August 17, 2011

Blame the BCCI, not Gavaskar and Shastri

The two commentators are merely the messengers. The problem is with the medium and the message, and the board wants to control all three
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The day after England's win over India at Lord's, the Independent published an article by Angus Fraser on how the Middlesex staff coped with the extra rush on "People's Monday". With tickets costing a flat £20 and all four results still possible, the people responded with a record turnout, and Fraser's article detailed the backroom efforts, with all hands on deck, to sell the tickets in time for play. The article, affectionate and positive, was obviously written from an insider's perspective, and sure enough it had this line at the end: Angus Fraser is the former cricket correspondent at the Independent and current director of cricket at Middlesex. With that one line the newspaper both underlined the credibility of its reportage and answered upfront any question of bias.

In a slightly different scenario, and on a broader canvas, a similar disclaimer could have helped Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri avoid the sort of controversy they have found themselves in over the past fortnight. As India's tour of England has collapsed spectacularly, Indian journalists and fans - and, indeed, much of the British sports media - have blamed the BCCI for its inept management of the cricket team. Gavaskar and Shastri have been the most visible targets. Two of the country's best-known commentators, they are on the ESPN-Star Sports panel for the Indian broadcast, but are full-time employees of the BCCI, and are thus seen to have a conflict of interest.

Their role with the BCCI was formalised in 2009 but it has come into sharp focus on this tour, especially given the board's direct role in several issues, including DRS and the team's pre-tour preparations, that have influenced the series and dominated discussions. Gavaskar and Shastri have been adjudged to be ambivalent in their stand on these issues, unwilling to directly criticise the board, which pays their salaries. It has provoked a series of articles in the Indian media, including a cover story in a leading newsweekly, titled "Cricket's voice or BCCI's voice?" The issue bubbled over during the Trent Bridge Test in a sharp exchange, live and on screen, between Nasser Hussain and Ravi Shastri, when Hussain called the BCCI stand on DRS a "disgrace". Hussain's pithy line, repeated several times: I'm paid by ESPN to voice my opinion. The implication was not lost on the discerning viewer.

In their defence, Shastri and Gavaskar have said they are not bound by their contracts to refrain from criticising the BCCI and say they have done so in their syndicated newspaper columns.

In my book, the problem is not Gavaskar and Shastri in the first place. Their position is no better or worse than the prevailing state of Indian journalism, which is often seen as sensationalist and jingoistic, has formalised the practice of "paid news" (the phrase is self-explanatory), and is currently suffering a serious crisis of credibility. With a few exceptions, cricket coverage in India is one-dimensional, obsessed with the national team and its stars, and caters to the lowest common denominator. The Indian media has built the huge culture that fuels the cricket economy and is now feeding off it - there is no reason for it to change.

In any case, Gavaskar and Shastri are merely the messengers; the problem is with the medium and the message - and in Indian cricket the board controls all three. It runs a gravy train that involves almost everyone who's anyone in Indian cricket. Make that world cricket. India's coronation as a cricketing power took place in the span of a few months - from September 2007, when the team won the inaugural World Twenty20, to January 2008, by which time the IPL had sewn up more than $1.7 billion in revenues from the sale of franchise and TV rights. There was no shortage of evangelists to spread the gospel. Shastri led the way, calling Lalit Modi the Moses of world cricket, with Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, and even the usually reticent MAK Pataudi, jumping on board. You'd have thought that that sort of power would bring a certain level of assurance, but the bigger the BCCI got the more it sought to control things. The hired commentator was round the corner.

In this climate, would Gavaskar and Shastri appear less tainted (or more credible) if they were not employees of the BCCI but instead merely serving on one or other of its many committees? Would their reluctance, during this series, to join in the general BCCI-bashing then have been seen as fence-sitting, mature restraint, or the conflict of an unseen interest at play?

This may appear a cynical perspective, but the BCCI's operating practices don't help. Television rights - covering production and broadcast - to cricket in India are owned by Nimbus, which screens matches on its Neo channels. Production, including the composition of commentators' panels, is done with the BCCI aesthetic in mind (the board's logo is featured on the screen) and usually excludes, coincidentally or otherwise, commentators who have been critical of the board.

