Anil Thakraney: VVS: Very Very Sad

18 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

It’s now a given; the moment a cricketer retires, by default he walks into the commentary box. When, ideally, his first priority ought to be coaching young teams and/or joining/starting a sports academy. This is because commentating is far more lucrative, and it carries zero responsibilities and headaches. I am quite certain Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sachin Tendulkar has already begun work on his diction.

 

But this instant migration from the pitch to the box isn’t easy, and most of the cricketers struggle very badly, at the cost of the viewers. The latest entrant, VVS Laxman, is painful to hear. He speaks poorly, provides zero insights, and has a voice that makes a sixer sound like a boring thingy. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has been tormenting us with his clichés for years, and the less said about motor mouth Sidhu the better. Sanjay Manjrekar communicates like a novice, and Ravi Shastri has been hired purely to generate senseless hysteria. Sunil Gavaskar and Saurav Ganguly are the notable exceptions, the saving grace. I am also reminded of Lala Amarnath from back in the seventies. He used to come up with sharp observations; we would, as kids, eagerly await his gems at the end of each match day.

 

And of course, Imran Khan, the late Tony Grieg, Richie Benaud and Ian Chappell have always been a delight to listen to. What this tells you is that having been a cricketer may help to commentate better, but it does not necessarily make you an interesting communicator. Either you have the gift of the gab or you don’t. Therefore, the sports networks have to exercise quality control, they simply can’t hire every cricketer who calls it a day. And I haven’t even begun speaking about the nonsense that goes on inside the Hindi commentary box. These days I mostly watch the Indian cricket telecast minus the sound.

 

Just as a good movie director won’t necessarily make a good film critic, just as a great painter won’t necessarily become a reliable curator, just as a kickass CEO won’t necessarily be a good dad, the same theory applies to sports commentary. I am quite certain there is enough talent out there for cricket commentary (after all, this nation is flushed with ‘experts’), and all that the television networks have to do is to find them. It’s their laziness to conduct this search that has ended up saddling us viewers with rank bad commentators.

 

Get some fresh blood in the box, dear Sony Max, ESPN/Star Sports, Neo, etc. In fact, the IPL is a good place to start, unless you’ve already signed up Sidhu, VVS and Sivaramakrishnan. In which case it’s now left to the sexy cheerleaders to save the day.

 

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PS: Nice IKEA commercial. Notice how the inter-play of need for storage room and need for room in relationships lifts an otherwise ordinary promise: Total furniture solutions. Wonderful!

[youtube width=”400″ height=”220″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWJImv6ci9I[/youtube]

 

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