She still does the old-fashioned way of scoring events in a cricket manually with black and blue ink and other colours to distinguish happenings in a match, but Pandalam-born Blessy Rivin says she is technology savvy and quite adept in digital methods. Soon to turn 35, Blessy could be the only woman scorer in cricket in the Arab world.
After taking the plunge in the unknown world of scoring by accident eleven years ago in Singapore, Blessy has come a long way. Out of curiosity, the likes of Mahela Jayawardane, Brett Lee and Brian Lara have spent time with her and expressed happiness that a lady is scoring in a cricket match in these parts. “I want to become an ICC empaneled scorer, I want to be an official scorer of the ICC and the BCCI. I am not scoring for money, but to enjoy a cricket match,’’ said Blessy after scoring in the India – Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 Super 12 match at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
There are a number of women scorers in India and elsewhere in the world, and Blessy, mother of two children – son and daughter — wants to join this small, but Elite group, but gaining in numbers by the day. Her only interest in the game in school days was watching India – Pakistan matches on television. She went to the Nair Service Society (NSS) school in Pandalam, and then to Tiruchiunapalli where she pursued a three-year Computer course to obtain a BSc degree. She also picked up Tamil here. Then she went to Bangalore for a further two-year computer course.
"I did not know anything in cricket. But I got married in 2011 and relocated to Singapore. My husband — Rivin Varghese from Alappuzha — has played cricket at junior and district level, and in Singapore he played for the Singapore Airlines team. They were playing a match and the team’s home scorer did not come and the manager of the team, Manoj Patel, a pilot, asked me if I would score. I agreed. He briefed me on some important aspects of scoring. That was the beginning," said Blessy.
It so happened that Rivin relocated to Mumbai in 2013 after joining Emirates and lived in Vasai, a distant suburb. “My cricket scoring activity came to a stop, but in 2015, Rivin (an aircraft engineer) moved to Abu Dhabi, after joining Etihad Airways. Rivin asked me to look up to google to brush up my knowledge of the game. But it was in Singapore I had passed a certificate course in scoring conducted by the Singapore Cricket Association. They appointed me for their domestic matches. I did some minor mistakes. From the next match I was sitting with the official scorer. He told me to observe and cleared the doubts that I had. I got the big break during the women’s under-19 World Cup. “
Blessy’s husband began playing for a club in Abu Dhabi and her interest in scoring was revived. "Their manager introduced me to the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC). I started scoring in the domestic matches conducted by the ADCC, including in the Sandy matches, Ramadan Cup and the Corporate matches. They have matches every weekend, except three months in the summer. In 2018 I did the scoring in the Asia Cup for the electronic score board on the ground. I have also scored in the Abu Dhabi T10. This is my first ICC World Cup in the press box," said a happy looking Blessy.
During the official matches of the ADCC, she gets to read the Laws of the Game. She has done many matches, but has not kept a count of them. "It Rivin’s passion for cricket that has encouraged me to take up scoring and continue. He dreamed of playing the game, and he is very happy that I am into cricket scoring. I have done scoring only in Abu Dhabi and not in Dubai and Sharjah," said Blessy, looking forward to her visit to Pandalam next month to see her father AD Babu, and her brother’s family. "I have not seen my dad for one year because of the pandemic."