job part-time and never hog the limelight despite their tireless work. “Scoring in itself is a challenge,” A Manikandan, a scorer certified by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told DT Next
For every international match, there are two official scorers – one does it manually while the other does it online. In case of a 50-over or 20-over match, a DLS manager joins them in their box. There are three other scorers – one does the manual work, one handles the online part/stats and one announces the scores – in the press box.
When it comes to BCCI matches, there are two official scorers – one manual and one online. Only for top-level matches – Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy etc – they are accompanied by a press-box scorer.
Why Tamil Nadu is one of the best in the business
Experienced scorers share their views
Tamil Nadu (state association) had set a benchmark in the 2000s. There is a proper system in place here. At the start of my career, we did only manual scoring. The box method was used those days. The box method is handy and more informative [than the linear method]. I attended a seminar a year before I took up the Board (BCCI) exam (2007). At that time, most of the associations in the northern regions had been following the linear method. Since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wanted all of us to use the same method, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) implemented it. Post 2010, we saw the introduction of iPads and laptops for online and offline scoring respectively. The linear method is better than the box method for streamlining, so the TNCA implemented it at all levels.
N KARTHIKEYAN | BCCI-certified scorer (2 decades of experience)
Most of the scorers are former players. Also, many youngsters have passion towards cricket. Those who could not make it as a player… they got into scoring to stay in the cricket scene. The TNCA ensures that only trained officials are part of matches; you should be qualified enough to be involved even in lower division games. The TNCA is backing us to the hilt; it is doing everything so that the scorers are prepared for any format or situation. The commitment of the scorers and TNCA’s support have brought us to this level.
U VINNARASAN | currently with MRC ‘A’ (2 decades of experience)
The TNCA is giving us a lot of exposure and encouraging us. Every year, there are matches for around 250 days (includes all levels). The Association gives opportunities to youngsters, who can earn money by working on the weekends. There are a lot of college students who come to Chennai from various districts; they can use scoring to earn money. If they grow at a steady pace and pass the BCCI exam, they can settle in their lives.
S NEELAKANDAN | currently with Nelson SC (3 decades of experience)
We have come to this level only because of the help of our seniors. They encouraged us during our early days and asked us to maintain professionalism at all times. The TNCA also played its part in our development. The Association adapted to the changes and implemented new things.
Earlier, the linear method was being used only in BCCI matches. With the late C Madhusudhan sir’s drive, the TNCA implemented it at all levels. Online scoring was also implemented around the same time.
R DEVATIRAJAN | associated with Thiruvallur DCA (3 decades of experience)
First reason is the number of league matches that are hosted here every year. Tamil Nadu is one of the best when it comes to organising league matches. More matches lead to more opportunities; there is demand for more scorers. The TNCA is supporting youngsters and is promoting them. The Association gives them confidence and does not shy away from appointing them for important matches. The TNCA is doing everything to develop young scorers. Thanks to TNCA’s support, scoring has become an easy job.
N VIJAYAKUMAR | currently with Madras CC (2 decades of experience)
Milestone to cherish
D RAVICHANDRAN AND S ARUN HAVE COMPLETED 25 YEARS AT THEIR RESPECTIVE TEAMS
D RAVICHANDRAN | India Pistons CC
I have been with the team for more than 25 years now; I recently celebrated silver jubilee. Being loyal to a team is a great thing. We always have a special attachment for the team. We always take pride when saying ‘this is my team’. At the start of my career in the 1990s, Robin Singh, Vikram Rathour and Debasish Mohanty played in the TNCA First Division, so I felt as if I was scoring for a mini India team. I was working with United India Insurance Company and was posted at Arakkonam after gaining promotion in 2003. Many people asked the India Pistons management if I could continue scoring for the team after shifting to Arakkonam. The management had confidence in me and I did my best in return. It is good that India Pistons has remained in the First Division during my time, but I feel sad for not winning a title (referring to the Rajah of Palayampatti Shield) with the team so far.
S ARUN | Jolly Rovers CC
I have been working for Jolly Rovers since 1998. In the current set-up, I am one of the senior-most members. Having been here for a lot of years, I get the feeling that it is my own team. We become so attached to the team that we do not move to another one after leaving our current employer. We just end our career there. According to me, it (staying with a team for decades) is a huge achievement. I would say that a team and its scorer always share a special bond. If you see, many players come and go and keep changing teams in the off-seasons. By being in one team for such a long time, I can provide loads of information, which will help in our growth. I have the records of all the players who have represented us in the last 25 years. When support staff seek my help before signing a player, I provide relevant data. I am proud to play a key role in winning titles for Jolly Rovers, which is like my family.
Committee chairman explains the work done to maintain lofty standards
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) scorer, statistician and video analyst sub-committee chairman SB Ramanan explained the work that is done behind the scenes to ensure the state’s scorers maintain lofty standards. “Firstly, the scorers get a lot of exposure. Some start scoring at a young age, taking up assignments in inter-district, lower league matches. We conduct exams for them (TNCA has now made it mandatory; in the past, many mastered the art with exposure and by learning from their seniors),” said Ramanan, who has been scoring officially since 2009. “Every alternate year, we conduct a seminar or refresher course for their improvement. We provide t-shirts and kits once every two years. We want to maintain uniformity and want them to be recognised when they are assigned matches outside the state; this is why we give t-shirts with the TNCA logo on them. We also provide toolkits once in two years. We make young scorers work with BCCI-certified ones so that they learn the nuances of the job. We have a rotation policy when it comes to appointing scorers for top-level matches,” Ramanan added.