Twenty-five years of ESPNcricinfo

A timeline of the site's evolution from a scores newsgroup to the home of cricket online

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mick Jagger (right) helped bring live audio commentary to Cricinfo in 1998 © PA Photos


January 2
A group of expat cricket enthusiasts based in US universities sets up, a moderated newsgroup, to enable online access of scores, and results. The group, led by, among others, Professor KS Rao, sees a surge in membership before and during the World Cup in Australia.


The BBC's commentary of England's tours of India and Sri Lanka is "narrowcast" from England to the USA. Using software that, once connected to a radio/Walkman, allows for real-time transmission of audio over the internet, volunteers transcribe score updates of the England v India Test matches onto the IRC channel #cricket.

March 15
Simon King - user name "coolpom" - launches a bot named Cricinfo on the IRC channel #cricket, where visitors can access a score update on request.

Within a couple of months of the launch, Cricinfo moves onto Gopher, a precursor of the early web browsers. The Cricinfo database is available on the World Wide Web, having moved from King's computer to Prof Rao's at the University of North Dakota, and then to a server at the Oregon Graduate Institute provided by Etienne Barnard, a research professor. A gopher client allows visitors to access scorecards and reports compiled by contributors.


Cricinfo offers the ICC a free hosting service. Cricket boards around the world, realising the potential of Cricinfo's volunteer-based service, seek tie-ups for hosting their respective websites on Cricinfo.

Cricinfo provides live match coverage of Australia's tour to Pakistan, including the thrilling first Test where Pakistan sneaks to a one-wicket win in Karachi.


Cricinfo's archive of Test-match scorecards is completed, thanks to Travis Basevi and Vishal Misra, two cricket fans and programmers based in Sydney and Massachusetts respectively.

Cricinfo becomes a "website" - - with a homepage, a logo, and a basic interface. By the end of the year it will have recorded 3.5 million page views, reaching 80 different countries across 16 time zones.

Early avatars of the site: (clockwise from top left) 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

An early mobile editions is launched, keeping Cricinfo a step or two ahead of the times.


Cricinfo's live ball-by-ball coverage of the 1996 World Cup is the first such coverage on the internet of a major cricket tournament staged simultaneously in more than one country.

Cricinfo goes commercial, becomes (and a company, Cricinfo Ltd). The site hosts its first online interview, with Mohammad Azharuddin, and provides live coverage of matches in Sharjah.

Cricinfo agrees to host Zimbabwe Cricket's website in an effort to boost cricket in that country.


Cricinfo inks its first major revenue deal, worth £15,000, with Cable and Wireless of the UK. Later in the year, Titan Watches becomes the first Indian brand to advertise on the site, followed by Kingfisher and Intel.

Cricinfo sends King and Basevi to the ICC Mini World Cup in Malaysia to handle ball-by-ball coverage. They organise scorers, computers and phone lines almost overnight to ensure that the tournament is covered properly.

King gets a call from the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, asking for live coverage of an ODI tournament featuring England in Sharjah. Cricinfo ties up with Jagger's company Jagged Internetworks, buys TV rights and broadcasts that tournament and a few others. The coverage is live audio commentary, accompanied by a slideshow of images from the matches (one frame every five seconds).


Cricinfo sets up its India office and gets an investor in Pangolin (which goes on to be better known as Sportal during the dotcom boom years at the turn of the century).

While Cricinfo is not "official" for the World Cup in England, the site, for the first time, features extensive advertising sales.

Ramesh Kumar, who has been with Cricinfo since 2000, is head of ESPN India and South Asia © Getty Images


Cricinfo gives the Zimbabwe cricket board £80,000, doubling the country's annual cricket-development budget.

Satyam Infoway, India's first software firm listed on NASDAQ, acquires a 25% stake in Cricinfo for US$37 million - placing the valuation of the site at $150 million.

Cricinfo sponsors the Women's World Cup. Matches are streamed live, creating tremendous interest in the event.

Statsguru is launched. One of the most popular features on the site since then, the dedicated database-query tool gives readers free access to all sorts of statistics related to players and teams.

