October 11, 2009

Champions League 2009

The miking of Tresco

Andrew Hughes


Here we are now, entertain us © Getty Images
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“Make some noise!” screamed the DJ, although from where I was sitting, the Hyderabad crowd needed no instructions in the etiquette of din-making. A raucous, joyful racket seems to come naturally to an Indian cricket audience, as does its counterpart: complete and utter silence. And the passing from one state to the other can be disconcerting to the non-Indian, sofa-bound viewer. In the time it took the white ball bowled by Peter Trego to pass VVS Laxman’s bat and crash into the stripe-y stumps, the deafening nightclub atmosphere of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium was replaced by a quiet so complete and so eerie that we could have been watching a county game at Taunton. At first, I thought I’d pressed the mute button by mistake.

“I want rainy sixes”, read one banner in the crowd, clearly fashioned by a Somerset fan pining for the dampness of old Blighty. There was no rain, but there were sixes, my favourite ones being those dished up by Venugopal Rao, who for his first effort seemed barely to touch bat on ball but managed to send it crashing into the Deccan-blue plastic chairs beyond the long-on boundary. And, mercy of mercies, these big hits were entirely unsponsored. They were sixes in their natural state, as God intended them, with just a comforting cliché or two (“Oh that’s gone a long way!”) to mark their passing.

Some IPL innovations are hard to shake off, though. For some reason, Marcus Trescothick was miked up, and halfway through the Deccan innings Harsha Bhogle engaged him in a meandering conversation that redefined the word “interminable”. Eventually, poor Trescothick was allowed to concentrate on the game, although not before an edge from Rohit Sharma went flying past his left hand as he stood at slip. Bhogle speculated excitedly what it would have been like if Trescothick had been talking to them as he took the catch. More pertinently, we wondered what it would have been like if the incessant prattling of the studio-jockey had caused him to drop it.

And alongside the irrepressible Harsha was one time fast bowler and Atherton-baiter, Allan Donald, in his new incarnation as commentator-cum-expert. It’s early days but I am pleased to report that he is already showing the skills you need to ascend to the punditry pantheon. For example, as the Somerset run-chase faltered, Craig Kieswetter lofted a ball from Pragyan Ojha high towards long-on. Donald seized his moment. “Shot!” he exclaimed, confidently, “And this could be out as well… it is! Not a good shot!” With such admirable verbal dexterity, Donald could be a fixture in the commentary box for many years to come.

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Posted by Abhishek on (October 31, 2009, 15:26 GMT)

A few facts about Harsha Bhogle:

He is an IIM-A graduate, which means that he has come on top in a selection procedure which has a rejection ratio of about 1000:1.

He is a respected presenter on the biggest sports network in India : ESPNStar and has been for a long time (15 years or so).

Add to this a widely held perception that his comments during a match are seldom dull and quite frequently enliven an otherwise boring match proceeding. His zest for the game beats almost any brit commentator by miles. Please do your homework before criticizing a man that none of you can be even half as good as.

Posted by Venkat on (October 20, 2009, 16:23 GMT)

The most irritating and partial commentator i have seen/heard was Sidhu and is Mark Nicholas!

Posted by Marto on (October 17, 2009, 14:42 GMT)

Harsha Bhogle could have been the straw that broke Trescothick's back. I choose to blame Harsha Bhogle for Trescothick's return home.

Posted by Lucy Ferr on (October 14, 2009, 22:26 GMT)

Miking isn't a bad thing. Distracting the players during the game is a bad thing. I agree the latter should be banned, but I would like to see more of the former. Like in Rugby Union, where the refs are miked and the spectators can hear every word they say. The refs aren't distracted since they aren't trying to say anything outside the game (no irritating commentators are talking to them) and the spectators get a taste of on-field activity.

In fact, I'd like the entire wicket area to be miked so that we can hear the sledging. And if players are embarassed for the world (and their mothers) to hear the verbal abuse they hurl at each other, then they shouldn't be uttering such filth, should they? Besides, if sledging is as cool and witty and 'all in good fun' as the cricketers claim, I want in on it!

Posted by siddharth Mirashi on (October 13, 2009, 21:05 GMT)

Guys guys..all those who are hating harshas commentary I would request them to put their remote controls on mute simple..coz clearly espn star sports one of the world leader in sports admire him and hence hes on their commentary panel for the last 15 years..also hes one of the guys who havent picked up a bat yet is in the television commentary and presenting business for quite a while and I think that speaks volumes..so bhogle haters plz can you please press mute coz clearly people love him..so shoo..

Posted by srikanth on (October 13, 2009, 13:15 GMT)

I think harsha bhogle is the best commentator ever. He is also the most entertaining, just that his sense of humour is very intellectual and some don't understand it.

Posted by srikanth on (October 13, 2009, 13:11 GMT)

I think harsha bhogle is the best commentator ever. He is also the most entertaining, just that his sense of humour is very intellectual and some don't understand it.

Posted by Jonathan on (October 13, 2009, 5:21 GMT)

Miking players is an IPL innovation?

Posted by Arshad Khan on (October 12, 2009, 9:20 GMT)

I would not agree with Bingo Haley when he says Harsha is a stupid commentator. On the contrary, I think, he makes a lot of sense most of the times - it is just that he is a bit more wordy and philosophical. And he certainly is a non-partisan, as cocmpared to the likes of Simon Doull!!

Posted by Armchair Pundit on (October 12, 2009, 8:56 GMT)

"Harsha Bhogle is the most irritating commentator around." - couldn't have said it better, Michael Ince.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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