THE TRENDSETTER, With his vast cricketing experience, he is one of the first to have started a live show on Facebook interviewing both indoor cricketers and outdoor cricketers, he is the Trendsetter Sharan Kumar
Sharan, Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Thank you for reaching out. I really like your daily posts – they are unique and remind people of historic achievements or quirky stats of this beautiful game.
You seem to be associated with many countries, are you one of those global citizens?
Haha – it’s funny how you frame it – but to answer your question, Yes. I am Indian origin but born and raised in the United Arab Emirates. I migrated to Australia and post becoming an Australian, I lived in the UK and now a permanent resident of Singapore.
Who do you support in cricket?
That’s a hard one! Growing up and until now I have always just wanted to watch good cricket. If you really want me to choose one, I had my best memories with the UAE, so will go with that.
Who influenced you to take up the sport?
My father – he coached me to bowl leg spin. In addition to that, every evening he would put on the 1981 Ashes (now referred to as the Botham’s Ashes) on repeat and to this day, I can explain each and every scene in that test series.
What are some of your best memories with your time with UAE Cricket?
Captaining the Under Age Levels was an absolute honour and something that I look back at very fondly. I also got to Captain the Asia U17 team for a game on a tour to Tamil Nadu, which was quite special. As UAE cricketers we also got the opportunity to bowl to International Teams coming to play at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and my best memory would be bowling in tandem with Shane Warne for an hour to Matthew Hayden.
Why did you leave the UAE
I had the opportunity to go to Australia where they offered me a year of free education with the optionality to continue, as part of my undergrad. With my upbringing and family circumstance at that point, it was like this gold mine opportunity that I could not say no to.
Did you get involved in the Australian cricket circuit at all?
During my time in Australia, education and work took priority but I played cricket over the weekends. During university, I played for the University of Southern Queensland and later, because of the nature of my job I kept moving and was part of a couple of reputable Grade clubs – Valleys District in Brisbane and Sturt District in Adelaide. The standard of cricket was just phenomenal.
How did you end up playing for Singapore?
In 2017 I saw an ad about representing Singapore in an Indoor Cricket World Cup in the UAE. One thing led to another and I got picked into the squad and I have been playing indoor cricket ever since. That World Cup was special because it took me back to the UAE, to a venue where I spent a lot of my childhood and played against some of my good mates who were representing UAE. The next year I made it to the Singapore Outdoor Squad which was a great feeling as well.
How did it feel playing competitive cricket again?
It’s funny you ask that – mid 2016, I lost my father and just a couple of months before he passed away, in a bed-ridden state he looked me in the eye , shed a tear and apologised for not being able to support me with my dreams of playing high level cricket. The very next year I made it into the Singapore Indoor and Outdoor team. I believe he made it happen for me – certainly felt special.
Do you still play?
Not the outdoor format, but I am heavily involved with indoor cricket. When I came back to play outdoor cricket in 2018, it was after a period of 6 years, where I had nothing to do with the game. I had to teach myself how to bowl leg spin again, manage a full time job and my new born – it was always going to be difficult sustaining that lifestyle for long.
You just started a podcast called “Cricket Journeys with Sharan” on facebook, what made you do it?
Being an associate nation cricketer for most of my life and then getting involved with Indoor Cricket, I have realised there is not enough recognition for people involved with cricket who have done some pretty amazing things. Inherently as an individual, I find happiness in making people feel special, and the people I have been chatting with are country representatives, just not known to many because of them not being in the top tier, and I feel their stories need to be told.
In one of my first few chats, a family member of the person I interviewed, sent me a text message thanking me for helping her understand her own family member’s journey better – that’s when I thought if I have that impact on someone who knows the interviewee, what about the people who don’t them. Every few weeks, I will also get some high profile names to keep things interesting, but this is all about the associate nation and indoor cricketers.
Isn’t it daunting presenting live to an audience every single time?
I have to credit my corporate career for this, with the amount of presentations we do, it has become second nature. In leg spin terms, I have bowled my 10,000 balls, if you are a spinner, you’ll understand the analogy.
Since you started this a lot of people have followed suit, would you like to think of yourself as a pioneer?
The more people that do this, the better. This only promotes the sport, the individual, creates awareness and we are all a more educated audience.
Sharan, thanks for the chat
My pleasure – thank you for having me.