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Sight Screen

Thursday, May 26, 2005

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Any of you guys watch Indian television, especially cricket programming, regularly? Wonder what you make of it all.
Thing is, every channel wants to cash in on the cricket -- and to this end, have been coming up with ever more bizarre programming. Like this thing I found -- Aaj Ka Mujrim, or some such name -- which had a panel including Bish Bedi and Syed Kirmani, the mandatory TV babe as anchor, a graphical meter that went up and down depending on how people supposedly voted, and a question on the lines of 'So is Saurav aaj ka mujrim?' Another show, anchored by Navjot Singh Sidhu, is a huge hit -- despite it having less to do with cricket and more to do with the collected proverbs of NSS.
Another unfortunate fallout of the whole confusion over TV rights is in the nature of the commentary we get. Most of the topline guys are contracted to one or other channel -- for instance, Harsha Bhogle is tied in to ESPN-Star, so if that channel doesn't get the cricket rights, Harsha is out of the box.
Upshot -- we don't necessarily get the best possible commentators; instead, we get the 'available for hire' guys (which reminds me, if there is anything more obnoxious than Krish Srikkanth in an expert's chair, I'm yet to see it).
Was thinking of all this when I spotted this news item that Sanjay Manjrekar has become the public face of Ten Sports.
Let's get a poll going here -- tell me who in your book are our best, and worst, commentators, and why?

9 Comments:

  • Prem:
    Best is Harsha, without doubt.

    Worst is the radio commentators on AIR (not the old ones but the some recent ones......)

    By Anonymous Ram, at 12:51  

  • Prem,

    Without a doubt, my favorites commentator is the one and only SMG. I don't think we have had annyone with his sense of timing, intelligence, sharp humor and extremely witty comebacks. I have seen SMG come back many a time to the likes of Tony Greig, Bill Lawry, et al.

    Of course, if there is a true fan of the game who deserves his success, it is Harsha Bhogle. The guy respects his co-commentators who are ex-Test players -- yet, he is on par, cricketing knowledge and intelligence wise. But, his style is one of an intelligent fan, probing the more wise, wizened ex-player. He is truly good.

    As for the ubiquitous TV babes, man, by the time I left India, they had not yet come in. HOwever, I had foreseen the sham of, channels, like, say, DD or Sony TV (Roshan Abbas???) trying to cover cricket. By then, thanks to Azhar and Prbhakar and the rest of those goons, my cricketing juices had virtually dried up.

    I'm not surprised to the level that peoplehave stooped to in having these freakin' TV babes. Glad that I am not witnessing all that cr*p.

    Sriraj

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:21  

  • Amongst the Indian commmentrators Harsha Bhogle seems to be the best. The worst are NSS, Srikkant, Manjrekar, Manindar Singh.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:43  

  • Best of best--
    Gavaskar -- For his knowledge
    Tony Greg -- His articulation and his knowledge
    Boycott -- To be frank opinion with knowledge ofcourse

    Worst---
    Ramiz Raja -- within an ininings..he wud curse and appreciate pakistanis altogether..mostly driven by his heart rather then Brain!

    By Anonymous Abhay, at 05:57  

  • Best :
    Ian Chappell.
    Harsha Bhogle.
    Richie Benaud.
    Mark Nicholas.
    Robin Jackman.
    Geoff Boycott.
    Tony Cozier.
    Michael Holding.

    Worst :
    Kris Srikanth.
    Ranjit Fernando.
    Ravi Shastri.
    Waqar Younis.
    Dean Jones.
    Ian Healy.
    Sunil Gavaskar.
    Mandira Bedi (I loathe her).

    Manjrekar and Michael Slater have improved quite a bit and are bearable than some of the robots that have taken over.

    Sidhu is good for entertainment value just like David Lloyd of England but shouldn't be taken seriously. He can be hilarious as well as irritating but its always amusing.

    By Anonymous Vishal Gandhi, at 06:09  

  • A slightly tangential start to the comment: I have always wondered why we do not have awards for commentators -- the best umpires are recognized, as are the best players and adminstrators. So why not commentators, who do just as much to keep the tv viewership happy?
    Among Indian commentators, I agree with the comments above. Harsha and Gavaskar are streets better than the rest of them. Manjrekar has a keen mind, I think, but I believe he tries too hard to be diplomatic and maintain an even keel. The rest...are pretenders. If Shastri were to stop being so cliche ridden, he'd make a good commentator - he has the presence/voice/modulation all that jazz, me thinks.
    From outside India....I like the TMS guys from England, plus Gower and Botham from Sky, Chappell, Ian Smith and Robin Jackman.

    By Blogger avinash, at 10:12  

  • If anyone's worse than Srikanth, it's probably Charu Sharma. Yes, yes, I know he doesn't qualify as an expert, but that's exactly my point. As a host, one would assume that he would seek the experts' comments. Instead, he invariably ends up interrupting the expert and giving his own opinion. I suppose DD deserves him. Given the quality of their programming, Charu fits right in.

    I particularly like Manjrekar: like Gavaskar, he's tends to notice the little things; technicalities that delight a connoisseur.

    Thanks for blogging, Prem. :)

    By Blogger Nikhil Pahwa, at 14:29  

  • Best:
    Harsha
    Boycott
    David Loyd
    Mike Artherton
    Greg chappell
    Ian Healy

    Not polished but have good insights:
    Akram,
    Manjerekar (He sounds very honest) and he is improving

    so-so:
    Gavskar
    Shastri
    Ritchie Benaud (I dont understand why people rever him)
    and tonnes of other channel 9 guys like mark taylor etc..

    Bad:
    Sidhu
    Tony Greig : He comes across as an a*hole
    Ian chappell - same problem

    -i

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