Friday, December 28, 2007
It is such a pleasure to watch cricket in Channel 9. I am watching it after a really long time. Finally, the list of commentators has become interesting. Mainly because they have not included any Indian commentator. The current crop of Indian commentators are so bad. My god! Probably the monster ugliness of Navjoth Sidhu has hidden the minature ugliness present among the rest of them. With Shastri competing for 'cliche of the year' and Sunny Gavaskar becoming senile, it was high time they were relieved of their jobs and shot dead with the rest of them (barring Harsha Bhogle). I am so glad I don't get to hear the Arun Lals, Akshay Kapoors, Atul Wassans and the Manjrekars of the world. Anyway, watching cricket alone, at home, and listening to commentary devoid of noise found bachelor pad/grad-school-housing is such a refreshing experience.
Channel 9 now has 3 commentators in every shift as opposed to the usual 2. Since Willow TV does not cut for commercials and does not unlink the satellite, it is sometimes possible to observe what the commentary team talk among themselves during breaks. I heard them discuss that - one commentator takes the lead during every shift and the other two pitch in occasionally. The list of commentators is; Richie Benaud, Tony , Bill Lawry, Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor, Ian Healy, and Michael Slater. This team is hosted by my favorite Mark Nicholas. I know it is a Shastri-like cliche but Richie Benaud continues to awe me. He is the best commentator I have seen and will probably ever see. Not to mention Ian Chappel's sharp acerbic analysis. Most of all I like their frank disagreements and "It is your opinion Ian and I disagree" said Slater coolly when in fact he was wrong. Slater and Taylor's anguish on why openers don't get night watchmen was really funny. They have a new technology called 'hotspot' which traces the thermal changes on a batsman's bat/body to observe nicks.
Simon O'Donnell runs a lunch show called the 'The Cricket Show'. Day I featured cricket in India. Day II featured Sachin giving an exclusive interview to some rare well-asked questions. Day III had an interview with the Australian PM. Today they had a documentary on upcoming Australian spinnners. Sometimes, Channel 9 brings in Richie and Ian for an exclusive 20 minute interview. The articulate their wisdom so well. Today, during tea they hauled in Sunny for his stupid comments. He suggested Sehwag's inclusion. Thats allright. But Mark quickly asked back "who would you drop?" Sunny recommended that India drop anyone among Dravid, Laxman and Yuvraj to make space for Sehwag. Laxman!.... Laxman be dropped against Australia to make space for someone who scored one 195 fours years ago. It is amazing what complete lack of common sense can do to a person.
Coming back to Richie Benaud. His pithy one-liners are so wise. Sometime I wonder how he developed his famous economy of words. More importantly, he is quick on his feet. With amazing speed he can come up with a fantastic observation that is well constructed in a pithy sentence. There was a discussion of the topic I hated most. The stupid "Indian captaincy is the hardest job in the world" discussion. Richie quietly interrupted a pedantic Tony and said "Captaining India is as easy as captaining Australia provided you are winning". Tony shut up and said "you know what! that's a very wise statement and I agree". Ian Chappell for a change is not barking at Saurav that much. Even Saurav's bad Azhar-like habit of not grounding his bat evoked only a mild rebuke. Some commentators are interesting. At the end of Day 1, when the stupid media was unnecessarily harping about how Australia was finally challenged Tony said "Look! I don't want to pass a judgement on the 343 until I've seen India bat. I'll wait until I see them bat".