Skip to navigationSkip to content
REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Kyunki dil hai Hindustani.
BLEED BLUE

Sundar Pichai just proved that you can take an Indian out of India but not India out of an Indian

By Itika Sharma Punit

Cricket is not a popular sport in the US. The country doesn’t have a team participating in the ongoing cricket world cup, and viewership for the sport is far lower there than for baseball, American football, and basketball.

But there’s at least one avid cricket fan in Silicon Valley who is following the 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup underway in the UK.

On June 13, Google’s Indian-American CEO, Sundar Pichai, said he was rooting for India, and hoped the final match would be played between the men in blue and England.

“It (ICC Cricket World Cup final match) should be (between) England and India. But, you know, Australia and New Zealand, these are all very, very good teams,” Pichai said during an event organised by the US-India Business Council (USIBC), the Press Trust of India reported. He was replying to USIBC president Nisha Desai Biswal’s question, “Who do you think is going to play the final match,” PTI said.

Pichai has lived in the US for over two decades now, attending the prestigious Stanford University and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and working at semiconductor software provider Applied Materials and management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, before joining Google in 2004.

Much before his US stint began, though, Pichai, like thousands of young Indian boys, dreamt of being a cricketer. “I did dream of being a cricketer like so many Indians. I used to be a huge fan of Gavaskar when he was playing and later, Sachin (Tendulkar), when he played,” Pichai had said in 2015.

Test and one-day are his favourite cricket formats. “I always thought Test cricket was amazing. I had the time to watch it too…but T20 is not something I grew up with, so I don’t enjoy it as much as I do Test cricket or one-day matches,” the now 46-year-old alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur had said in 2015.

Besides cricket, Pichai was also “a huge football fan” since his young days. “I remember…I would drive my mom crazy. I would wake up in the middle of the night to watch World Cup soccer. I would watch the Brazilian team in those days. Cricket and football are two sports that I follow. I am a big Barcelona and Messi fan,” he said in 2015.