Sunny way of commentating

Gavaskar says commercial TV has had an impact on commentary

Sunil Gavaskar is one of the most prominent voices in world cricket commentary. Sharp observations and straightforward comments have made him a popular figure among the viewers, but the legendary Indian opener said the art of commentary and its nuances had to be learned the hard way.

When Gavaskar is in a sunny mood, a torrent of anecdotes and information can be expected and it was no different on Saturday.

On his views on commentary: It has to be like sitting with a friend and watching a game of cricket.

Commentary has changed a lot in the last few years. When I was doing commentary for BBC, we had to follow a dictum that you speak only if you could add to the picture and you were not allowed to state the obvious. But commercial television has changed it all. I remember some years back the producer told us before a series began that you got to keep saying something, no matter whether anything is happening or not.

On his favourite commentator: Benaud is top of the list. He is so dispassionate as a commentator. After playing for a country for so long, you sometimes do get carried away and say things which you would not say if it was not your team, but Richie is so totally dispassionate.  

On the Sydney fiasco: Commentators should not be emotional, but the days in Sydney (2008) were really emotional for us. India did superbly well to come back after getting beaten so badly in the first Test. But towards the end, they lost control of the Test because of extraneous factors, and it was sad. We had to put the things to viewers as it should have been without affecting the confidentiality. They were really emotionally charged days.

On the challenges of doing commentary during a T20 match: I would say it is exciting rather than challenging. It is exciting to watch, especially if the Indian batsmen are batting. There is also this expectation to see some new shots to be played like the scoop over square leg or the one like Tendulkar plays over third man.

On whether he would have liked to play T20: I am not sure what kind of batsman I would have been in Twenty20. But every time I am asked whether I would have enjoyed playing this format, I reply saying yes 100 percent I would have enjoyed playing Twenty20 cricket because there is only 20 overs of fielding. I think I would have batted somebody like Rohit (Sharma) because he plays classical shots as well. He can bludgeon the ball, but he is more orthodox.
DH News Service

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