One of the problems with watching a live cricket match is the sheer number of hours you need to be glued to the TV screen. Even the shortest version of the game comfortably lasts more than four hours, whilst longer matches are spread out over a gruelling five days.
For cricket fanatics (and there’s a lot of them around the world), the sheer unpredictability of the game is what keeps them hooked. Matches can be won and lost during a particularly thrilling period of play. But, for a game that stretches on for so long, it can be easy to miss such moments if you step away from the screen for a while.
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And that’s the gap two techies and cricket aficionados from Pakistan are trying to fill. They created Cricingif, a site that allows cricket fans to watch instant video replays of the moments that matter most: zeroing in on the time a bowler delivers the ball and the ensuing shot. If there’s an important development, like a wicket or a boundary, it’ll also record the crowd’s reaction.
“The idea itself came about after Shahid Rasool, founder of Cricingif, was watching a cricket match and he had to attend to some urgent business for a few minutes. When he came back he saw he had missed a brilliant shot that everyone was talking about in the commentary. That’s when he realised that on-demand functionality is missing in cricket coverage,” explains Qasim Zafar, co-founder.
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Qasim was previously associated with taxi app startup Savaree which he helped build along with co-founder Madeeha Hassan. The startup, which was borne out of a social enterprise hackathon, puts on-demand taxis and private vehicles into an app, similar to Uber. However, he quit the venture a few months ago, citing differences over the direction it was taking.
Cricket is massive in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Not just in terms of fans — but as an industry too. Estimates suggest the Indian Premier League is alone worth over US$3 billion. If you factor in international cricket games, marquee tournaments like the World Cup, as well as the up-and-coming Pakistan Super League, this figure rises tremendously.
Qasim says the site covers all international cricket matches and records the entire game. The entrepreneurs have come up with what Qasim refers to as a “semi-automated” process, whereby a user indicates the part of the game that needs to be recorded, and the algorithm takes care of compression and uploading.
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Regular highlights are no longer than a few seconds each. But if there’s any meaningful interaction, then it stretches on to a maximum of 30. He explains they opted for GIFs – hence the “gif” in the startup’s name – as they’re “the most easily embedded content on the web.”
The startup is still in beta and hasn’t started making money yet, but Qasim claims they’ve managed to reach approximately 4 million video clip plays every month. The goal is to reach 10 million before advertisements start popping up on users’ screens.
He admits digital rights is still a concern, but says they’re working hard to secure licensing for all matches. So far they’ve locked in the Pakistan team and are in talks with several others.
“With so much content in media today, I feel there’s a shift towards on-demand availability and shareability. This is a natural evolution in the way sports should be covered,” adds Qasim.
This article originally appeared on Tech in Asia.
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