As a boy growing up in Hyderabad, India, Satya Nadella so loved the sport of cricket that he played competitively on his school team.
Now he is the top player on the team at Microsoft, the aging US technology colossus where he has worked for nearly half of his 46 years of life.
Hailing from Hyderabad, a land which produced cricketing heroes like ML Jaisimha, Mohd Azharuddin and VVS Laxman, Nadella's passion for the gentleman's game is not surprising. He says cricket taught him teamwork and leadership that helped him rise through the twists and turns of the corporate world.
"I think playing cricket taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career," Nadella said after his appointment as Microsoft CEO was announced.
Nadella played cricket as part of Hyderabad Public School team.
Early in his academic career, a drive to build things led him to pursue computer science, a focus not available during his studies at Mangalore University, where he earned a bachelor degree in electrical engineering.
He is also a fan of cricket Test matches that pit representative teams from countries against one another in games that typically span days.
"I love it," Nadella said of cricket Tests. "There's so many subplots in it, it's like reading a Russian novel."
In an email to Microsoft workers, Nadella was already rallying his team. He told them that he joined Microsoft to change the world, and that the company has the talent, resources and perseverance to do just that.
For a master's degree in computer science, he went to the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Nadella earned a second master's degree in business at the University of Chicago.
"The one think I would say that defines me is that I love to learn," Nadella said in a video interview posted by Microsoft.
"I buy more books than I read, or finish; I sign up for more online courses than I actually finish."
In a sign of what may be to come for Microsoft stalwarts, Nadella spoke emphatically of his passion for learning and admiration for those who find creative new approaches or ideas.
Nadella says that for Microsoft to succeed, it needs to adapt to new trends.
"While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more," he said in an email to employees.
"Our industry does not respect tradition -- it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places -- as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it."
(with inputs from agencies)