It would be best if the BCCI, instead of managing TV coverage by remote control, simply set up its own channel. It certainly has the finances to do so and the manpower. And its hired commentators, when loaned out to other channels, would then be deployed as the board's official spokesmen

The BCCI is not the only large sporting body to control television programming. Most top sports clubs have channels or supply programming that is tightly controlled and carefully scripted. Cricket's own precedent is Kerry Packer's World Series, and probably the most famous example is MUTV, run by Manchester United, whose clear bias would be an inspiration to the BCCI - the channel is known as "Pravda" for its one-eyed dissemination of events.

But there is a difference between what United does - or what, for example, Sahara Warriors Pune would possibly do on one of its owner's television channels - and what the BCCI does. The difference is in their mandate. One is a strictly commercial (family-owned) enterprise, its sole purpose the enhancement of its brand and the protection of its bottomline. The BCCI's mandate is far wider - it is the custodian of the game in India, responsible for everything from its nurturing at the grassroots to its flowering at the top.

The problem is not Gavaskar's and Shastri's employment status - though it is out of sync with established procedure overseas, where respected commentators like Hussain and Michael Atherton are contracted by the broadcaster and have been known to be critical of the ECB. In Australia, Channel 9's Mark Taylor is also an unpaid member of the CA board but is such an active member, and so often critical of his own board, that his objectivity has not yet been called into question. Neither Gavaskar nor Shastri is, or will really be seen as, a journalist, though they earn their salary as media men.

It would probably be best if the BCCI nailed its colours to the mast and, instead of managing TV coverage by remote control, simply set up its own channel. It certainly has the finances to do so and the manpower too. And its hired commentators, when loaned out to other channels, would then be deployed as the board's official spokesmen. It would be great if, for example, they could then explain logically and coherently the board's stand on issues such as team selection (selection meetings are almost never followed by press conferences), the IPL, the DRS, series against Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the apparent conflict of interest in N Srinivasan running the IPL and owning one of the teams involved.

If not, the future is here. There is a younger, more insightful, more connected commentator in the box who isn't pulling his punches. Sourav Ganguly isn't yet contracted to the BCCI, nor, given his other commitments, likely to be. How the board deals with him will be interesting - as it always has been.

Note: The third paragraph from the end had a reference to Sanjay Manjrekar, which was edited out after the article was first published.

Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo in India

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 18, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Gavsakar and shastri are stereo typed commentatotrs , they cannot become Anna hazare of Indian cricket till they have conflict of interest. Choose one my friends , and comment DIL SE .Not fearing anybody , Check out Boycotts comment with Harsha.

  • Herbet on August 18, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    In my view the best and most measured commentators are Bill Lawrie, Mike Artherton, Tony Cozier, Rameez Raja and Mark Taylor. Some are good but too biased to their own nation, such as maybe Nick Knight, Nasser Hussain and Ian Chappel, and some, like Ian Botham and Harsha Bogle, are just annoying! I think Tony Greig gets too ecxited, over pretty much anything and David Gower isn't insightful enough. Gavaskar is good at analyzing batsmen. Its a shame Geoff Boycott isn't on TV anymore, I wonder why Sky have never approached him, maybe Botham overruled it?!!

  • Herbet on August 18, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    @ rkannancrown. Why would Nasser Hussain be jealous of the BCCI, he is an ex-cricketer turned journalist, the BCCI is a national cricket board, what could he be jealous about, he can hardly aspire to be the BCCI can he? He is critisising them because they used their power to ban the DRS system when there was no reason to, it is T20 obsessed and doesn't look after their test team properly, or at least not on this tour anyway! The BCCI can't take any credit for either the India test team getting to No.1 or winning the world cup. The players that made it happen, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid, Dhoni, Khan etc came up through talent, not because the BCCI found and flowered them. The 'jealousy' argument was just a petty comment Shastri made because he knew he was cornered and had nothing better to say.

  • on August 18, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    Oh Thanks ALLAH , atleast its not only me and my friends who were feeling that most of the iNDIAN Commentators were bais , well this should be taken in account and other issues like Control of Cricket should also brought in Balance. People are going Away from Cricket we should keep in mind we viewer bring charm to cricket. IF THINGS ARE Same for everyone IT WILL ONLY Benifit CRICKET.

