THANKS to the inception of the radio, hundreds of thousands of people, mainly our grandfathers and fathers, were able to stay aboard the latest news and more importantly, cricket match updates during poorer times when the genius of television, on-field graphics and Spider Cam had yet to be invented. While the technology of watching our beloved game has been transformed, one important aspect remains the same: commentators.
The very same ilk that once was relied upon for passionate ball-to-ball updates on transistor radios remains just as influential today and we still rely upon them for expert cricket opinion when our own supplies of armchair critics run out(!).
Here at Alternative Cricket, we take a look at the different types of commentators that exist in the gentleman’s game…
The Textbook Commentator
No, by this we don’t mean a perfect commentator. By this we mean a commentator who presents commentary like he’s reading it out of a textbook. Giving an indication at how good he might have been in school at memorising multiplication tables, this breed of commentator has a tendency to repeat the same phrases and words over and over and over and over again.
We tend to notice that these very same commentators also seem to have little or no sense of humour. This is evidenced when this species is tasked with interviewing the men playing on the field, and crickets can be heard in the background because the players don’t really get the commentator’s not-so-wise wisecrack. Awkward silences are rare, however, because these commentators enjoy the sound of their own respective voices too much.
Hallmark of this breed include the veteran Sunil Gavaskar on a good day and just what the doctor ordered, Ravi Shastri.
The One That Had One Too Many Coffees Last Night
This category was created specifically for Danny Morrison and Navjot Singh Sidhu. While Sidhu is known to take a back seat and sometimes cut the coffee some slack, Danny Morrison seems to have coffee running in his veins. Ever seen those crazy eyes on the field? AYB-SOO-LOOT-LY IN-SAANE!
This species of Danny Morrison – should future commentators want to emulate this style – is especially beneficial because they bring energy to the field, which can prove quite useful when trying to liven up a dour innings from the likes of Ganguly and Trott.
The key here is that one Danny Morrison is more than enough – mixing a Morrison with a Sidhu in the same stint could well precipitate in a spate of suicides and ear-gouges across the cricket-watching world.
The ‘Entertainment In Himself’ Commentator
This is, by far, the best category a commentator can belong to. While some belong here for the virtue of being so bad, they’re good (ie Ravi Shastri) there are still others like Bumble and Co. who make the most incredible gaffes and partake in the most hilarious on-field hysterics (watch video below) and yet others like Rameez Raja who get all sorts of names and facts wrong.
Who wants to watch the cricket when you have people like these at the other end of the microphone?!
The One That Hits the Sweet Spot
These special men are the ones that in my opinion, get it just right, time and again. With the right mix of humour, wit, clarity of expression, good nature and insightful opinions, the likes of Pommie Mbangwa, Alistair Campbell, HD Ackerman and Harsha Bhogle bring the game the perfect combination of gentlemanliness, wit, and sound judgement. Their evident on-screen camaraderie makes for a welcoming and friendly atmosphere – just how it should be.
More often than not, these men also have a booming laugh that makes you think cricket is the most hilarious game ever. With the likes of Ravi Jadeja getting $2 million to play the IPL, I wouldn’t disagree.
ULTIMATELY, the game would not be half of what it is were it not for these men (and women like Donna Symonds). With only our armchair critics to give us opinions about whether Sachin should retire or not, we’d be lacking in much of the zeal, energy and middle of the road opinions these formidable characters bring to our television sets.
Who are your favourite commentators? Post in the comments below!
written by Abeer Yusuf