April 11, 2012

IPL 2012

The superlative overdose

Nikita Bastian
Rohit Sharma smashed a six off the final ball, Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2012, Visakhapatnam, April 9, 2012
Does dispatching a full toss to the boundary qualify as "brilliant"?  © AFP
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By Harshad Sardeshmukh, India

While watching the IPL can be a lot of fun at times, the quality of the cricket is not always the greatest. Considering the matches are mostly played on flat decks with lightning-fast outfields, it isn’t only going to be the “outstanding” batsmen who score runs. The mediocre one’s also score their fair share. But if one were to listen to the commentators without actually watching the match, he would be forgiven for thinking that every batsmen participating in the IPL is blessed with an abundance of talent.

Every shot that fetches a boundary is either “magnificent” or “excellent”. What about the sixes then? Well, since they fetch more runs than the fours, they have to be something better. “Extraordinary” maybe?

The commentators really need to go easy on the superlatives. Sure, we Indians are obsessed with batting and, in most cases, nothing excites the viewer more than a shot to the fence. But does that mean that every shot is brilliant? Not quite. A simple tap-in from inside the penalty area is a goal, so is a curler from outside the box. But would both of them draw the same comments from the pundits? No. The tap-in is the bread and butter goal, something you would expect the striker to put away. The curler on the other hand is something special. It deserves much credit.

Similarly putting away full tosses, while not a given, is expected of the batsmen. Nothing overly magnificent about it. A fluid Tendulkar straight drive, a commanding Ponting pull or a Laxman flick off a delivery from outside off, these could be termed majestic. These are the screamers from outside the area. These deserve all the praise they can get.

By qualifying each and every shot as an extraordinary achievement, some viewers may fail to appreciate the shots that are actually of high quality or difficult to execute. You would think the commentators, most of them former cricketers, would know the difference. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Blame it on all the grandiose associated with the IPL. And the poor quality of television commentary in general these days. The fact that every six is termed a DLF maximum may have something to do with it. Maybe we aren’t far away from the day when even a forward defensive is “out of this world”.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Amarpreet on (April 14, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

@Aditya - "Ambuja Cement solid Defence" Thats just a work of a genius!! LMAO loved it! Much better than the Karbon Kamaal and DLF MAXIMUM!

Posted by Kamrul Islam on (April 13, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

I agree with the writer but what he thought to put some football example in cricket. Do he believe we understand football goal better then cricket shots?? Ridiculous! Try rocket science next time.

Posted by Shaan on (April 13, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

Great article :) n every catch(easyone or hardone) , they always used to " KARBON KAMAL CATCH " and city magic moment of success, lack of grammer.

Posted by Royston on (April 12, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

This pretty much explains why we are going to be a poor cricketing nation - perform poorly overseas and all is forgotten at the IPL. Our Indian Cricketer commentators too are paid to support the BCCI - give them money and they will say anything.

In the end we shall have the richest cricket board, commentators and cricketors but the worst 'Cricket' team.

Posted by John zong on (April 12, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Ipl is nothing but a circus show and commentators have started to play clowns more actively. Thank heavens for test cricket. This t20 cricket is nauseating, honestly. Australia-Windies and England-Srilanka matches were absorbing and truly high class cricket.

Posted by Ramya R on (April 12, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

superb article harshad. Everything about IPL is about hype and money so is the commentary. Higher the degree of adjective used, more the viewer attention n more the moolah.

Posted by VINEET ASHOK on (April 12, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Good Blog Harshad..............keep it up

Posted by aditya on (April 12, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

the lats line- It will soon be called "Ambuja Cement solid Defence"

Posted by Jay on (April 12, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Quite right, the commentators can't wait to use the superlative and of-course prefixed by the sponsor names, guess they are obliged to do it perhaps tele-prompted.

Posted by Sriram on (April 12, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

The best was yesterday when a KP edge of Botha went for 4 and was termed as magnificent timing, it was a pure edge and was beaten by Botha, KP's powerful arms took it to the boundary..Attrocious commentary

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