Friday, March 27, 2009


Ranjit & Rameez Simply Do Not Cut It


So I was wrong about the BCCI and their intentions with respect to shifting IPL2 out of India. In fact, the egotist in me is inclined to believe that Lalit Modi surreptitiously read my musings and his larger-than-life ego forced him to prove me wrong. Lucky the egotist within me is not a dominant force, otherwise I wouldn’t blame you for believing me to be somewhat deluded.

More significant than my ego is news that the IPL (read BCCI) has signed a new TV rights deal for the next nine years – with the same group with which it terminated its previous broadcasting contract. Huh?

Word is that the BCCI hadn’t counted on IPL1 being such a huge success and wanted to milk the TV contract within an inch of its life. To boot, Lalit Modi was a friend of the previous CEO of the rights-holder and speculation exists that he didn’t really like the new kid on the block. Add to this a clause which allowed the BCCI to tear up the contract at any time of its choosing and the world was burdened with another situation in which the BCCI was free to act like a thousand pound gorilla.

Before I bore you with another rant about my pet peeve, the real reason for this post was a quote from Manjit Singh, new CEO of recently reinstated broadcaster:
"At Multi Screen Media & World Sport Group we have done some pioneering work in showcasing cricket in an entertaining and informative way and we will continue to innovate and extend the excitement of cricket through the IPL."
Once again we have another cricket broadcaster well and truly missing the point. A game of cricket is entertaining because of the deeds of the cricketers on the park, not because of the frills and follies of the presenters or the commentators. At most, cricket commentators are like the smidgen of parmesan cheese that I sprinkle on my pasta – they add to the flavour and texture, they don’t create it.

This is especially true when you have the likes of Rameez Raza, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Ranjit Fernando (and by no means is this a complete list) occupying the box. Give them cans of Pepsi / Coke to promote and you have a recipe to make even the most placid viewer cringe dry wrench.

On behalf of all cricket fanatics the world over, I plead with the broadcasters of IPL2 to first and foremost, not steal the cricketers’ limelight - commentators are accessories to the action, they are not the main event. Second, commentators shouldn’t be promoting anything during a match because a) they’re not very good actors, and b) we’re burdened with enough ads without having our intelligence further insulted. Last but not least, commentators don’t have to be gun ex-players. Normal people with proper spoken English skills, a passion for the game and knowledge of its working will, more often than not, suffice.

I have a feeling that my protests / suggestions will, once again, fall on deaf ears. But hey, why suffer in silence? I prefer to go down fighting.


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