Travis Basevi, the architect of StatsGuru and one of the pioneers of Cricinfo, has died

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Travis Basevi, the architect of ESPNcricinfo’s iconic StatsGuru search engine and one of the website’s most vital influences in the 1990s and early 2000s, has died aged 47 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Basevi was born in Geelong, Australia in March 1975, but it was while studying in Sydney as a teenager in the early 1990s that he first encountered the fledgling CricInfo, via the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) system that helped him get online. community of cricket fans before the dawn of the mainstream internet.

In line with many of the pioneers who helped fuel CricInfo’s sprawling database during those early formative years, Basevi was first drawn to the cricket chat, remained a volunteer to help create and complete dashboards, and eventually became one of its key pillars as the new website took advantage of the dotcom boom and bust around the turn of the millennium.

Basevi’s imprint is present in every facet of the website, from its original static dashboards – many of which still bear the caption “Thank you: Travis, Vishal” (Vishal Misra, his oldest colleague with whom he shared the nickname from “travishal” on IRC) – to ESPNcricinfo’s content management system, which he built from the ground up around 2005, and which remains a go-to tool for the site’s global network of editors.

“We hit it off immediately, Travis was a hilarious guy,” Misra recalled. “We collaborated on many things for CricInfo – the first and biggest was the completion of the Test and ODI dashboard database in 1995. At that time he didn’t know how to program – but he thoroughly went through each dashboard and cross-checked against benchmarks such as Wisden etc. and found and corrected errors.

“We painstakingly created the first scorecard format, which was not only nice to look at, but also displayed all relevant information, including the right amount of spacing to accommodate players like ‘Bromley-Davenport “! When we finally announced the completion of the scorecard database in 1995, it was a big milestone for CricInfo.”

He was also an early pioneer of CricInfo’s famous ball-by-ball commentary, including at the 1999 World Cup, where he memorably described the yellow and green kits clash for the Australia- Pakistan at Lord’s as “ripe bananas versus unripe bananas”, and later co-author of the site’s long-running statistics column, “The List”.

“Travis was the epitome of Cricinfo,” said ESPNcricinfo Global Editor Sambit Bal. “He stayed in and did everything that needed to be done, formatting the scoreboards, coding them and other pages, and writing bullet-by-bullet commentary, and maybe match reports as well. His programming genius was established early, and he would soon be a site colossus behind the scenes.”

However, Basevi’s crowning achievement was the creation of StatsGuru, the first iteration of which went live in 1998. While other colleagues have spoken of the possibilities of mapping the range of data that now populates the site, Basevi is simply went ahead and did it, using himself -learned a brand of coding to connect every facet of a cricket scoreboard like a puppeteer with endless strings.

“Travis took care of maintaining and extending the live scoring interface,” says Misra. “During the 1996 World Cup, we had created scripts to browse scoreboards and create live stats – he would then go on to use these scripts to create his masterpiece – StatsGuru. The huge impact that StatsGuru had on the world of cricket cannot be explained in words Travis was also incredibly modest and unassuming, very few people were aware of the contributions he had made.

“StatsGuru was both a leap of the imagination and a coding marvel,” adds Bal. “It was built in the late 90s – think about it – and remains his most renowned contribution. Cricket fans will be eternally grateful to him, but for those of us who worked with him and are still working on the site today, its stamp is everywhere.”

As CricInfo’s global influence grew, Basevi traveled the world on a series of assignments, including Bangladesh in 1998 for the original Champions Trophy (then the Wills International Cup). In 2002 he was recruited by trainer wisden.com, for whom he would build the bespoke Wisden Wizard statistics engine, but a year later he returned to his original vocation, following the acquisition of CricInfo by Wisden and the merger of the two websites.

Basevi had moved to London in 2000 and called Kilburn home, within easy commuting distance of his beloved Queen’s Park Rangers as well as a range of his favorite pubs in Camden and Chalk Farm – visits he would catalog with the same forensic detail he brought to his cricket statistics.

Despite his imposing six-foot frame and undeniable cult status among his colleagues, Basevi remained one of the most laid-back individuals imaginable until the end – invariably dressed in a t-shirt and cargo shorts, and deeply dismissive of any recognition for his accomplishments. , most of which were made while he was locked in his noise-canceling headphones and plugged into an eclectic range of musical tastes (again quietly documented).

In 2014, Basevi took on a new role as Chief Technology Officer at CricViz, where he built the database and tools that underpin the company’s own statistical analysis.

He leaves behind his wife, Jane, and son, Victor, as well as an extensive network of colleagues and admirers.

“He was more Cricinfo than any of us ever would be,” adds Bal. “And he will live as long as Cricinfo.”

Andrew Miller is ESPNcricinfo’s UK editor. @miller_cricket

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