Sunil Gavaskar was quite stunned when an email addressed to him was passed around a couple of days ago. “Dear Mr Gavaskar, I sold you a deep-freezer in Dubai in 1987. Is it still working?” No, it wasn't a spam scam email of some kind, it was just the latest example of the wide reach of the Internet.
Gavaskar, who is commentating on the ICC World Twenty20 on television, is also working for Cricket Radio, a station that broadcasts across different platforms — internet, mobile, satellite radio — to regions around the world. The team includes Gavaskar’s old on-field foe Clive Lloyd, and has covered the Indian team's travels around the world.
“You won't believe the kind of places we're getting feedback from,” says Prakash Wakankar, another long-standing member of the commentary team.
“We've heard from people in Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Ukraine and Madagascar in the last few days. Of course we get a lot of feedback from the US and from cricket-playing countries.”
One of the best emails they've got, though, is from a Kiwi working in Afghanistan. “The Afghan police who guard the compound I am in, they love to play cricket on the road, when they are off-duty,” wrote Brian Moore.
“They must love Shoaib Akhtar because they all bowl like him. But it takes them away from the horrors of this place and they tell me everyday about the cricket results.”
For many years, radio commentary was the preferred method of keeping up with the cricket in countries where the game was not television.
The TV revolution has all but wrecked this culture, especially in places like India. Cricket Radio, however, is keeping the grand tradition alive, even if the revolution is happening on the Internet.