Call me a cynic, an anti-feminist, a prude, or whatever you choose to, but I firmly believe that spaghetti straps, TV actors and tarot cards will never replace crisp, analytical and incisive commentary.
Lot of water has passed under the bridge, debates taken place, and lot of theories claiming that it is good for the upbringing of women’s cricket in India. True, I am all for it. We can always add to the cliche – Cricket is a “Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s game”!!
But I think its time they understood that we no longer like to see TV/wannabe film actors/actresses jumping on their seat, wanting to ask (for the tenth time in the same match) about the dew factor, and then proclaiming that they know quite a bit about cricket!! Let the Diana Eduljees say it, and we shall believe it!
Though the first ODI between India and South Africa was drizzle-washed,and the second was a “Kallistrophe”, it was heartening to see the good old ESPN blokes come to talk about what they do best – talk cricket. The official team of Harsha Bhogle and Alan Wilkins, with other “gurus” like Ravi Shastri, Geoffrey Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Navjot Sidhu and a few other guest commentators make for a formidable word-machine.
Ravi Shastri remains very economical, non-flamboyant, choosing to concentrate on the technicalities of the match. On the other hand , Gavaskar has a wry sense of humour, a knack for harmless mischief and sarcasm which can go easily unnoticed, but never fails to make the point. Add to all this, his prodigious memory, and we have a cracker!
Then again we have the celebrated knight, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, in his white straw hat and colourful shirts. He’s unstoppable on his day, and can give quite a run for the English pudding, when it comes to witticisms. A thorough gentleman, he’s one entertainer!
Enter Navjot Singh Sidhu with his word-spins(Siddhuisms), pleated turban, suit, a matching tie, and we have the “tadka” on the strange concoction we already have! When he’s on the mike, he transforms into the philosophical joker, doling out words of wisdom in his very own inimitable style, unlike what we’ve seen of him on the field. ” The style is the man” observed the French Literary critic Buffon. We would not disagree on that.
And stringing them all, is the ever suave Harsha Bhogle, who always manages to come up with obscure statistics and events.
Emotion,bursts of adrenalin and edge of the seat entertainment replaces all rationale when it comes to cricket, and I am no different. Right from the pitch report, to the end of match review, the one thing which can match up to Sachin’s fluent straight drives or Dravid’s defence or Gilchrist’s hammering, is the cricket commentary.
And nothing, not even Mandira Bedi’s spaghetti straps, or meaningless calisthenics of reading tarot cards to predict the result or stupid “who’s the best cricket fan” games, can convince me of the marriage between cricket and entertainment, which they so shamelessly claim to do.
Cricket is entertainment enough – I dont need a promo of Dhoom2 happening to give me a high, prior to a match. Show me a few of Sachin’s straight drives, or Andre Nel’s histrionics, and I shall be comfortably numb for the rest of the game!
While at the topic of histrionics, one incident would rank at the top of every cricket lover’s mind – Ganguly swaying his shirt at the Natwest Series , after India won a nailbiting final in 2002.
He’s on a comeback trail, and he would need to do more than using his shirt to attract attention. Rationale would probably argue that its going to be very difficult for him, even though there’s a change in the selection committee (with Dilip Vengsarkar), but the pseudo-bong in me would hope he makes a comeback, and make us drool over his silken square drives.
Well, there will be a lot of cricket being played (Ashes has started already) , till the World Cup. I just hope I dont see too much of chiffon sarees, huge earrings, stupid giggles and moronic analysis from actors claiming to be cricket analysts!!