Television March 27, 2011

Television has stopped play

Those who grew up with a love of the game before the era of television coverage, when the words of radio commentators and great cricket books were all one had to go by, were forced to fill the gaps with their own imaginations

Those who grew up with a love of the game before the era of television coverage, when the words of radio commentators and great cricket books were all one had to go by, were forced to fill the gaps with their own imaginations. The changing times have shaped a new generation's attitude to cricket and cricketers, writes Suresh Menon in Tehelka.

Radio gave the necessary distance—there was not the easy familiarity that television fosters. I once introduced Krishnamachari Srikkanth to a professor who was shocked for a moment that the player didn’t recognise him. “I thought you would be familiar with me the same way I am familiar with you,” he explained. There is something to be said for the romance of the radio, but that is nothing compared to the thrill of television. Increasingly, the camera work takes you closer and closer to the action, statistics are generated regularly, and even if the commentary is sometimes irritating, that is a small price to pay for getting the Tendulkars and Dravids and Sehwags playing in your drawing rooms.

A whole generation has moved from being doers to watchers; from being askers of questions to providers of expertise based on television’s punditry. First class matches, often sold out a quarter century ago, don’t draw crowds.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article