Senior Editor at ESPNcricinfo Sharda Ugra and the newest Emerging Leader Fellow at the A.I.I, says future Australian cricket teams could reflect wider changes in Aussie multiculturalism.
Ugra, who has worked as a sports journalist for the last 22 years, is spending two months in Melbourne, researching links between the changing demographics in Australia’s South Asian community and the influence this will have on the Australian cricket team in the future.
Hailing from cricket-mad India, Ugra spent her childhood surrounded by the sport, often playing it with neighbourhood kids in her native Mumbai.
Starting her journalism career at Midday, a city tabloid in Mumbai, she developed a strong passion for sports journalism, with a special interest in cricket.
At this point in her career it’s not large scores or thrilling matches that interest her.
Rather, what really gets her going is the ripple effect of the sport and the wider influence it has in the societies in which it is played.
Using her own life as an example, she credits her interest in the sport for her full travel diary, following the Indian cricket team as a reporter to Australia, Bangladesh, Dubai, England, the West Indies, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
A brief stint with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as an Indian stringer in the early 90s led to an affinity with Australia, the first country she visited away from Indian soil.
Reflecting on her previous trips to Australia, and Melbourne in particular, she’s taken by “the vibrancy of the streets” and the obvious multiculturalism of the city.
During her time in Melbourne she hopes to hit the art scene and travel along Victoria’s coast to the Great Ocean Road and surrounding areas. but most importantly, she hopes to make it to a footy match.