Dubai: Yathish Gowda, one of the star players in the India indoor team playing in the World Indoor Cricket World Cup being held at Insportz Club from September 16 to 23, is a cricketer whose passion for the game had led him to become a cricket journalist. Gowda works for the Wisden India website, and that keeps him in constant touch with cricket around the world.
Speaking to Gulf News, Gowda, who is on a hat-trick having played for India in two World Cups, says: “I always wanted to be associated with sports, either playing or working for it. Cricket is something very close to my heart and I never wanted to give up on it. I joined Wisden after returning from the 2014 Indoor World Cup in New Zealand.”
For Gowda it was love at first sight with indoor cricket. “I started playing indoor cricket in 2009 when the Indian Indoor Sports Federation (IISF) secretary invited me to play at their arena for an open tournament. From the moment I stepped into the court, I fell in love with the game since it was a lot different compared to regular cricket. I liked the intensity with which it is played, its rules and so on. Since then there has been no looking back at all,” said Gowda, who, within two years, got picked for the Indian team for the 2011 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then for the 2014 World Cup at Wellington in New Zealand.
This cricket journalist has sharpened his indoor cricket skills every year, and in 2013 he won the best bowler and Man of the Series award in the first World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) recognised bilateral series against Sri Lanka. He played a vital role in India’s 4-1 series win in Bengaluru.
Gowda also wanted his career to revolve around cricket since being an indoor cricketer would not earn him his livelihood. “I was keen on working for a cricketing firm, and thus I joined Wisden. It is my love for the game that helped me take up this job.”
Journalism also helped Gowda know more about indoor cricket. “As a journalist you need to read a lot and that helped me know more about indoor cricket and share with knowledge with others. That’s when I learnt that most Australian outdoor cricketers started their career playing indoor. That motivated me to take up indoor cricket seriously.”
Gowda believes that indoor cricket will become popular. “It’s a fast paced game ... we need to be on our toes every second. Any mistake could cost you the game. Plus, conditions don’t matter here ... rain or sunshine, the game goes on. Looks like this version of the game is here to stay, people will start enjoying it once it gets more exposure. The time frame, intensity, adrenaline rush, and the fact that the game can be won or lost in a few moments — all these add up to the excitement.”
So does Indoor cricket have a future in India? “Of course. It’s just that more and more people need to get involved in this, promote it and multiple arenas must come up in every city in India for this game to grow,” he said.