There was a time when commentators used to mesmerize listeners and viewers with their remarkable coverage of the sport. Every move on the field was diligently scrutinized. Players were praised and criticized limitlessly. Commentary changed the way men perceived sports. It became a complete entertainment package. No less, when it comes to cricket. The era of Richie Benaud and Tony Grieg with their booming voices bursting through their mouth pieces. Millions of people around the world yearned to listen to this immaculate and precise coverage. It was the golden era of cricket commentary. It started with the World Series Cricket established by the biggest sport-entertainment entrepreneur Kerry Packer. It led to a change in how people perceived and understood this beautiful game. It gave them a different perspective and watching a match without commentary became torturous.
As time passes by, lots of old skills are lost and forgotten. Commentary in cricket is certainly one amongst them. Long gone are the times when the seam position and wrist action of a bowler or the back lift of the batsmen is discussed. New age commentators go on to discuss their favorite way of eating Biriyani. Indeed, we are in an age where sport equals entertainment. Money is splurged into market sports and players become a part of Cash-rich leagues like the IPL and the Big Bash League. But does it really justify the changing trends of commentary. What must really be the focus of discussion between commentators? And how can we improve the standards of commentary in this day and age?
One of the biggest issue that startles me is how commentators nowadays are extremely biased towards their home teams and players. They blow trumpets about the players of their home country and turn a blind eye towards the achievements of the opposition. They neglect the wrong decisions that their home team makes and undermines the good ones that the opposition makes. Such commentary makes watching the sport a horrible experience for the neutral viewer. It is very distasteful for a true fan of the sport.
Not all the recent recruits are experts of the game. Most of them lack the ability to communicate what they really want to convey and focus on lot less important matters while commentating. Gone are the days when commentators are appreciated for their knowledge of the sport. Now it is retired cricketers finding a source of income hiding behind a veil of so called experience playing the game. TV broadcasters prefer these retired cricketers for their popularity among the fans. It definitely is a way to reconnect with their fans but their services in the commentary box is killing what was a precious addition to the way people watched the game.
I think it is high time we as a sport loving community introspect and understand what commentators truly represent. For, it is for the fans that TV channels hire commentators in the first place. Our opinion is of high value. Flushing out this new age commentary and going back to what it truly represents should be the way forward.