  • venkatesh018 on August 18, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Really as mentioned in the column, Saurav Ganguly seems to be a breath of fresh air, compared to Shastri and Gavaskar. Hope he stays independent for a long time.

  • on August 18, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    One day, BCCI would buy the whole game of cricket! I see that day in next 25 years!

  • on August 18, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    Gavaskar and Shastri are the real issue. They seem to have infinite greed and zero conscience. How is it not their fault then?

    I don't understand this article at all. Its not as simple as someone being opportunistic. Its 2 beacons of light of Indian cricket in the past, letting the country down.

  • BullayBaaz on August 17, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    @kr76956 how can you term Cricinof as British Media? They are a division of ESPN, an American company. Most of their writers/editorial staff are of Indian origin as are their readers/viewers.

  • ekdoteen on August 17, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Anna Hazare should next fast on this issue ;-)

  • cricpolitics on August 17, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    It is so painful on ears to hear Shastri commentating. Saurav on the other hand is much bette.

  • on August 18, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Gavsakar and shastri are stereo typed commentatotrs , they cannot become Anna hazare of Indian cricket till they have conflict of interest. Choose one my friends , and comment DIL SE .Not fearing anybody , Check out Boycotts comment with Harsha.

  • Herbet on August 18, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    In my view the best and most measured commentators are Bill Lawrie, Mike Artherton, Tony Cozier, Rameez Raja and Mark Taylor. Some are good but too biased to their own nation, such as maybe Nick Knight, Nasser Hussain and Ian Chappel, and some, like Ian Botham and Harsha Bogle, are just annoying! I think Tony Greig gets too ecxited, over pretty much anything and David Gower isn't insightful enough. Gavaskar is good at analyzing batsmen. Its a shame Geoff Boycott isn't on TV anymore, I wonder why Sky have never approached him, maybe Botham overruled it?!!

  • Herbet on August 18, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    @ rkannancrown. Why would Nasser Hussain be jealous of the BCCI, he is an ex-cricketer turned journalist, the BCCI is a national cricket board, what could he be jealous about, he can hardly aspire to be the BCCI can he? He is critisising them because they used their power to ban the DRS system when there was no reason to, it is T20 obsessed and doesn't look after their test team properly, or at least not on this tour anyway! The BCCI can't take any credit for either the India test team getting to No.1 or winning the world cup. The players that made it happen, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid, Dhoni, Khan etc came up through talent, not because the BCCI found and flowered them. The 'jealousy' argument was just a petty comment Shastri made because he knew he was cornered and had nothing better to say.

  • on August 18, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    Oh Thanks ALLAH , atleast its not only me and my friends who were feeling that most of the iNDIAN Commentators were bais , well this should be taken in account and other issues like Control of Cricket should also brought in Balance. People are going Away from Cricket we should keep in mind we viewer bring charm to cricket. IF THINGS ARE Same for everyone IT WILL ONLY Benifit CRICKET.

  • venkatesh018 on August 18, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Really as mentioned in the column, Saurav Ganguly seems to be a breath of fresh air, compared to Shastri and Gavaskar. Hope he stays independent for a long time.

  • on August 18, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    One day, BCCI would buy the whole game of cricket! I see that day in next 25 years!

  • on August 18, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    Gavaskar and Shastri are the real issue. They seem to have infinite greed and zero conscience. How is it not their fault then?

    I don't understand this article at all. Its not as simple as someone being opportunistic. Its 2 beacons of light of Indian cricket in the past, letting the country down.

  • BullayBaaz on August 17, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    @kr76956 how can you term Cricinof as British Media? They are a division of ESPN, an American company. Most of their writers/editorial staff are of Indian origin as are their readers/viewers.

  • ekdoteen on August 17, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    Anna Hazare should next fast on this issue ;-)

  • cricpolitics on August 17, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    It is so painful on ears to hear Shastri commentating. Saurav on the other hand is much bette.

