You may not be a great Ashes fan but there is certainly one Indian who is watching every ball and every run made in the final test between England and Australia very intently. That man is Subramaniam, a scorer sent from India to keep the score for the match for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
It may sound odd that a great cricketing nation like Australia should need an outsider to score their matches, but it seems that the previous local scorer could not look after the machine that is used for the system and it was found stolen from his room. It was then that ABC asked for a scorer and both BCCI and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association recommended Subramaniam for the job.
When we are watching the matches on our television sets or even live on the cricket ground, the fact of keeping the score does not even come to our minds. Or even if it does, it is just in passing between the cheering and praying that a batsman hits a four, six and a century. But there are people in the stadium, who watch every ball played and every score made with hawk- like precision. They are the score keepers, who need to be alert and watchful every hour and every minute of the day long games. Subramaniam is one of them.
Subramaniam fondly known as Mani has already scored 86 tests, 160 ODIs and 400 First Class matches and he says it is absolutely not an easy job. He not only has to be very cautious keeping the scores but also has to keep silent for eight hours on a match day. (Imagine keeping mum for hours when you see Sachin or Dhoni hitting boundaries one after the other and then only you can begin to understand his precarious position) To practice the art of being dumb Mani has incorporated a training day into his week. On every Thursday he keeps his lips sealed, not uttering a single word!
The On-Side Off-Side Scorer
Mani is known in the cricketing world for his distinctive style of scoring. And it is really something that match analysts would love to learn from Mani. What he does is that whenever a batsman scores on the on-side, he writes the score diagonally from right to left. When the run is made on the off-side the score is written by him from left to right. This way he has a clear idea of how many runs the batsman scored from which side of the field.
It is because of this unique style that Mani knows that in the test against Australia in Kolkatta when VVS Laxman scored 281, he had actually scored 186 runs on the leg-side!
In India every boy dreams to be a cricketer some day. It is the game we talk, walk, sleep and dream about. But at the masses go crazy over cricketers there are also hundreds of faceless hands working behind the scenes who ensure that the sports is played well. From the ground grass cutters, cleaners, coaches, physicians, trainers, hotel co-coordinators, caterers, security officers, travel co-coordinators, commentators to the scorers like Mani whose discipline and integrity have been recognized gloablly, there are hundreds behind one successful match.
It is only right therefore to give them their due every once in a while.