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Cricket commentators: The 'voice' of the sport!

Cricket – The gentlemen’s game; not a day goes by in India without the slightest mention of the sport, the cricketers, IPL, BCCI and its never ending monopoly. Everything contributes to how much popularity the sport has gained since its introduction to us by the British.

The love for the game is almost embedded into the heart and soul of the average Indian, a sport that every generation watches with earnest, with nothing but love for the game and its players. Well, we all know cricket isn’t only about the players, it’s about the coaches, the ground staff, the administrators and, in the case of the IPL, the team owners and the omnipresent and stylish cheerleaders!

Apart from all these important figures in world cricket, there is also one very important aspect to the game: the commentators, or as I would like to call them, ‘The ‘Voice’ of the sport’!

Every commentator who sits for a game in the box or in the studio, makes his/her own contribution to the game. They voice their own opinions ever so gently, almost as if it’s a routine, as though they were destined to talk about the sport and its players. A commentator is one who gets you to listen to the intricate details of a game, the technicalities of the sport. Becoming a commentator is no mean feat; it takes years of experience and oratory skills beyond those of an average fan. They must be well versed in almost everything going on, and also remain totally unbiased while doing so.

Each one has their own style, their own idiosyncrasies which make them unique to the game, their own signature and legacy. A commentator could be a person who may have wanted to reach the pinnacle in the sport, but may not have done so due to various reasons; or he could be one who is so close to the sport that even after bidding farewell to the game, they’d rather stay as close to their life’s first true love as possible!

Everyone, I mean every single fan who watches a game on TV, always looks forward to a particular batsman to walk out to bat or maybe a certain eccentric bowler who’s extremely effective in cleaning up the opposition. Well, for me, it would always be the moment when Richard ‘Richie’ Benaud would take his place at the commentary box and take me to a place so far away from the flaws of the game that I would immediately stop criticizing the players, and end up praising the true orator that was Richie Benaud.

Even today, there are numerous commentators that can make the game look so beautiful that I start confusing the gentleman’s game with the beautiful game. First names that comes to mind are that of Ravi Shastri and Harsha Bhogle. They are absolutely brilliant in what they do. Both arrogance and perfection find place in their analysis of the game.

So, here’s to celebrating these unsung heroes that make the experience of watching a game, a truly memorable one! Kudos and cheers!

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