‘Every generation needs its writers to tell its stories’

81 All Out  > Conversation, Listen >  ‘Every generation needs its writers to tell its stories’

In this special episode, we chat with veteran sports writer Sharda Ugra.

From interviewing star cricketers as a college student… to blazing a trail as a sports journalist in the early ’90s… to writing on a variety of sports for The Hindu… to being the chief sports writer at India Today… to presently working as a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo… Sharda has been an inspiration for a number of sports writers around the world.

We chat with Sharda about her illustrious career – and are riveted by her range of experiences as well as her inexhaustible bank of anecdotes.

Talking Points:

  • The magazines that hooked her on to sports
  • The interviews she and her college buddies did with the stars of the 1980s
  • Memories of Imran Khan
  • Landing her first job
  • Finding Sachin Tendulkar’s number
  • Covering sailing
  • Watching Kenya’s biggest cricketing moment
  • The match-fixing shock
  • The fall of Hansie Cronje
  • The Azharuddin she interviewed
  • Authoring a book with John Wright
  • The Ganguly era
  • Player access and the importance of stories
  • Women’s cricket through the years
  • And much, much more


Sharda Ugra

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

Ashoka (@ABVan)


The stolid buccaneer – Sharda Ugra on Mark Taylor

Hansie-gate – Sharda Ugra’s piece on the King Commission hearings

What makes sportsmen go corrupt

Manoj Prabhakar? Love? – on a cricketer Sharda Ugra hated to love

All Indian cricketers should write books like this – Sharda Ugra reviews Sanjay Manjrekar’s book

Girls aloud – Sharda Ugra on how TV is redefining TV commentary

Couchtalk with Sharda Ugra – interview with Subash Jayaraman

This is personal – Sharda Ugra’s letter to Mumbai post 26/11

John Wright’s Indian Summers – book co-written with Sharda Ugra

Test of my life – Yuvraj Singh’s book (co-written with Sharda Ugra and Nishant Jeet Arora)


Errata: It was Graeme Smith, and not Hansie Cronje, who said that he was ready to give up his youth to captain South Africa. We apologize for the error. 

6 thoughts on “‘Every generation needs its writers to tell its stories’”

  1. Super episode…Sharda was amazing as expected!”Better I tell you the time and not you” – as Viv as Viv can be! Also, Javed Miandad guiding three “random” interviewers to Imran was hilarious.

    PS 1: I bought Sportstar precisely for the posters.

    PS 2: Loved the “badass” trio of Shazia, Ramola and Sharda.

    Fan request: Get Harsha next, please.

  2. Brilliant episode, yet again! It has the word AUKAAT all over it 🙂

    We all should be grateful to Mr Raju Mahanta for lending those Sportstars 🙂

    I loved most parts especially the ones every one is loving (interview sequence with Imran and Richards). I think one can listen to them multiple times, it’s so much fun.

    The one about sailing is fun (I loved how she cross questions ABVan there). Reminded me of schooldays when that teacher used to reply with a question 🙂

    The one about Hansie was heartbreaking; I never realized I didn’t read anything about him (or avoided) post 2000. That was such a shocker. And one could feel the pain in her voice too :-/

    P.S: She’s doing a great job by avoiding the social media. It’s a poison, slow poison, but poison alright.

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