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on August 17, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    I've watched the SKY channel online here in US and I must say the SKY commentory team was very much onesided and never neutral and some time arrogant.It wasn't a good expewerience to watch them say blah blah.When it comes to analyzing pure batting technique, no one comes closer to Sunil Gavaskar.but in the box Shastri is as good as his batting.Ian Chappel and Mark Taylor are the best when it comes to analyzing tactics from a captions point of view.No one can match Tony Greig in terms of fluency and emotions he put into his commentary.Looks like Warne and Ganguly will excel in their new role as well.I

  • Alexk400 on August 17, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    I see 4 brahmins in that photograph. :D

  • a1234s on August 17, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    Sanjay and now Sourav are the only two fair commentators from India right now. Shastri is getting louder and crazier by the day.

    His analysis of Dhoni's decision to call back Bell was really ridiculous.

  • kr76956 on August 17, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I felt sad when Hussain and Ravi were involved in vocal dual on air as I respect them both. Ravi's anger also stemmed from the fact that popular British media (Cricinfo Included) criticized BCCI for: 1) Its stance on DRS - by the rule of the book BCCI (one of the 2 team boards in recent series) is entitled to go for or opt out the DRS. There is no 'Shame' as Hussain mentioned. But I agree with Hussain when he said Harbhajan would have felt bad when adjudged LBW to Broad when there was a huge nick. 2) The way IPL is run and is effecting test cricket - If that is the point why is bigbash, Oz/ SL have come up with their own T20 leagues. Did Warne, Llyod, Holding, Boycott, SL commentators ever criticize their league for their failures. IPL is bringing out talent however it has its own drawbacks buts its no Devil. For this reason or not Ravi (more often, made fun of even on page 2 articles by novice writers) and Gavaskar have always been in firing line. Blame Cricinfo not Guha and company

  • SixoverSlips on August 17, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    bobogrof, princemoses and others: Yes, we could use more cameras and that would fix the problem. But who would foot the bill? Right now it is the individual countries. ICC plans to find sponsors for the future. But if they could have more cameras, much higher frame rates, and related predictive technology, BCCI's stance would improve.

    As for being correct 90% of the times: No, it does not work like that. The confidence factor for prediction is too low to be passed off as scientifically correct. So it is inaccurate. It is not a matter of % of number of decisions. As I said, the technology would not pass a top scientific journal for its prediction.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 17, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    Rameez Raja is now officially the greatest commentator of the modern era.

  • InnocentGuy on August 17, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    Perfect! But to be honest, Ravi and Sunny are like any other Indian fan. We always feel that the rest of the world looks down on us. So when India won the WC or when India has a successful IPL, we are proud and we try and rub it in others' faces. It's natural that a few outsiders are jealous of our status when its good. But that doesn't mean we generalize and say everyone is jealous of us. The sad thing though is it's alright if a passerby Indian fan says things like these, but it's not excusable when a well-known cricketer who is a voice of Indian cricket says it, that too on live TV. For all the smack that Dhoni has been receiving even after successfully taking India to the top, he's handled himself very well. Maybe the commentators can learn a lesson or two from Dhoni.

  • Pelham_Barton on August 17, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    May I offer a correction that may seem pedantic but is important to some of us? It was not Middlesex staff who were coping with the extra rush on the last day of the Lord's Test, but MCC staff, the M standing for Marylebone NOT Middlesex. While it is true that Middlesex play the majority of their home matches at Lord's, they do so as tenants: it is MCC who provide all of the stewarding. MCC and Middlesex are two different clubs with separate memberships although some people (of whom I have the honour to be one) are members of both. Of course, you are right that Angus Fraser's role with Middlesex gives him an informed view of what is going on at Lord's.

  • indyarox on August 17, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    Listening to Sanjay Manjrekar on SKY in the UK i am convinced he is the most frank of all commentators in India currently. He is quite frank & so is Sourav i understand. Time for ppl like Sanjay, Sourav and Kumble to replace oldies like Sunny and Shastri.

