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Vale Vinay Verma: a titan among cricket writers

Expert
7th March, 2011
120
4668 Reads

Vinay VermaThe passing away of a dear friend is always sad. But when you share with him a passion, it is tragic. Dear Roarers, you all read and commented on Vinay Verma’s columns in The Roar. Sadly his live blog on the Australia vs Sri Lanka match last week will remain his last.

Vinay passed away on Sunday night when watching a World Cup match on TV. He had a heart attack and the end was peaceful.

We spent many, many hours discussing the game seriously, but with a lot of fun.

He called me Nostradamus after I had predicted in the SCG Press Box in 2006 that Ricky Ponting will score centuries in both innings in his 100th Test.

I called him Cardus because his poetic elegant style reminded me of Neville Cardus. I admired his original metaphors and called them “Vinayisms”.

Vinay’s command of the English language, his knowledge of the finer points of cricket, and technical expertise would have made him an exceptionally good cricket commentator on radio or television.

I had frequently urged him to push ahead with it because of his fluency and clarity in speaking and, of course, his immense knowledge, but it was not to be.

Previously, we had met frequently at matches at the SCG and became close friends during the 2009 Women’s World Cup at North Sydney Oval.

But it was The Roar which brought us really close. We would discuss cricket endlessly over the phone and via email. He wrote prolifically and with passion.

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He lamented the fall of Australian Test cricket from No. 1 to the No. 5 position and wanted Cricket Australia to think more of Sheffield Shield and Test cricket and less of earning dollars with meaningless matches.

At times he was critical, but his criticism was constructive.

Some of his Roar columns should be bound together in a book form as he made a lot of sense.

He did not restrict writing for The Roar only, where he penned thought-provoking articles on cricket, hockey, golf and rugby.

His intimate interviews with Kevin Pietersen, Virender Sehwag, Wasim Akram and Sunil Gavaskar appeared in mainstream publications like The Advertiser (Adelaide), Inside Cricket, Inside Sport, Onlooker and India Today, among other international magazines.

He wrote a biography on Kapil Dev in 1980s and a volume on poetry. His second volume of poems should be out this month.

From 1970s to 90s he had played representative cricket with Roseville Cricket Club as an off-spinner. To bowl 30 overs a day was routine for him.

Vinay will be remembered for his magnificently edited on-line monthly magazine “Seriously Cricket Chronicles” (2009 till now), with contributions from eminent writers Mike Coward, Gideon Haigh and Ayaz Memon.

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This was cricket writing at its best.

To quote Sheek from The Roar: “Vinay touched my life so briefly and yet so deeply. I knew him personally for less than a year, but it could easily have been a lifetime.”

Sheek and I had met him only last Thursday at the Australian Cricket Society meeting and later we had discussions on ways to improve Australian cricket.

We had no idea this would be our last time together.

After playing a Legends match at Roseville Cricket Club on Sunday, he was watching the England against South Africa match on TV when he suddenly died of heart attack.

What a way to go, Vinay, watching cricket!

You had reached the acme of your writing career this year. I will miss you my friend and our long telephonic cricket discussions.

Vinay is survived by wife Patricia, son Paul (a noted musician), and daughter Laura.

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May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Read Vinay Verma’s cricket columns for The Roar