Cricinfo’s Minnesota Roots

Short post tonight, but if you have not done so already, be sure to listen to (or read) The Cricket Couch‘s fascinating interview with Rohan Chandran, one of the founding members of Cricinfo.

I found the interview especially interesting because I learned that Cricinfo has very strong and clear Minnesota roots. Back in early 1993, when the site was not a website at all but a glorified Internet Relay Chat (IRC), University of Minnesota students Neeran Karnik and Simon King were integral members of the core group of amateur coders, mechanical engineers, and just general cricket nuts throughout the world who used IRC as a way to “broadcast” cricket scores to fans around the globe via the Internet – and their work eventually morphed into the Cricinfo website we all know today.

In fact, many Internet and cricket historians credit Simon King as the true “founder” of the site for his development of the #Cricinfo IRC bot in the spring of 1993. 

And finally, one very key moment in Cricinfo’s development was its move from IRC to Gopher – one of the very first web browsers – which was of course invented by a team from the UofM. And Chandran gives clear credit to Neeran Karnik for setting the site up on Gopher.

I urge you to go listen to the podcast or read the transcript – it is really fascinating stuff.

For more on Simon King, I recommend Cricinfo’s 20th anniversary timeline.

And finally, cheers, as always, to The Cricket Couch for always providing us with such amazing content.

**

Update: More great information from Rohan Chandran’s blog. Also both Chandran and Neeran Karnik are on Twitter.

Remarkably, despite the fact that both Karnik and King were at the University of Minnesota at the same time, the two never met in person.

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Update #2: Be sure to check out Neeran’s comment below for even more of the Cricinfo backstory.

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3 Responses to Cricinfo’s Minnesota Roots

  1. Nice write-up, Matt. Yes, CricInfo is very much Minnesotan by birth! Simon King set up the IRC bot first on his account at the UofM, and CricInfo really took off when we put up the gopher interface. As you mention, gopher was developed by the IT staff at the UofM, even before the httpd/WWW revolution. A couple of my blog posts on those days, which you might like to read:

    http://cricket-stalker.blogspot.in/2008/06/cricket-in-desert.html
    http://cricket-stalker.blogspot.in/2008/06/cricinfo-early-history.html

    As you’ll see in one of those posts, actually Simon King and I did meet — once! — on campus, but the myth that’s propagating these days is a nicer story 🙂

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