Ravi Chaturvedi on why commentary has suffered
An academic from Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain College, Ravi Chaturvedi earned his fame as a Hindi commentator who coined new cricketing terms for the listeners. Here he shares his thoughts on the crests and troughs of commentary:
How do you view cricket commentary on radio and television today?
There is no doubt that the standard of cricket commentary on radio and television has declined on account of many reasons. In early days there used to be strict scrutiny of each commentator's commentary and even a minor lapse on his part was readily pointed out for future correction. This practice is practically non-existent both on Radio and TV today. Commercialisation has been the bane of commentary. The breaks, change over of the innings, fall of a wicket provided opportunity to commentator to add interesting and at times invaluable information to keep the interest of the listeners/viewers sustained.
Why has cricket commentary suffered?
The system to select a commentator has to be comprehensive; testing him thoroughly on various essential parameters of the commentary to have the best man for the job. Even when a commentator is selected he is to be evaluated regularly. It seems the entire system is full of pitfalls. It is commonly observed that the majority of the commentators do not posses the basic qualities of a commentator. Diction, pause and modulation are core components of commentary. The objectivity and impartiality is sadly missing in the commentary these days.
Do cricketers really make good commentators?
A level of cricket playing (even club) will help the commentator to understand the game to give better commentary. But it is not essential that he must be a Test cricketer. The great commentators, John Arlott, Alan McGilvary, were not Test players but they are stalwarts of cricket commentary.
What is more important: Description of the game or technical analysis?
The description and technical analysis are complementary and supplementary parts of a quality commentary. A judicious amalgamation of both will make commentary listener/viewer friendly.