Cricket Samrat was once a beloved source of information for cricket fans in India, delivering exclusive interviews and other features about the game in a time before cable television and internet brought the sport into the homes of millions.
Now, the magazine is done after more than 40 years.
As Mid-Day.com reported, the Hindi publication shut down this month. The report noted that the magazine launched in November 1978 and became a “super hit” with fans of the sport throughout India. While the exact reason Cricket Samrat closed down is not clear, some connected it to the COVID-19 crisis that is growing across India and had led a number of other news outlets to enact cutbacks.
As The News Minute reported, Indian media has been very hard hit by the crisis, causing a number of organizations to fire staffers, close down divisions, and extend unpaid leave to employees.
“Bennett Coleman’s The Times of India laid off its entire Sunday Magazine team — including nine employees from the Times of India, six of Times Life and three from Speaking Tree,” the April report noted. “NewsNation also laid off all 15 members of the English digital team, and according to Newslaundry, were not given notice of termination or allowed to serve their notice period.”
Sports publications across the globe have felt the same effects, with many furloughing reporters and scaling back operations as sports leagues have been put on indefinite hiatus. While some of these leagues are starting to slowly return, there is no clear path for when major cricket leagues and international matches will start again, hitting cricket journalism hard.
Many fans of Cricket Samrat have taken to social media to mourn the magazine’s closing, including Indian Express writer Daksh Panwar,who wrote about the magazine’s significance in a series of tweets on Tuesday, which can be viewed here.
Panwar noted that the magazine held a huge importance to fans in India’s Hindi heartland in the 1990s, a time before widespread cable television and internet. He wrote that Cricket Samrat “was like Cricinfo and Star Sports rolled into one.”
“There was no player worth following if he wasn’t profiled in the magazine,” Panwar wrote. “I remember reading about Atul Bedade’s sustained big-hitting prowess in domestic cricket in CS, and before long, he was in the Indian team.”
A piece of my childhood.
Sportstar was *the* sports magazine but it had to accommodate other sports every fortnight. Cricket Samrat had everything – detailed scorecards, analysis, features, and even playing tips. It was the Cricinfo of our times.
Thanks for all the fish, CS! pic.twitter.com/PxM1MZigSs
— Abhishek Baxi (@baxiabhishek) June 23, 2020
Others joined in sharing stories about the significance of Cricket Samrat, noting that at its peak, the magazine was a complete repository of information about the game.