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Laxman Sivaramakrishnan: Diluting the art of cricket commentary

This article is not immersed in diplomacy and thus, it may hurt some people’s sentiments. I, for one, don't indulge in name-calling and take shots at people in general and tend to avoid or ignore such instances that make me feel so. But sometimes you are not only hurt but also feel disgusted to such an extent that you feel like getting it all out from your system once and for all in attempt to feel better.

The second qualifier of the IPL 7 that was played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai had it everything that a cricket fan wanted. High scoring, relatively close game with finally two Indian batsmen showing their class on a very important night. I loved each and every moment of it except for one thing. It has left a sour spot in otherwise a magnificent night of cricket. The thing, or rather the person, whom I am talking about is the commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. Never have I seen such abashedly biased and completely one-sided commentary in my entire life. And he has been consistent with his antics over the last seven seasons. Sorry sir but I can't take it anymore and I want to let you know the same through this article.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan or Siva, as he fondly called by his colleagues, found little voice during the entire Kings XI Punjab's batting and the Raina's spectacle was required to make him speak. So much so that Harsha Bhogle, in the commentary box, commented after one of Raina's super shot, “And all of a sudden, Siva has found his voice!” It looked a friendly banter but I would like to see it as a crisp comment on his commentary style. It correctly sums up Siva’s commentary stint over the 7 seasons of IPL.

The most important criteria for a commentator, according to my limited knowledge and observation, should be that the person should be able to describe what’s happening in the middle effectively, enlighten the viewers with something that the viewers also see but can't decipher themselves and above all refrain from all biasness from his views. I don't want to comment on the first two aspects with respect to to Siva's commentary and limit myself only to the third point which is the most crucial point for me, as an ardent viewer and fan of cricket. And it is in this very department that I find Laxman Sivaramakrishnan guilty.

It is one thing to back your team, but it should not get into the way of the viewers and disrupt their experience on television. All people have their views and it is the right of a commentators to have theirs too. We have witnessed the affection towards the double Ds and double Gs from Danny Morrison and may be from others as well. But they pick their favourites only in the pre or post-match analysis and refrain from taking any sides as soon as they step into the commentary box.

Siva with Ben Hilfenhaus (CSK)

Alas! Siva fails to demarcate this line for himself. As a result, he explicitly shows his pro-CSK side even inside the commentary box. The other side never does anything right according to him. He makes the game sound as if only one team is playing in the field and i.e. CSK. It’s high time he should realise that being a commentator is a job like all other jobs and that it should be handle it with responsibility and not take the job for granted and ruin the experiences for many of the viewers who just want to witness a good game of cricket.

Although I am a nobody, but I still want to advise Mr. Sivaramakrishnan to watch England's Mr. Nasser Hussain at work. He may not be one of the most articulate commentators around but he surely talks sense most of the times. Never immerses himself in any biases, nor takes any sides unnecessarily. Just pure cricket and a delightful experience for a cricket viewer. May be Siva can pick up a lesson or two in commentary from him.

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