Passion for numbers

VIVEK BENDRE

It is 20 years now since Marion Collin has been scoring and compiling statistics. By G. Viswanath.

One could not miss her, sitting in the second floor balcony of the Cricket Club of India, with her spectacles and a prominent floppy hat, and keying in the details of the matches played at the Brabourne Stadium during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 recently.

Marion Rosemary Collin is one of a kind. In a way, she is justified in saying that if it were not for her passion for numbers, women’s cricket and love of the game, there would not have been a proper record of international women’s cricket and the details of matches played in about 50 countries in the world. “This is my second visit to India and Mumbai. I live in Juhu with Mark Ashman, the Director of Hypercity (a super store). Mark was my neighbour in Surrey and he was the Director of Marks and Spencer. His wife likes Mumbai and the couple have been living here for five and half years,” said Marion.

Marion, now 69, was a ‘batsman’ (she prefers it this way; not batswoman or batter) and medium-pace bowler for Redoubtables, one of the oldest women’s cricket clubs in the world that was founded in 1921 in Wallington, Surrey. She also played for Surrey in the County Championship and was active for 36 years, from 1961 to 1997.

When she was young, Marion and the late Bill Frindall, England’s most famous scorer and statistician, lived in the same county. Later, they pursued their passion of scoring and maintaining statistics. While Frindall was recognised as a historian, Marion remained unknown. However, thanks to a printer-turned-photographer named Don Miles, who is now the Chairman and selector of Sussex women’s cricket, things turned around for Marion. Miles launched the first women’s cricket website — www.womenscricket.net — in 1993 and Marion’s work found an appropriate digital platform.

It is 20 years now since Marion has been scoring and compiling statistics. She worked for the Women’s Cricket Association, England, and is now the Hon. Statistician of the International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). A glandular fever forced Marion to give up playing cricket, and after retiring as a Financial Administrator with a local government agency in London, she began to concentrate on compiling statistics.

To start with, she used to write down the score-sheets and statistics before putting it all (official internationals played from 1934) in digital form. “It took four years of computer work. I have the score-sheets of all matches played so far. I have seen 8-ball over matches played by women on a tour of Australia and New Zealand and the 50- and 60-overs-a-side cricket. Most of the matches have been on turf, except probably in the Netherlands, which was an early participant in women’s cricket,” she said.