Millennium Post


It has been a treat to listen to the commentators during matches among the eight countries till now. What do viewers want in a commentator? No we don't need pin up girls in mini skirts draped in incongruous distracting ensembles day after day, we would rather have anchors who have depth of knowledge about the ins and outs and whys and wherefores.

During the Champions Trophy run television channels were unable to feature one good film on cricket/ legends/ interviews. Everything they showed was all about fun and frolic and superficial whimsy.

Thank god, there was ICC Cricket 360 that gave us something to savour. While it is good to listen to Ravi Shastri, Aakash Chopra and VVS Laxman, it was Brett Lee and Jonty Rhodes who stole the sunshine with their observations that were spot on and provided in-depth perspectives.

To draw attention to on-field didactics and dialogues, it was the English ace Nasser Hussain who sailedabove the rest for his incisive and insightful opinions as well as subtle innuendoes thrown in between intense death overs.

After having relished so many days of cricket commentary from the stars of auditory aura, here is my list of top five commentators at this year's Champions Trophy.

Nasser Hussain
"Root hobbles to his hundred… Stokes quite loves to have a word or two on the pitch between balls." Madras-born Nasser Hussain is the doyen of the pitch. Dapper and elegant in his dark blazers and tweeds, he has a pleasant tenor, the right intonations and he meanders through the overs with a dulcet tone that mirrors deep knowledge and objectivity amidst optimism in a crisis. He is at his best when England is running around the pitch.

Nasser creates a corollary of conversations around his own précis of possibilities – he gives us a mapping of the mercurial nature of cricket including DRS diktats. Even in a last over loss his voice remains one of great hope and dignity and when the rain gods descend when he looks at an overcast sky, sighs and says the clouds look ominous you wish he would go on.

Sourav Ganguly
Former captain and the popular 'prince of Kolkata' Ganguly charms with his chaste English and words of gravitas. He does not shoot off into dangerous territory he is comfortable with his opinions and creates an atmosphere of calm while he gives us more than a deciphering discussion between stumps. His knowledge of the lesser and greater manoeuvres makes for a commentary that is always a delight to listen to.

Above all, Ganguly holds the pulse of his listeners with his pragmatism and charismatic conversations. Ganguly limns through the passage of play to provide valuable insights into compelling competitive contests. In the India - Sri Lanka match it was interesting to listen to the tete-e-tete between Ganguly and Naseer when Ganguly told him it was fascinating to watch Nasser bat while his eyes showed nothing of emotions within.

Ian Bishop
The star from West Indies with a velvet voice, his English is quaint as it is chaste and he gives us intense and pragmatic insights through the days of soggy damp English weather. Most discerning and delightful are his post match two-minute chats with bowlers or batsmen who have aced the helm of performance.

Between the tricky paradigms of the DRS and the shock of popular team Australia falling like ninepins Ian Bishop's voice offers solace and honest appraisals that remain like a reverie long after the match is over. His preview before the England-Bangladesh debut of IIC CT 2017 was a pyramid of precision. "England's batting is dynamic. Their bowling attack with (Mark) Wood, (Liam) Plunkett, (Chris) Woakes and co will test the Bangladeshis on a bouncy oval pitch," he said.

Rameez Raja
Deep gravel grained voice with years of cricketing anecdotes and experiences between his ears, Rameez is an objective and deeply passionate commentator who gives us an honest truthful narrative of Pakistan's see saw performance on the field. While he rues the low moment of being vulnerable to Morne Morkel he has a lilt in his voice when he looks at the DRS and find Pakistan is 19 runs ahead of South Africa. Whether Pakistan wins or loses his pleasantries on the mike give us meaty morsels of actualities between the stumps.

Ravi Shastri
The tall graceful Bosco boy from Mumbai races ahead because of his complete knowledge of the game, his immense love for cricketing traditions, and frank and forthright opinions, when he calls a spade a spade. Shastri has a brilliant memory, and it is his instant recall (which helps us understand patterns/motions we might otherwise have missed).

Not that he doesn't lack humour, he sometimes refreshes with a curious and quirky perspective, as he packs in cricketing elements into a voice that reflects a crisp, clear and authoritative collective of personalised convictions through the overs. More often than his pre-match predictions have been top boilers.
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