Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo @sambitbal
The language of sport is universal: it can be felt without being spoken. But words have always brought more joy. They paint imagery, help us relive the experience, enhance our comprehension, deepen our memory, and immortalise moments, games and players for generations to come.
Or, as it is in the case of our ball-by-ball commentary, they immerse us in the live experience when we can't watch it. When Cricinfo was born, way back in 1994, before anyone had heard of a browser, let alone a smartphone or social media, it was the lifeline for fans without access to live broadcast. Even in the age of instant access to everything, it remains an essential companion on the go, even while watching the game. Imagine one more pair of eyes watching with you - or for you.
The founding principle of this site - to take cricket as far and as wide as possible - still runs in its veins, and it is with a sense of fulfilment that we bring to our first ball-ball-commentary service in Hindi, which begins today. Admittedly, it has taken us longer than imagined, but we have taken no short-cuts.
Technology makes it possible today to get descriptions from raw data or to create instant translation. But that would never have felt right. Communication is a deeply personal experience: it requires individuality, personality, quirks and human imperfection. Ball-by-ball commentary is the heartbeat of our site, it needs flesh and blood. Over the years, you have related to our commentators, bantered with them, sent them your affection and cursed them too. It's a ride, and it's very human.
So we now have a team that will bring Hindi commentary to you, with all the flavours that the language merits and you deserve. We have spent the last few weeks discussing tone and temper and words and idioms, and we have been energised by the new flush of enthusiasm in our commentary team. But now we will let their natural impulse and instinct take over. Engage with them, let them know what you like and what you don't and we will learn together. And, while at it, you can follow ESPNcricinfo Hindi on Facebook and on Twitter.
And this is merely the beginning. Hindi videos are already part of our site. Here's the Hindi preview to tonight's match. And through this IPL, and beyond, we will bring you more. Sample Mano ya na Mano, a series on scarcely believable factoids, and Hum Tum Aur Cricket, a morning-after banter show featuring a real-life cricket couple you might have encountered elsewhere. And there will of course be news and features, and a homepage. And more languages too.
For now, though, let's savour this moment together. We have nurtured it for a while, and we continue to look after it, but only you can make it worth the effort.