  • on August 17, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    Thankfully, watching Fox Sports in Australia (and I am a supporter of India) the only Indian commentator we had was Sanjay Manjraker. Sanjay is knowledgeable, fair and well spoken. Shastri and Gavaskar comentate in accordance with who pays their salary. I don't really want to hear it. Mr Gavaskar, how about that MRF blimp and the procession of Indian fast bowlers. What a joke!

  • banka on August 17, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    Hey Guy! How about keeping an 'commentator umpire' over the commentators. Somebody who could declare verdict on commentators and give points on commentators(ICC commentor ranking, if required) based on "Stupid comment", "Rowdy comments", "biased comments", "Pro-BCCI comments", "Pro-England comments" of the commentators.

    I still would not be surprised if Sunil Gavaskar would be ranking 1 in the commentator list though.

    Mind you, the 'Commentator Umpire" should be from ICC.

    ICC, are you hearing me???

  • vin77 on August 17, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    A good article.Yes change of gaurd is required in the box as well.From a viewer's perspective a change in voice,views & face can make the coverage a little more interesting.

  • on August 17, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    The issue to my mind is a non-starter. Both Gavaskar and Shastri belong to a "defeatist" era of Indian cricket, when matches would be played out for draws to avoid defeats. They were never big match winners. They generally eked out solid performances..which were however rarely good enough to win the game. This drudgery was mitigated by Kapil's devils who won the World Cup for India which carried this elitist game to every nook and corner of the country. The current team rose from the inspiration of that victory and from the great Indian economic revival under PM Manmohan Singh. The team of India today is the team of India shining , it is the team of an India growing at 10% economically and it rose from the spirit of a confident and successful India. It is therefore no accident that this Team rose to the top of test cricket rankings and stayed there for a long period. A tired and jaded Indian team has lost, but this is but a blip in its graph. India will have many great victories.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on August 17, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Sourav speaks well and is far better than Shastri as a commentator who can only mention "pressure" in every sentence. Sourav's use of words and thoughts to talk on the subject is insightful and far more pleasurable than his stint in the middle. Sourav can indeed be charming as a commentator and as an opinion maker. Gavaskar is still way ahead of any of the commentators while talking on issues which no other commentator would speak on or be very ginger about. Gavaskar speaks on issues re the ICC, BCCI, other test teams and their behaviour, captaincy, Indian players, umpiring and more importantly the technical aspects of the game. He has some depth and insight that came come from only being a master. He is the only guy who will come on air and say what Sachin, Dravid, Dhoni, Sehwag and Zaheer are doing wrong without being diplomatic. He allows people to face reality and stare at shortcomings rather than gloss over them. He has stature. Priceless.

  • princemoses on August 17, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    @Spa-Mater: I'm from India, but I think the stance on DRS is ridiculous from BCCI. I do understand it is not 100% right... it mite b 90%... so be it.... a few millimeters really dont matter... which is y if it is marginal, they leave it to the onfield call... I really think DRS is still far better than without-it... It still helps get better decisions.... v can start using it the way it is and still look for ways to improve it.... no question that v can keep improving that. But ball-tracking is a fair start in its current form.

  • on August 17, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    Shastri and Gavaskar are not messengers by force. Not even by allegiance, if you discount paid-allegiance. Shooting a well-fed messenger, who's accepted the job of his volition and without any form of coercion, is fair game! If you're sure they don't believe the BCCI drivel themselves, that is.

  • on August 17, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    Only a professional would say........" They are not the Bloody No. 1" 2 days before they were to be. Shastri & Co. sold out a long time ago. Hussain, Warne, Llyod, Holding, Boycott............Now thats Commentary

  • rg49274 on August 17, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    DRS is a good technology widely used by people known for using/understanding technology... dont expect india to use it as they dont understand the basics of DRS/ball tracking or hot spot.. DRS is recognised by the technical commitee of the ICC..those people are not fools to use a technology at the ghighest level... all technical aspects are taken into account... stop commenting about DRS and start using it..

