He loves number-crunching and if it resonates with cricketing history, his day is made. Veteran cricket statistician H.R. Gopala Krishna is a regular at the media enclosures in the Chinnaswamy Stadium and a few other venues across the country. His obsession with the game’s records that range from the mundane to the stupendous can be extreme, but there is no mistaking his passion for a thankless job.
A long-time resident of Jayanagar 4th Block, 66-year old Gopala Krishna started out as a left-arm spinner in his youth before moving on to scoring and following statistics. “My captain at R.V. College of Engineering preferred to have me as a scorer instead of as a player,” Gopala Krishna says.
The metamorphosis towards being a statistician was triggered by a chance meeting with Raghunath Beerala, who was then playing for Karnataka.
“Raghu asked me about the number of runs he scored in the Ranji Trophy. I had no answer and he told me to follow statistics. From then on I kept a close watch,” Gopala Krishna recalls.
After his 34-year stint with Dena Bank, Gopala Krishna continued his tryst with statistics through Cricinfo and Yahoo, besides lending his inputs to All India Radio.
“I have been a statistician since 1974 and there have been many cherished moments. I remember telling Sunil Gavaskar about his 5000th Test run that was scored against Australia here during the 1979-80 series, and he wrote about it in a magazine. When I was with Cricinfo I discovered a record in which India had two successive 200-run partnerships for the first and second wickets during the match against South Africa at Chennai in 2008,” Gopala Krishna says.
As for motivation, he reveals: “I look at the ‘approaching milestones’ ahead of every game and that keeps me on my toes. For instance, Sachin Tendulkar needs another 40 runs to go past Jack Hobbs’ record of 3,636 runs, which is the highest tally by any batsman against Australia!”
And once the Indian Premier League commences, ‘HRG’, as he is known, will be ready with another statistical booklet.
His obsession with the game’s records that range from the mundane to the stupendous can be extreme