IPL TV cricket broadcast on Mute
While some of the on-ground performances and the kind of strokes played (called innovation these days) has not been anything to write home about, the off the field stuff i.e commentary at the IPL, has been deplorable and possibly the worst one has heard in the last two decades.
Terrible anchors, shockingly (un)fashionable ‘on the ground’ correspondent with minimal knowledge of the game and commentators with nothing more than clichéd description of the game - If the T20 has been a Tamaasha for the traditionalists, listening to the broadcast has been truly miserable to those who grew up listening to Alan McGilvery, Norman O’Neil, Brian Johnston, CMJ, John Arlott, Fred Trueman and Trevor Bailey and in the last couple of decades and more to Richie Benaud and co.
Taking the game to the Youth
There has been enough written about taking the game to the youth, especially to the women population in the country. That might seem a fair objective to have(at least that might take one set of audence from mega serials to sport). Having half clad women, in the name of professional dancers, is another so called innovation that has been brought in at the T20 in an effort to draw the youth to the ground.
Almost 15 years ago, Michael Holding, who had just got into cricket commentary,
(early on Holding was an expert on the radio for Carribean Broadcasting Corporation) spoke about the difficulty of being a TV commentator. He summarized it quite nicely at that time: "Unlike radio, TV commentary required a different kind of skill. As a TV commentator, describing a shot was not as important as analyzing the stroke/ball/ situation of the game and providing insights on the game and the match scenario."
Unfortunately, the Asian commentators seem to have not understood the basics of TV commentary. A six is always a ‘huge six’ (even if it has managed to just cross the line), a boundary is always a great shot (even if it goes to third man off the edge), a win for Mumbai Indians always means great captaincy by Sachin. Fantastic and magnificent has to figure every alternate ball. Adjectives, the IPL commentators seem to believe, are everything is in ‘cricket commentary’.
Thankfully Robin Jackman and Greg Chappell have proved to be an exception and to a lesser extent L. Sivaramakrishnan. Surprisingly, even Tony Cozier and Ravi Shastri sounded more ‘Noise’ than knowledge. Every time at the toss/ presentation, Ravi seemed to raise his voice and sound forceful than be knowledgeable.
And why would one have Krishnamachari Srikkanth at every Super Kings match as the so called expert, trying to provide insights and inside information into his home team. While, like always, he has been 'straight off the bat' or 'Straight from the heart',some of his comments have been comical to say the least. "....gummaa vaa.......chennai super kings na summaa vaa".
When a 35+ year old hits a six or takes a wicket, it is always experience. When a 20 year does something negative, it is always inexperience!!!!
A few of these left me truly shocked:
“ The Boundary Line reporter asking the Umpire as to who he thought will win the match when there were still 5+ overs left in the game”
“ The same one asking Anil Kumble, in the first 10 days of the IPL, as to what his team had to do that week given that the finalists would be decided by the end of that week- Left Anil Kumble stunned as well….”
Arun Lal’s repeated comments (his first comment on this came 2 balls after the event happened) that the batsmen should not have taken a run of the no ball so the inform bat would have remained on strike and that taking the run of the no ball was the turning point of the match.
Aamir Sohail’s one word/two word questions during his interviews- ‘Great match?’, ‘Great pitch?’, ‘Great crowd?’!!!!!
‘What do you think of the crowd’ seemed another clichéd question during every interview
One wonders as to why these greatly paid commentators, (almost all of them have been international cricketers themselves) would not take the trouble of doing a little bit of home work on players and the game, so as to be able to offer more insights than mere description of the game.
TMS and Sky Sports- A different league
Those who watched /heard the commentary on the England V New Zealand first test at Lords would have seen a startling difference in the standards of broadcast. The IPL TV team would do well to take a tape of the commentary provided by the Sky Sports team comprising Michael Atherton, David Lloyd, Michael Holding, David Gower, Nasser Hussain and team or the one provided by Jonathan Agnew, CMJ, Brian Woddell, Henry Blofeld, Geoffery Boycott and Jeremy Coney of the TMS team.
It was insightful analysis every single ball on different aspects of the game. They truly have set a very high standard in TV broadcast and raised the bar, originally set by Channel 9, to another level. Time and again, the IPL TV commentators have ended up with clichéd cricketing terminologies and if they desire to hold on to their audience, they will need to do a lot of catching up. Till such time, it is best that true cricket followers watch the match on ‘mute’.