Cricket's early amateur spirit was reflected in ESPNcricinfo's early avatar too, though not in the sense of the privileged upper classes enjoying a rural pastime. This was to do with cricket-starved students, mostly in American universities, but also in the UK and Australia, desperate for scores of matches being played halfway across the world, who used Internet Relay Chat to post and search for updates. After Simon King, a student at the University of Minnesota in the early 1990s who was the first among the early scoring volunteers to realise the value of having automated updates, developed the CricInfo bot that would send users a private message every time they asked for score info, several people in various universities volunteered to keep the scorecards updated, later taking the time to add old scorecards, match reports and Laws to Cricinfo's database.
The longest-running regular column on the site, Ask Steven is an enduringly popular weekly q&a in which Steven Lynch, one-time editor of the site (and announcer at Lord's before that, among other things) answers all manner of reader questions - mostly to do with things statistical and trivia-related. In its ten-plus year run, Ask Steven has been interrogated on such topics as "How many times has a team played an unchanged XI through a five-Test series?" and "When were both of Australia's Test openers from Wagga Wagga?" The more notable questioners have included a policeman trying to verify the alibi of someone who was supposed to have been watching Allan Lamb in a Test match at the time of a crime, and the cricketer Riki Wessels, asking about a record featuring his father. The column is due to hit its 500th installment early in 2014.
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