The superlative overdose
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