Several retired Indian internationals have picked up the mic with the intention of transitioning from on-field whites to wearing a suit in the commentary box. That said, very few have made the cut and ever fewer have managed to turn the job into a full-time profession. Ravi Shastri belongs to the small list of cricketers who have made a successful transition to the commentary box.
Ever since the former all-rounder made his debut as a television commentator during the World Masters Tournament in Mumbai in 1993, he’s been one of the most recognisable voices in world cricket. His reading of the game coupled with sharp, unflinching narration of the on-field proceedings makes him one of the best in the business. Add to this the fact that he’s always on air during the fag end of the match, means that he’s trusted to take the viewers through the crunch moments of the game.
The Natwest series final at Lords in 2002 and Shastri was on air to declare – “India win”. And who could forget his voice in the final of the 2011 World Cup with the ball soaring high into the stands as MS Dhoni won the game for India. These moments and several of Shastri’s one liner’s have turned him into a fan favourite and invited the occasional troll as well.
His comments range from stating the obvious with – “If India want to win here, they will need to play well”, to the – "Edged and taken.” But his masterpiece is well and truly this – “Raced to the boundary like a tracer bullet.”
And in keeping with several internet challenges that have been springing up across the globe, Ravi Shastri’s biggest contribution to cricket commentary was turned into a challenge as well. The commentators for the ongoing India-England Test series were invited to take the challenge with the man himself rating every rendition. While Sunil Gavaskar was deemed to have done well, Mike Atherton and Deepdas Gupta received a thumbs-down.
After the commentators, the baton was passed on to the Indian players. Never shy to accept a challenge, Virat Kohli stepped up and led from the front here as well. Thereafter R Ashwin had a go, followed by Hardik Pandya.
Not one to left behind, Rahul Dravid hopped on the bandwagon and threw his hat in the ring as well with his impersonation of Ravi Shastri.