  • on August 17, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    The DRS system is necessary. BCCI argues that the DRS is not 100% accurate, well umpire decision is not even 1% accurate in bunch of cases, for example, Harbhajan was clearly given out when the ball hit bat, it was outrageous and it compromise real contest with wrong decision, in same case, if we have DRS system atleast Umpire can correct its wrong decision. Further more, sometimes ball is pitched outside leg stump and given out by umpire, sometimes ball is clearly going to hit the stumps, sometimes no ball and give out, all this errors can be changed with THE DRS systerm. There is not argument for not using it, just you want 100% correct system, what if you making 100% easily notice error in giving decison out while that can be reduce to 90%, why can't you atleast grab that 90% success of the DRS or just follow wrong decision game. BCCI being arrogantly stubburn in that case, Ravi Shastri dumbly giving defence on it. And I like Ravi Shastri.

  • vertical on August 17, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    Yeah shastri and favaskar are very biased commentrators.IN fact I liked sourav's commentary very much.

  • on August 17, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    One who brings his own bat,also dictates his own terms.Before late 90's it were the Aus,Eng etc who ruled the roast.Now it's India's turn.Englishmen enforced batsmen favouring rules eg one bouncer for the over to rule out the affect of West Indies pace bowling.Similarly,now the indians are avoiding DRS in order to take umpiring decisions in their favour at crutial junctions of the match.Suresh Raina was the most recent example in the Lords test day 5.This cat and mouse game will continue till the game exitsts.

  • ar2sun on August 17, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    Conflict of interest always affects credibility of comments made by a commentator whose job is to entertain the TV viewerby giving his expert opinion . Even if the commentator gives his own views on a particular subject , people are bound to question the credibilty of such views when the commentator is a paid spokesperson for a particular cricket board.However on issues such as DRS every board is entitled to have its own opinion based on its experience with the system.As far as the blame on IPL for India's performance is concerned , i feel its being a little unfair to IPL. Lets accept the fact that many players did not have the desire to stay at the crease and build partnerships which are very critical in test cricket.Indian teams body language was poor. However one thing I would like to point out is that only the Indian team seems to be making a lot of fuss about the schedule draining them and the need for rest.Many foreign cricketers are part of IPL or other similar T20 events.

  • Ms.Cricket on August 17, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    It is a conflict of interest. It must not be allowed. Either Gavaskar and Shastri remain independant commentators and quit their BCCI role or they quit as commentators and remain in their BCCI role. No amount of reassurance from them (or anyone in a similar situation) that they are impartial can be seen as legitimate.

  • bobagorof on August 17, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Spa-Master, by that logic the BCCI should be calling for MORE cameras and better positioning so as to bring the system up to standard. Maybe they have, but the only reports I have heard is a constant 'it's not 100% so don't use it', which seems ridiculous given the board's own complaints about umpiring standards (remember Bucknor?). I commend them for standing their ground, but with the reputation gained from past history they appear to be stubborn and self-centred rather than level-headed and rational.

  • NumberXI on August 17, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    Firstly, someone needs to get rid of the shibboleth (if that is the word) that Gavaskar and Shastri do not criticise the BCCI. Not so long ago Gavaskar was critical of the choice of Duncan Fletcher as India coach - as was Kapil Dev. That appointment was not done by the ICC, it was done by the BCCI. Gavaskar has also called into question the commitment players have shown to the IPL as opposed to an India cap - something he is very vocal about - and he specifically stated that if players think IPL is more important, then the board has a right to drop them from the Indian team. Unless you are going to be biased these do not indicate a person unwilling to criticise. I think that objectivity has been the biggest loser - as represented by the slant that M/s Gupta and Guha chose to put to the issue - merely because it is SMG and Shastri, both of whom have never been overly popular with Cricinfo.

  • getsetgopk on August 17, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    one writer says 'strange silence from sastri gavaskar and the other one says dont blame them its the bcci thats the real vilain. but i must agree with the last writer. its bcci's money thats keeping their mouths shut so its bcci the bigger vilain and shastri gavaskar the smaller ones.

  • Stone-Aamir on August 17, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Looks like in future BCCI will be announcing the list of commentators with the list of players for every series india will be playing either home or abroad. Afterall its their right, they got the money and 'money breaks the hardest rules '.

