Friday, September 15, 2006

Talking Cricket . . .

Cricket season is back again. But again haunted by rains. Anyway that is part and parcel of the game. Its been long time before I wrote anything about cricket. So back to square one.

Cricket commentary is one thing which sets apart this gentleman's game from rest of the sports. Every ardent fan of cricket is sure to have fascinated by the words of commentator. In an era when TVs were a luxury, cricket commentry on radio or shall I say transistors was the only source of instant info on cricket.

Its not just the on-field action which gives colour to this game, but also these band of gentlemen who with their words arouse the interest in a loosing game too. To name a few: Ravi Shastri, Geoffrey Boycott,Tony Greig, Harsha Bhogle and off late Navjot Singh Sidhu. For the curious bunch here is a list though not complete. It is these people who add spice to the rather boring play of test matches or one-sided encounters of ODIs with their stories, comparisions and anecdotes.

Talking about cricket commentators, I think undoubtedly Ravi Shastri is the best ever commentator from India, closely followed by another veteran Harsha Bhogle. Not only commentary but also the post-match presentation is well handled by him, whether it be speaking on the occasion or asking questions with the captains of both teams in play. Phrases like 'margin of error is minimal on this pitch' or style of saying score of 101 as one-o-one have a mark of Ravi Shastri on that. Another good thing about Ravi Shastri is his control over his talk and presence of mind. For an instance, once Ravi Shastri had commented 'Good Shot' when a batsman hit aerial shot on the on-side. But it landed safely in the hands of long-on. Then he changed his comment as 'Infact too good'. Nowadays you can find his shades in Ramiz Raja's commentary. Harsha Bhogle's comments have a lot of research and analysis in it. Amazing for an IIM guy who had no background in cricket to become one of the best commentators in the game. When it comes to speaking the language of the common man in commentry box, nobody can beat Navjot Singh Sidhu. Look at some his comments : 'That ball went so high it could have got an air hostess down with it', 'Experience is like a comb that life gives you when you are bald', 'The cat with gloves catches no mice'. No doubt, he has made a name for himself with his 'Sidhuisms'. Coming to English commentators, Tony Greig and Geoffrey Boycott are unique with their British accent. Dont know who among the two pronounces 'crickeeet' for cricket. Boycott's comment on Sourav Ganguly as 'God of off-side' can be remembered here.

On the other side there are commentators who take the interest away from the game with their boring and slow-paced commentry. One of them would be Sanjay Manjrekar. No enthusiasm in his commentary. Michael Holding's commentary makes us difficult to understand his accent.

With the sports channels increasing this breed continue to increase with their own style of commentary. Lastly, a familiar scene after a coin is tossed in the middle of the pitch used to be Ravi Shastri invariably asking whenever Sourav Ganguly lost the toss 'Disappointed with the toss?' and Sourav invariably replying 'No, Not really'.

One good thing about following cricket commentary is the exposure you get to the vast vocabulary of English. In my opinion, if you want to learn Hindi watch Bollywood movies and for a better English follow cricket commentary. Your opinion may differ.

Comments are welcome.



  1. Good one... I still remember some parts of Boycott's commentary during the Sharjah cup when Sachin had hit a century against Australia.

  2. nice post. commentary is infact a value addition cricket. geff boycott, tony greig, sunil gavaskar are my favorite.

    sidhu was a good commentator. due to some differences with ESPN-star team, he is no longer a commentator. one can experience his sidhuism in talk shows in NDTV.

    Rameez Raza is a good commentator, but usually he becomes biased towards his country. He also used the phrase "got to be focussed" too many times. Its irritating.

    Ganguly can be good commentator ( his career as a player almost over :) ).

    I liked ur line
    On the other side there are commentators who take the interest away from the game.
    some ppl i can add to this category are Arun Lal , Arjuna Ranatunga, Anusham Gaekwad. Listening their to their commentary during WC 2003 was really a pain.

    From WC 2003 there is addition of F-factor to cricket discussion. Mandira Bedi, Roshini Chopra are some of women used as attention getter.

    Watching live cricket match on TV has become rare for me after joining IT industry. but thanks to cricinfo, the online commentary gives feel of live match. Its nice to imagine whatever is metioned in online commentary.

  3. @Shridhar
    Rightly Said, hearing Boycott's commentry on that match in Sharjah cup where Sachin scored a century is surely a treat to hear. Even today if you see that match today match comes alive again.

    Thank you for the comments. As rightly pointed by you, you can add many more to that boring commentators list. Generally commentators in Ten Sports usually lacks that enthusiasm in other channels. And online commentry on net has become a good tool to imagine in the situation out in the middle of ground.

  4. if yousay sidhu was good commentator then you misinterpreted the meaning of cricket commentory.. this guy is just known for his sidhuisms..
    for me the best speakers were(in cricket) richie benaud(former aussie leggiee) and ian healy,smith(from kiwis)..

    there is no doubt in deciding the worst commentator in cricket, its abviously our own L.sivaramakrishnan..he should have been a classical singer rather than being a comm...
    and how can forget kris shrikant.

    If you come down to broadcasters espn-star changed the way of presenting cricket in india..

    recently i was watching match on zee sports, they might have got that technology but they certainy dont posses the talent to broadcast.. no replays after each wicket.. nothing...
    IT seems they have forgot their main aim, that is to show cricket..
    they are more ineterested in money rather than cricket..

  5. @Pavan
    I also had mentioned that Sidhu speaks common man's language. You may or may not like that. Anyway every opinion is relative.

  6. Raveesh, How did you Miss Mandira Bedi? ....:-)

    Sidduism is world famous now. VISA is running a contest on that... Try your luck...

    Cricket commentators are assisted by a talented team of technicians, scorers, camera/TV experts etc, who provide commentator with the video/statistics and other info he may need, within fraction of a second. They doo deserve some credits.

    Good post



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