The miking of Tresco
“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.
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England