It’s all about cricket
Indian Link’s Ritam Mitra wins a Cricket Victoria media award
Ritam Mitra’s lifelong association with all aspects and formats of cricket spans myriad avatars – fan, player, umpire, analyst, coach, critic and commentator.
The young corporate lawyer has additionally established himself as a sports journalist, winning both admiration and accolades time and again for emphatically voicing his opinions on the worldwide state of the game.
Named NSW Young Journalist 2014 (Multicultural Media Awards) for his substantial body of work, Ritam has recently bagged a Cricket Victoria media award for the Most Outstanding Feature Story, interview, news report or article relating to metropolitan cricket in Victoria.
The piece, entitled ‘All abilities welcome’, reported on Yarraville Cricket Club’s ground breaking efforts to make sport accessible to people from all walks of life.
Presented at the Cricket Victoria State Awards in Melbourne in early April, Ritam won a cash prize and accolades.
“From grassroots to Victoria’s flagship teams, the game has continued to flourish and received tremendous coverage in the media. The annual Cricket Victoria media awards celebrate and acknowledge those who helped bring the sport to the public,” CV Chairman Russell Thomas said on the occasion.
“Cricket and writing are my two greatest passions,” Ritam confessed. “I still pinch myself every day that I get to combine the two, and have the opportunity to meet the incredible people that I do. I never miss an opportunity to write, particularly if there is a cricket connection.”
“While it’s great to write about the Kohlis and the Tendulkars of the world, that’s done to death at times – and more often than not, it’s the untold stories closer to home which tend to be more powerful and resonate more significantly with a reader,” he admitted.
“Cricket is unique. Unlike other sports, it lasts the whole day, and it’s incredibly character-building – if you’re having a bad day, you can’t disappear to the change rooms in an hour – you’ve got to stick it out all day. Not only is there a greater scope for highs and lows, but the highs and lows last longer,” he added. “And that’s why Melbourne’s first all abilities cricket association is such a great initiative – it allows individuals with social disabilities to be exposed to the intricacies of cricket, experiences which no other sport can offer. Yarraville Club Cricket Club in particular has a family-oriented culture, and that’s a testament to the hard work of the coach Hussain Hanif, as much as it is to the players themselves.”
The story of YCCC’s Alexander Skinner, who despite being severely autistic, plays mainstream as well as all abilities cricket, particularly inspired Ritam.
“Alex himself can scarcely believe the heights he has reached today. Severely bullied, never picked for school sporting teams and even once thought of as too unsocial to play by those close to him, Alex is now playing in the first division of the Eastern Cricket Association, playing alongside a former international cricketer and keeping wickets to bowlers bowling in excess of 135km/h. It is a remarkable journey. It is stories like Alex’s that move and amaze me,” Ritam added.
Writing prolifically and persuasively for Indian Link across a range of issues, Ritam’s earliest pieces were on youth affairs. He quickly diversified his portfolio to include politics, science, technology, media, government policy and assimilation.
Indian Link editor Rajni Anand Luthra was thrilled to hear the news of Ritam’s latest award.
“Heartiest congratulations to him on behalf of the entire Indian Link family,” she said.
“Ritam’s well-informed writing demonstrates his uncanny ability to sift through the facts and hone in on the nitty gritty, which he probably picked up from the great cricket writer Peter Roebuck who mentored him in the year he passed away,” she observed.
“Ritam’s considered pieces on the gender imbalance and an underlying culture of sexism in sports and media, why the booing of former Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes was a clear manifestation of racism, and on the dipping morals in the Indian Premier League, all show not only an understanding of the issues well beyond his years, but also an exceptionally skilful way with words,” she added.
Waxing eloquent on cricket, Ritam wrote in the award winning piece: Despite its many evolutions, at the core of the game, its beauty remains its inherent ability to transcend. In addition to rising above mere statistics, as noted by Cardus, it has transcended race, politics, age, gender and time. Given its long and storied history, it was not until relatively recently that administrators of the game began formalising avenues through which cricket could transcend disability – the delay perhaps a fitting example of the many ways in which cricket allegorises society itself.
Ritam is not merely cricket’s most ardent spokesman and flag bearer, he consistently champions the larger cause of all abilities.
Read Ritam’s award-winning article HERE