  • Malediction on August 17, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Agree completely with your assessment of Ganguly. Honest, fair and well-balanced. Gavaskar is a dinosaur with a chip on his shoulder the size of Ireland. He is responsible for so many cringe-worthy comments it is amazing that he still has a job. Shastri seems to sit somewhere in the middle. Perhaps a Manjrekar-Ganguly partnership?

  • Romenevans on August 17, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Suggest to BBCI (i Know they won't listen but still) - When you prepare for tours like England, SA and Australia, where the conditions are overcast, pitches are made for pacers with green grass. Then why not create a stadium and similar conditions in northern part of India, where conditions are similar throughout the whole year. For example, Dharamshala cricket stadium and condition are similar to English conditions there. So why not prepare same pitches there and send the team 2-3 week before there, to prepare themselves for similar conditions? It can be easily done, if the intentions are there to play for the nation. But it won't happen because they are running around for money and rubbish IPL. The intent and hunger is missing.

  • bhajji3288 on August 17, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Everybody..... chey.. ESPNSTAR please change the crew you have right now at the commentary box. We need more transparency in everything BCCI do, i feel if we bring Kapil Dev, Tony Greig, Sourav instead of keeping ravi, sunny,ian chappell and wasim. There is no much of exciting in them, they not accepting the fact that IPL also one of the reason for this bad brit tour if not IPL the sole reason. We as a people need more gutsy character and strong voice, should not fear to criticise even Sachin in the Indian Media(Star Cricket in 2012 OZ summer). Also we as a fan want to know more about the BCCI administrator, with this such JAALRA people Indian cricket will never rise to the occasion. ITS VERY SAD TO SEE, OUR GOD OF CRICKET HUMBLED AT BRITAIN WITHOUT ANY MUCH FIGHT. SORRRRRY SACHIN, YOU BETTER RETIRE FROM THIS STUPID GREEDY MANAGEMENT. THIS IS NOT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T PLAY ANY COMPETITIVE CRICKET, YOU ALONE CAN'T MAKE THIS TEAM A BEST IN THE WORLD ONLY BECAUSE OF POOR MANAGEMENT.

  • AllwinJ on August 17, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Well written and sane article. But Manjrekar's is no different from Gavaskar or Shastri. Tired of hearing, 'went like a trace of bullet'... 'in and out'... 'straight as an arrow'... arrows are straight but when released, they dont even travel straight.

  • SixoverSlips on August 17, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    I would be the last person that would defend BCCI. But BCCI's stance on DRS is well-advised by engineers and technical analysts. For once, their stance is correct. The position of cameras for ball tracking technology, the number of cameras and the resulting prediction is so bad that it would not pass a top scientific journal. All the predictive paths we see in TV is quite unreliable. If we have multimple high-frame rate cameras in many positions and many reference frames, then we would go some where. It is true that BCCI's past history has clouded people's view on this matter. But it is also true as Shastri pointed out some people have plainly been jealous of Indian cricket team's achievements, and venting it on BCCI. No, Nasser Hussain is not one of those. I know he appreciates Indian cricket quite a bit, more than many Indians.

  • Naren on August 17, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Definitely Gavaskar or Shastri not to be blamed. When you get paid so much, why would you reject such an offer? Nobody would. But for a cricket fan to hear to the commentary was so irritating. You want to hear the true views of the commentators, not that of BCCI.

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  • Naren on August 17, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Definitely Gavaskar or Shastri not to be blamed. When you get paid so much, why would you reject such an offer? Nobody would. But for a cricket fan to hear to the commentary was so irritating. You want to hear the true views of the commentators, not that of BCCI.

  • SixoverSlips on August 17, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    I would be the last person that would defend BCCI. But BCCI's stance on DRS is well-advised by engineers and technical analysts. For once, their stance is correct. The position of cameras for ball tracking technology, the number of cameras and the resulting prediction is so bad that it would not pass a top scientific journal. All the predictive paths we see in TV is quite unreliable. If we have multimple high-frame rate cameras in many positions and many reference frames, then we would go some where. It is true that BCCI's past history has clouded people's view on this matter. But it is also true as Shastri pointed out some people have plainly been jealous of Indian cricket team's achievements, and venting it on BCCI. No, Nasser Hussain is not one of those. I know he appreciates Indian cricket quite a bit, more than many Indians.

