Yesterday I saw that Cricinfo is twenty years old. The website that every cricket follower knows and loves. That means it started in 1993. It is ancient in internet years. In 1993 I was still glued to the BBC’s coverage of cricket and completely ingnorant about the internet. The story of how Cricinfo started giving live commentary of matches during the 1996 World Cup is fascinating. (if you like cricket and geek out about the interwebs) How people in a cricket forum gave each other access to resources from all over the world just so people everywhere could get “live” updates of the games. It almost failed because too many people were logging on trying to find out the score.
I remember that world cup vividly. It was the first one Holland competed in. And to watch the games taking place in Pakistan and India My brother and I went to our best friends house who’s parents had a clandestine Sky subscription and kindly let us stay up late to hang in front of their TV. In the story about the beginning of live text coverage, the author tells about the first game that it actually worked. It was Australia vs Zimbabwe. I remember watching that and being happy to be able to watch it. These were two teams of which none was England. That was a first for me too.
It seems funny now because using the internet is so easy and common, It’s in my pocket all day long. What the beginning of Cricinfo tells me is that back then the internet was a nerd-only environment. You had to know how to code to use it. Descriptions of internet usage from when it first started really evokes images of wild west pioneers to me. It’s so far removed from how we use the internet today.
Back then people really were looking to connect to each other, you had to if you wanted to get anything out of it. It ment that you had to be kind to each other and be willing to help. That mindset of reciprocity has disappeared I think and is only now starting to make a comeback. We could all stand to be a bit more like the founders of Cricinfo.