BCCI partners with AIR for audio commentary

For a two-year period, the All India Radio will provide audio commentary for international matches and some key matches from domestic tournaments.

The audio commentary will commence from the first game of the T20I series between India and South Africa.   -  AP

Radio commentary will once again provide cricket fans a popular platform to follow the game after an arrangement was made between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the All Inddia Radio (AIR).

The BCCI on Tuesday said, “In an initiative to enhance the coverage of Indian cricket and take it to the nook and corner of the country,” it was announcing a two-year radio rights arrangement with AIR. “This initiative will offer millions of listeners across India the opportunity to follow their favourite sport via live radio commentary,” the BCCI informed.

The audio commentary will commence from the first game of India’s upcoming Paytm T20I series against South Africa in Dharamsala on September 15. In addition to international matches, AIR will also provide coverage for the below men's and women's domestic tournaments and matches. The two-year tenure starts on September 10, the BCCI stated.

The move was welcomed by the fraternity of commentators. “It is such a wonderful news for us. Radio is a powerful medium and it reaches out to so many remote places. Following the game live from the ground adds to the excitement that a cricket fan experiences even at work,” said Sachin Chatte, an English commentator based in Goa.

For Vineet Garg, a veteran Hindi commentator, it was, “Throw-back to those great times when cricket fans remained glued to radio or transistor sets. The commentator was the eyes and ears of the fans who would visualise the game from what they heard. My seniors like Anant Setalvad and Suresh Saraiya were pillars who contributed to popularise the game. Ace cricketers like Vijay Merchant and Lala Amarnath would enrich the commentary box with their wisdom.”

The BCCI had issues with the AIR related to rights and the latter was compelled to have the commentators work from studios. It may not have been the best way to do commentary but there was little choice. “We did commentary only when India played overseas,” said Chatte.

The two-year agreement between BCCI and AIR starts from September 10, 2019, and runs till August 31, 2021, where key domestic matches will also be covered.

Domestic Tournaments
  • Ranji Trophy: 1 x 5-day Final; five days.
  • Duleep Trophy: 1 x 5-day Final; five days.
  • Deodhar Trophy: 3 x 1-Day League games; three days.
  • Deodhar Trophy: 1 x 1-Day Final; one day.
  • Women’s Challenger Series: 4 x 1-Day games: four days.
  • Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Super League: 10 x League matches; five days.
  • Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy league: 1 x Final; one day.
  • Irani Cup (Men): 1 x 5-day Match; five days.