  • AllwinJ on August 17, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Well written and sane article. But Manjrekar's is no different from Gavaskar or Shastri. Tired of hearing, 'went like a trace of bullet'... 'in and out'... 'straight as an arrow'... arrows are straight but when released, they dont even travel straight.

  • bhajji3288 on August 17, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Everybody..... chey.. ESPNSTAR please change the crew you have right now at the commentary box. We need more transparency in everything BCCI do, i feel if we bring Kapil Dev, Tony Greig, Sourav instead of keeping ravi, sunny,ian chappell and wasim. There is no much of exciting in them, they not accepting the fact that IPL also one of the reason for this bad brit tour if not IPL the sole reason. We as a people need more gutsy character and strong voice, should not fear to criticise even Sachin in the Indian Media(Star Cricket in 2012 OZ summer). Also we as a fan want to know more about the BCCI administrator, with this such JAALRA people Indian cricket will never rise to the occasion. ITS VERY SAD TO SEE, OUR GOD OF CRICKET HUMBLED AT BRITAIN WITHOUT ANY MUCH FIGHT. SORRRRRY SACHIN, YOU BETTER RETIRE FROM THIS STUPID GREEDY MANAGEMENT. THIS IS NOT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T PLAY ANY COMPETITIVE CRICKET, YOU ALONE CAN'T MAKE THIS TEAM A BEST IN THE WORLD ONLY BECAUSE OF POOR MANAGEMENT.

  • Romenevans on August 17, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Suggest to BBCI (i Know they won't listen but still) - When you prepare for tours like England, SA and Australia, where the conditions are overcast, pitches are made for pacers with green grass. Then why not create a stadium and similar conditions in northern part of India, where conditions are similar throughout the whole year. For example, Dharamshala cricket stadium and condition are similar to English conditions there. So why not prepare same pitches there and send the team 2-3 week before there, to prepare themselves for similar conditions? It can be easily done, if the intentions are there to play for the nation. But it won't happen because they are running around for money and rubbish IPL. The intent and hunger is missing.

  • Malediction on August 17, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Agree completely with your assessment of Ganguly. Honest, fair and well-balanced. Gavaskar is a dinosaur with a chip on his shoulder the size of Ireland. He is responsible for so many cringe-worthy comments it is amazing that he still has a job. Shastri seems to sit somewhere in the middle. Perhaps a Manjrekar-Ganguly partnership?

  • Stone-Aamir on August 17, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Looks like in future BCCI will be announcing the list of commentators with the list of players for every series india will be playing either home or abroad. Afterall its their right, they got the money and 'money breaks the hardest rules '.

  • getsetgopk on August 17, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    one writer says 'strange silence from sastri gavaskar and the other one says dont blame them its the bcci thats the real vilain. but i must agree with the last writer. its bcci's money thats keeping their mouths shut so its bcci the bigger vilain and shastri gavaskar the smaller ones.

  • NumberXI on August 17, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    Firstly, someone needs to get rid of the shibboleth (if that is the word) that Gavaskar and Shastri do not criticise the BCCI. Not so long ago Gavaskar was critical of the choice of Duncan Fletcher as India coach - as was Kapil Dev. That appointment was not done by the ICC, it was done by the BCCI. Gavaskar has also called into question the commitment players have shown to the IPL as opposed to an India cap - something he is very vocal about - and he specifically stated that if players think IPL is more important, then the board has a right to drop them from the Indian team. Unless you are going to be biased these do not indicate a person unwilling to criticise. I think that objectivity has been the biggest loser - as represented by the slant that M/s Gupta and Guha chose to put to the issue - merely because it is SMG and Shastri, both of whom have never been overly popular with Cricinfo.

  • bobagorof on August 17, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Spa-Master, by that logic the BCCI should be calling for MORE cameras and better positioning so as to bring the system up to standard. Maybe they have, but the only reports I have heard is a constant 'it's not 100% so don't use it', which seems ridiculous given the board's own complaints about umpiring standards (remember Bucknor?). I commend them for standing their ground, but with the reputation gained from past history they appear to be stubborn and self-centred rather than level-headed and rational.