Navjot Singh Sidhu: A cherry on the top
A vibrant, charismatic and a jovial personality brimmed with wittiness, he has been a cricketer, a politician, a television show judge, an orator, a cricket analyst and the commentator in his life.
As a brute force in the cricket world, this man has defined his own genre of commentary. In his language, “chak de phattey napp de killi, raat nu Jalandhar savere Dilli” means let’s do it. Bravo means “chha gaye guru” and a Hi5 is “khatak”. He is the man of metaphors: Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The control that he shows on air is prolific. His well versed sentences and the catchy one-liners are a treat for the ears of a cricket lover. As a matter of fact, he is bracketed in the list of world’s best commentators along the likes of Harsha Bhogle, Ravi Shastri, David Lloyd, Geoffrey Boycott and Tony Greig.
His proficiency in four different languages – Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu combined with his straight forward approach makes him as one of the smartest orators out there. In case you are a hardcore Hindi commentary loving person or you miss the good old radio style commentary these days, he is the man to listen. For me, the way he talks is definitely a cherry on top of a cricket game.
I have compiled a list of some of his best one-liners while listening to his commentary and reading about him over the years and would like to share it with everyone. This probably is the best and the most interesting part of the write-up. Read them, cherish them and have a hearty laugh.
Category 1: The funny ones
1. Once Ganguly took a catch that went high up in the air – “That ball went so high it could have got an air hostess down with it!”
2. In the midst of a verbal duel with Martin Crowe – “Wickets are like wives – you never know which way they will turn!”
3. “The only thing that can be earned without hard work is dandruff.”
Category 2: The ones complimenting the people
1. At Feroz-shah-Kotla – “Kumble’s bowling at the moment is flat as a dosa.”
2. When Eoin Morgan hit a six off the last ball to win the T20 against India, “toofani chhakka, sultani chhakka aur hindustan hakka bakka.” (a classy six, a vintage one that baffled the Indians.)
Category 3: The ones mocking the people
1. Highlighting SA’s choking abilities in major tournaments – “Cooker aur South Africa, pressure mein dono ki seeti baj jaati hai.” (Under pressure conditions the way a pressure cooker whistles, the proteas cannot control their nerves and they let things go.)
2. “If Ajit Agarkar is an all-rounder, I’m Aishwarya Rai.”
Category 4: The ones with philosophical touch
1. “No one travels the road to success without a puncture or two.”
2. “Experience is like a comb that life gives you when you are bald.”
4. “Humility is like an underwear. You have to wear it but should not show it.”
Category 5: Incidents to remember
1. Once Pak needed 14 to win off 2 balls.
Rameez Raja: Pakistan can win if it gets a six on a no-ball.
Navjot Singh Sidhu: If my aunt had a mustache, I would have called her uncle.
2. This quote was made after Ganguly called Dravid for a run and midway sent him back. Dravid was run out in the third Test against the West Indies at Barbados – “Ganguly has thrown a drowning man both ends of the rope.”
And finally my personal favorite,
“Statistics are like miniskirts my dear friend, they reveal more than what they hide.”
Behind a successful commentator there is a cricketer Sidhu as well.
Sherry paaji debuted against WI in 1983 with the tag of a “strokeless wonder” after his first game and retired in 1999 from international cricket with 7000+ runs under his name and a reputation of the man who ripped spinners apart – the “Sixer Sidhu”.
I still have a vague childhood memory of the time India were playing against Pakistan and Sidhu tried to sneak out a cheeky single through mid-off. He sprinted like the great Milkha Singh and what followed was memorable. Steve Bucknor and Sidhu were lying flat on the ground. No doubt the crowd went berserk as he had knocked down the guy, who majority of the Indians didn’t like.
I regard him as a wise soul, a person with a positive mindset. Some may criticise him for being hyperactive and the fact that he doesn’t let others speak much, but that’s the way he is my dear friend.
The amount of knowledge and enthusiasm that revolves around this character is impeccable, which many a times has proved contagious in the commentary box as well. His witty and sarcastic attitude reminds me of Khushwant Singh at times. On a lighter note, I am still waiting for the day when Mr. Sidhu gets face to face in a heated up and a healthy debate with Mr. Arnab Goswami. A perfect match indeed.
Keep up the spirit Sherry paaji and hope to see more of Sidhuism over the years.