The Goa Cricket Association (GCA) senior team is yet to develop itself to match the distinction of the Ranji Trophy. But, that has not stopped others who have a passion for the game to show that there is much more to cricket than being part of the playing eleven. Two such individuals are Rohit Naik and Atmaram Arolkar.
Rohit and Atmaram are two scorers from Goa with BCCI and are seen either at the GCA Academy ground in Porvorim or Sanguem, keeping details of every ball bowled in all tournaments organised by BCCI. If not, they travel around the country on assignment.
“I think we can call it a passion for the game. I played cricket as a youngster but knew I would never make it big. Yet, there was this craze in me for the game which wanted me to be associated with it in any form, and I took the chance of being a scorer when I was eighteen,” admits Rohit at the end of the Ranji tie between Goa and Karnataka.
Rohit passed his BCCI scorers exam in 2012 in Nagpur, passed the online test four years later and is now a full-time scorer with BCCI. “I have been a scorer for BCCI during the pandemic and now look at keeping scores for BCCI as my profession. There are times when I have to be away from home for twenty days or more, but I don’t see it as a problem,” believes Rohit, who is now thirty.
“I have made mistakes when scoring. But, isn’t making mistakes human?” he asks. “Two scorers normally cover a match, and we have a system where we tally the scores with each other every five overs. So the question of mistakes getting through does not arise,” believes Atmaram, who like Rohit thinks it is his passion for cricket that made him decide to keep the books for BCCI.
“I went to become an umpire. I passed the orals but could not make it through the practical. At that time, one could not repeat the test if one had crossed forty years, and I had. So, I decided to shift to keeping scores,” professes Atmaram, who is a laboratory technician by profession.
“We have people who come and try to make conversation with us when we are at work. Most of the time, people think we are listening to what they are saying, but our attention is on the field. Every ball is crucial. With experience, we have learnt how not to offend visitors while keeping our focus on the game,” says Atmaram, who owes a lot of his success to his younger colleague Rohit.
“There are around one hundred and fifty scorers on the BCCI roster, and assignments are communicated electronically to all. There are times when we have to go out of Goa. We travel by two-tier AC train and are put up in five-star hotels with the teams. It is nice when we are together with scorers from different parts of the country as it helps us learn about other people,” avers Rohit with his simple, unassuming smile.
“When I started keeping scores at the Panjim Gymkhana when I was eighteen, I didn’t know the direction I would be taking. I even worked for GCA as an office assistant, because I knew one thing, I wanted to work where cricket would be involved, and I was lucky to get the chance to do the scorer’s course and pass the test,” admits Rohit.
Unlike Rohit, keeping scores for Atmaram is not a full-time profession but an opportunity to be where he can get the best view of the game. “Being an umpire and being a scorer is different. The experience of umpiring is weird. But since I could not make it through, I think being a scorer is the second best option,” admits Atmaram.
“Keeping scores online and maintaining scores manually are pretty different. Maintaining scores online is far better and easier than doing it manually. Yet, one has to keep scores in both formats to be prepared for the failure of electricity or internet connectivity. We have to be ready for any eventualities,” claims Rohit, as he inputs the day’s results on his iPad.
“It is the obligation of the association where we are going to keep scores to provide us with an iPad. We used to first utilise laptops. Now we are using iPads, and I am not sure what we will asked to use next. BCCI keeps updating us with the latest technology, and that is why we have a course every year before the start of the season,” admits Rohit.
“I feel relaxed whilst keeping scores. It lets me see good cricketers playing up close, gives me a chance to see some great games, interact with former international stars of India and take home a decent pay packet. This is my concept of happiness,” explains Rohit, as he prepares to leave for another state to keep score for BCCI in another first-class match.
For these two scorers from Goa, keeping scores is like having the good things in life within reach.