This is a World Cup that I have watched after a long time. Watched, as opposed to, followed via ESPNCricinfo.com typed out commentary. I miss my old commentators.
On radio, I grew up with Anand Setalvad, Dicky Rutnagur and the like. Setalvad’s voice changed as he built up the excitement. “Bedi bowls, from between the umpire and the stumps”, his voice would quieten down into a whisper, “left arm, around the wicket, flighted on middle and off and Fletcher is forward in defence”. You were there with him. We never really got the BBC commentators as you had to get shortwave radio bands and Arlott and Johnston were interspersed with the wailing and squealing of the shortwave frequencies.
We did get Tony Cozier‘s very West Indian accent and the lovely lilt that described the game as it happened but also imparted useful titbits about the game and the players. Then came TV and with the first clear images from Australia, we found ourselve in the company of the highly excitable Keith Stackpole, “dear, oh dear! This is going to end in tears!” ? The lishpy and very knowledgeable Richie Benaud who also introduced the highlights and “picked up ply in the firsht over”. The late Tony Grieg, “Waqar Younis is getting slaughtered!”. Well, we still have Bumble, Mike Holding and Ian Bishop, I suppose, but all the others just fail to pass on a sense of enthusiasm or even insight.
And the cliches!
“a quality side”
“play some positive cricket”
“wickets in hand”
“a good wicket”
“some early swing on offer”
But the biggest offender:
This is probably the most repeated. Every player, coach, manager and commentator uses that at least once in each conversation. The ICC seems to have muzzled everyone and given them lessons on what to say. It is really pointless to listen to any interview now, or any commentator. They all say the same thing. The pitch, tone and timbre of the voices don’t change, though the accents might and the words are all the same. The voices add no excitement, no insight. It is far better now to just turn down the sound and return to the days of that colossal and pompous bore, Narottam Puri, when I did just that.
At least. I’m seeing it in HD….