Anant Gaundalkar: My first cricket teacher

During my early tryst with cricket, the match never got over when it did. While the cricketers kept me engaged during the course of the match, I waited eagerly for the Times of India which would get delivered the next morning to my home. I read the report and analysis, language of which would go over the head of a six-year old.

However, the numbers in a small stats box would hooked on. It was easier to read and comprehend. I liked numbers and I liked cricket. It was my weapon to show-off during cricket conversations with friends, each of whom had an opinion about the game. Under those little numbers was a constant name – Anant Gaundalkar.

I didn’t know anything about him — not his life, his career or for how long he has been working as a cricket statistician But, his numbers were as responsible for making cricket fascinating to me as the cricketers playing the game. For years, I hadn’t heard about Mohandas Menon or the late Anandji Dossa. He may not have been a bigger name than the two iconic names, but he was my earliest education in cricket statistics.

As I grew older, I learnt my numbers through various sources. I didn’t come across his name for quite some time. But the name of Anant Gaundalkar was forever imprinted in my mind.

Today, I saw his photo for the first time. He passed away at the age 59 after suffering a stroke last year which left him unconscious till the very end of his life. Today, when a big part of my cricket education is taken away, it doesn’t feel as if he was just about ‘numbers’. He was a teacher I hadn’t seen and I was a student he didn’t know. He was the Dronacharya of my life; I the Ekalayva. Rest in Peace, Sir.

 

(Aayush Puthran is currently a reporter with India.com. He has previously worked as a cricket journalist with CricketCountry and as an Associate Producer with Sony Six. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)

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