Good riddance to 'spot' DD rubbish

Sanjay Manjrekar - slave to technique in telecommentary? -- Pic. N. SRIDHARAN-Sanjay Manjrekar - slave to technique in telecommentary? -- Pic. N. SRIDHARAN

NOW that you are viewing and hearing the last but not the least of DD on International Cricket, shouldn't you be heaving a sigh of disbelief?

NOW that you are viewing and hearing the last but not the least of DD on International Cricket, shouldn't you be heaving a sigh of disbelief? For `suspension of disbelief' is what watching cricket on DD, Dull Dog TV, has meant these last few weeks. The Ahmedabad Test, in fact, came through as a rare DD visual torture. We know it for a fact now that DD (in its staid studio) ritualistically displays All The Spots, first, on the Small Screen. Only then `fills in' the cricket play to go with those spots! You have to admire the `Ball Rub Ka Kamaal' by which DD now goes on to the first ball of an over almost after the bowler has completed his follow through.

The commentary in the Ahmedabad Test was of a putrid piece with such specious spread of spots. Why, oh why, must DD continue inflicting Danny Morrison and Ian Smith on unsuspecting swadeshi ears? The `Kiwillowy' accent of the two just doesn't jell with the Indian listener-viewer. Half the time you just can't make out what exactly Danny or Ian is saying. So that you turn to our Sanjayeoman for instant DD enlightenment. But even Sanjay — with no WISDEN 20:20 to render redundant any longer — soon begins to sound monotonous.

Obviously Sanjay is not putting the old scale of homework into a day at commentating office. What do they of commentary know who only commentary know, Sanjay? Nitpicking vocal preoccupation with the grammar of the game could be overdone when the VVS batsmanship is all about shot composition. To get stuck on Rahulian craft, all through Dravid's 222 knock, is for Sanjay to underline that `The Manjrekar Technique', by itself, is wearying to hear being elaborated upon — after a time. Sanjay saw for himself, on the screen, what his becoming a slave to (rather than the master of) technique did to his batting. This after Sanjay had been hailed as the World's Best Batsman then by first Imran Khan and then by Viv Richards.

Sanjay's brains could at times go to his head, so let him get the correct perspective on this business of dot-ball `zeroing in' on batting technique in modern-day telecasting. Look at Cricket Ka Asli Badshah Ravi — still tuning with Raveena. Ravi is no less a busybody than is Sanjay in world cricket today. Yet Ravi's commentary never ever sounds singsong. Sanjay sings a song like no Indian player does. Yet failed to deliver, as commentator, when he had Lata Mangeshkar for his fascinating theme song. During that Wankhede Stadium telematch held in aid of the Thrush Throat's Pune hospital project. Even as recently as last year, Sanjay was heard to be making airwaves by tellingly blending Style with Technique. Like in his cricket playing days, therefore, Sanjay perhaps needs to go back to the screen board. Eloquently to divine where he is losing out in being descriptive without being evocative.

Ravi Shastri... his commentary never sounds singsong. — Pic. V. V. KRISHNAN-

At a point when Navjot Sidhu and Daler Mehndi alike have lost out on TV, when we `Sardarnix' the Mandi Dame as traipsing the same old Charu ground, Maninder Singh is just about the turbantering best. Manni's `Murali Kartiky' left-handed compliment to Sourav was superbly timed. But will TV channels make up their petty Hindi minds about projecting Maninder Singh only in English? It is the one language in which Manni offers revealing insights on the game.

The first time I heard John Arlott, I was struck with awe as I espied The Legend doing commentary (on a very windy Swansea day) sitting on a ledge outside the box. John Arlott's gift of expression lay in the fact that you never could predict what he was going to say. Sanjay should be endeavouring to develop a similar pithy original style, given his enormous knowhow on the game. Is it possible Sanjay is getting `shown up' because his fellow commentators are Box and Cox in the Kiwicked shape of Danny and Ian? As for Lal Ghoda Arun, you never do know if this English thoroughbred is speaking up for the players or speaking down to us about their play.

Where DD self-earns the right to banish itself forever from the cricket scene is in the norm by which it's reduced `The Fourth Umpire' to worse than a cricket ball fetcher and carrier. After years at the job, Charu Sharma is `all that jazz' and little more. Charu comes through as even more stubborn than Mandiraw in refusing to pick up the finer points and the finer pints of the game. Mandi cozying up to Yuvvy makes her, remember, no more knowledgeable, now, than she was through 42 days and nights of World Cup Cricket. The `Bediva' remains a blot on Cathedral and its cricketing tradition in the glam dumbo way she still hits `India's Road to The Finals'.

But back to the No-Future DD. Krish Srikkanth (in the opening stages of the Ahmedabad Test) perhaps wanted to look different in Narendra Modified Ahmedabad. There is Hindi and Hindi but no Hindi like Chika Hindi. It is almost as if Chika's struck a silent pact with the South in the matter of making it a point to speak the style of Hindi that could never ever be imposed. Chika we by now indulgently accept with his Hindi overtones. But why no Kapil Dev, side by side, to assassinate the English language with a Haryanvi flair all his own? "Over now to `Chikanoon' Hindi — Over Next To `Kapilawless' English!" should have been DD's `ChiKapil' parting kick.