Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Scoring cricket matches glues marital bond

AFP, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

Hakim Jariwala, right, and his wife, Nafisa, write down the scores in the third and final Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium in the Gulf emirate of Sharjah on Jan. 16 this year.

Photo: AFP

Hakim and Nafisa Jariwala may have discovered the secret to a happy marriage by scoring cricket matches in Sharjah and Dubai, home from home these days for Pakistan’s international program.

Hakim has now racked up more than 200 matches in Sharjah and Dubai, scoring for the world’s media at the press boxes at the two venues.

The couple, originally from Mumbai, run their own garment and toy business in the United Arab Emirates, but their shared passion is cricket and when Pakistan played Sri Lanka in a one-day match recently, it marked Hakim’s 225th game as a scorer.

He has since officiated at two more matches, concluding with the ongoing third and final Test between the two Asian nations.

“We enjoy scoring together,” 52-year-old Hakim said.

“It is our passion and a common interest, and supplementing each other in scoring strengthens our love bond as well,” he added.

Scoring, like umpiring, is an essential part of a cricket match and is as old as the game itself.

The scorers keep an account of the whole match, the runs scored, the balls bowled, wides, no-balls and the dismissals, and then preserve the score sheets with the organizers.

As the game evolved with colored clothing and white balls, scoring has been made easier through computers. In 1993, the Web site was launched and over a period of 20 years has revolutionized every aspect of scoring and statistics.

However, despite the march of technology, scoring books are still filled manually, using colored pens for different entries in batting and bowling.

England’s Bill Frindall led the way for all the scorers, having a significant contribution in a career spanning more than 30 years and 377 Test matches.

Wendy Wimbush was a common sight at Lord’s and other England grounds, as was India’s Abdul Rehman in Calcutta.

Pakistan had a famous scorer Mohammad Riaz, who was also a bus conductor, while Andrew Samson is one of South Africa’s top scorers and Charlie Watts became famous for his books in Australia.

The late Mohammad Ali Jaffri was the most popular scorer in the Gulf region, completing 200 one-day matches in 2009, and it was Jaffri who inspired Hakim.

“I learned scoring from Jaffri in the early ’80s,” Hakim said. “When one-day cricket was brought to Sharjah in the 1980s I was the deputy to Jaffri in most of the matches.”

“This could be two world records — 225 one-dayers [at Dec. 22 last year] and a unique wife-and-husband combination as scorers,” he said.

Compared to her husband, Nafisa is a newcomer who made her debut in Sharjah in the Dec. 22 one-dayer.

“I have been scoring, but made my entry at international level last week,” the veil-clad Nafisa said.

She claims they never fight, not even over her favorite player — Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi.

“I like Afridi as a player and Hakim doesn’t, but even that never becomes an issue between us,” she said.

Life has been busy for the couple, but they always take time out for scoring in cricket matches.

“Just like cricket players do, I will carry on as long as I am fit,” Hakim said.

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