Thursday, March 26, 2020

Commentators are not neutral anymore?

Has commentary, which defines the best experience for cricket viewers, lost its touch? With more cricket players now being seen in the commentary box, we expected more banters, on field experiences, and interesting anecdotes. We got a few glimpses of these but the touch of neutrality seems to have started to go away. We have been lucky to be born in a generation where we have seen commentators like Richie Benaud, Tony Grieg, Geoffrey Boycott, who went beyond the nationality to serve the TV viewers. The excitement of Tony Grieg whenever Sachin hit a straight drive, or the joy in Richie Benaud’s voice whenever the spinner flighted the ball, or hearing the now famous Line “Prince of KalKuta(Kolkata)” in Boycott's voice, those memories will stay forever in cricket lovers’ minds.
Of late, the standard of commentary has not been what it used to be. Cricket players who retired have joined commentary but few stay for a long haul and make an impact. Also, while commentating the game, they tend to pick up a side eventually. The recent event of the BCCI throwing out Sanjay Manjrekar, may not be due to his non-neutral side, but more because of his trash commentary. He was ultra-critical in his tenure, made unnecessary remarks, which ultimately led to his axe. In the past, Harsha Bhogle faced a little period of ban from Indian commentary due to him criticizing some players. Being a critic is acceptable, but you cannot get beyond the line and spill out unnecessary remarks for a player. The basic point of being a commentator is to cater to the audience and engage them in the game. Picking up a player or a side will lose the charm of commentary.

In my opinion, commentators need to be neutral. Praising your beloved country or sportsman is important but more is focusing on the talent he/she possesses. It’s a thankless job which they do to make the sport livelier and more energetic. Imagine a cricket match with no commentary? Wouldn’t it be a dead sight? A commentator brings out his perspective of the game from both sides and praises whoever does well in the match. Commentary is a lifeline of cricket, hope the commentators bring out the best of the game, avoiding personal and biased remarks.

Madhurendra Kumar for DieHard Cricket Fans

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