Cricinfo launches an audio commentary service, which features the likes of Tony Cozier, Colin Croft and Neil Foster. Later in the year it also streams live audio coverage of the matches played in the ICC Knock-out tournament in Kenya.

The site exceeds 100 million page views in a single month for the first time.


Cricinfo sponsors the County Championship in the UK and, later that year, the women's Ashes series - branded the Cricinfo Series.


Cricinfo is bought by the Wisden Group during the 2003 World Cup, with Sambit Bal taking over as editor. The website is redesigned.

The 2000 Women's World Cup, won by New Zealand, was sponsored by Cricinfo Scott Barbour / © Getty Images


The site begins using Feedback, a new scoring platform with a richer data-capturing mechanism that enables graphic representations of the on-field action and more comprehensive ball-by-ball data.

Blogs are launched on the site, beginning with The Surfer, an aggregator linking to the "best of the web".


Cricinfo Mobile gets off the ground. The service includes Cricinfo Genie, which delivers live ball-by-ball simulations of games, and 3D, live three-dimensional animation.

A full-fledged audio service, featuring experts including Ian Chappell, Tony Greig, Sanjay Manjrekar and Kumar Sangakkara to provide pre- and post-match previews and comments via streaming, downloads and podcasts.


ESPN buys Cricinfo from Wisden for an undisclosed sum. The website is renamed ESPNcricinfo.


The ESPNcricinfo Awards, which honour the best performances in cricket for the preceding calendar year, are given out for the first time.

Page 2 - a humour and satire section - is launched, in time for the first year of the Indian Premier League, and so is Chatterbox, an interactive match-time chat between readers and the site's writers.

Rahul Dravid , with editor-in-chief Sambit Bal and Sanjay Manjrekar at the launch of Timeless Steel, ESPNcricinfo's anthology on Dravid © Getty Images


The website is comprehensively redesigned, with larger pictures, a clearly defined main engagement area on the homepage, and new content modules.


The World Cup breaks several traffic records for the site. ESPNcricinfo launches a special microsite for the tournament, and a section on travel. The site records 6.5 million unique users for the India-Pakistan semi-final. ESPNcricinfo's chronicle of the tournament, a book titled Sealed With A Six, is published to critical and commercial acclaim.


ESPNcricinfo launches apps for the iPad and mobile. A book compiling content from the site on Rahul Dravid, who has retired recently, is released.


The site launches new ventures in social and interactive media. A fan-engagement section, The Stands, is launched; also, a social-media scorecard, Match Companion; and the Cordon, a blogs showcase. The third ESPNcricinfo book, Talking Cricket, a collection of interviews with current and former players, is published.

The iPhone app is relaunched - bringing the user experience much more in line with that on the web.

The first livestream show for the site, Match Point, later renamed Match Day, goes on air. It offers pre- and post-game analysis and commentary by in-studio experts such as Rahul Dravid, Ian Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar, Martin Crowe and Daryll Cullinan.

Virender Sehwag receives the 2009 ESPNcricinfo award for best Test batting performance of the year, for his 293 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai © AFP


ESPNcricinfo's features offering expands with the introduction of The Cricket Monthly, a site primarily for longform feature writing.


The 2015 World Cup is the most successful tournament in the history of ESPNcricinfo, with an average of 5.8 million unique visitors per day. It is the highest-trafficked 44 consecutive days the site has ever experienced. Throughout the tournament, ESPNcricinfo's digital properties total 4.2 billion minutes and 2.3 billion page views. March 26, the day of the Australia v India semi-final, is the best day ever across ESPNcricinfo's digital properties, with 13 million unique visitors.

Insights, a platform that provides users with the ability to access statistical cricket data in the form of charts and graphs, is launched.


ESPN, whose long-standing partnership with Star India ended in 2012, returns to television screens across India after signing a deal with Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd. A multisport website,, is launched; its cricket vertical is powered by ESPNcricinfo.


ESPNcricinfo goes through its third major redesign, this time with a mobile-first focus, which brings it in line with other ESPN properties around the world. The speed of access to live scores across platforms is enhanced, and the apps feature a range of personalisation choices.