How many 'spots' in our win?

HOW hollow India's 2-0 series triumph over a Calypso-so Windies team rings is something we realise only as we discern how shallow, DD style, was the telecoverage we got of the two Tests we won. Indeed DD's ability to deliver was shown up for what it is by those maroon-strip details (making watchers feel 'on figures velvet') dotting the parallel espnstar screen, so vividly Sharjah showcasing the Pakistan-Australia face-off. Rewind to how - as World Champions Australia were beaten 2-1 by Sourav's India end-March 2001 at Chepauk - television assumed for us a stirring new Nine Network dimension.

Well, this Chepauk Test too saw DD hit the high 'spots' in its own way. Sanjay Bangar (40) Palmolive edged Merv Dillon to Carl Hooper in the slips. This dismissal was the signal for DD to run no fewer than 8 spots in a rapacious row. Next, first ball, Sourav was adjudged lbw, in cold blood, by Asoka de Silva to Merv Dillon. Barely had Ravi completed noting that the Merv ball looked to be bang on the stumps when DD's 'spot' artistry intervened. I counted 8 spots, yet again, before DD condescended to give us an action replay showing Sourav getting an edge to a beauty - an edge that, otherwise, only Aishwarya Rai commands on the screen.

This Sourav decision was the telepointer to Ravi, as the Channel [V] Ruby-mined commentator, to turn umpiring coat and assert: "That was a shocking decision!" How commentators have the best of both worlds - without batting a third eyelid! Next Laxman played barely two balls for the Sri Lankan umpire (leg before and after) to call "Over!" Just the billiards-like cue, on the Chepauk green, for DD to feed us on 6 more spots! Viewers thus were treated to a full 22 DD spots within the rousing range of 3 balls! This when the cricketing action was at its most acrimonious. When all India was ultra-keen to know how Asoka - nodding 'knowing' assent like the emperor of that name - had arrived at his second successive dubious lbw verdict against the already demonstrative Sourav.

Sourav (322 runs from 8 innings, ave 53.66, in the Caribbean) came to this series in great Test touch. Sou had every reason to expect to score a million against the calibre of Test bowling he had, in determinedly regaining form, meticulously worn down in the West Indies. Thus was our Sou-in-one captain all Windies-poised to bat most attractively. "Who's going to make more attractive viewing on the small screen - Sourav Ganguly or Mouli Ganguly" was the question on telebuff lips as the series got under way. So that Asoka - as non-violent an emperor-umpire as any ruling the game -had all India up in arms as he peremptorily edged 'out' the Prince of Kolkata. To the chagrin of Geoffrey, watching feeling ill at ease in his Yorkshire home. Geoffrey appearing in STAR 'Sportsline' was a sight to touch us even as Sourav got a different kind of touch to the Dillon ball. However Geoffrey, all technique even now, chose to go so descriptive about his cancer treatment that STAR watchers ended up feeling a bit anxious. If hopeful still that Geoffrey would be back in front of the mike come the New Year - just before the World Cup.

What we can't wait to watch - though I don't know how such a thing is ever going to happen - is Geoffrey coming teleface to face with Ruby. Diamond cut diamond! Meanwhile, how did Charu DD-shape sans Ruby? No Ruby there is the rub! The rubber won 2-0 by Sourav's India, yet Charu had to settle for a seating creating the feeling that the Sharma Presenter, alongside Gordon and Siva, was perched atop a thick copy of Wisden. Poor Gordon, defeat after defeat, there was no way he could defend the Windies as the Caribbeanfeaster who knew only how to attack. The DD camera, trained from time to time on Gordon's silken rival Viv Richards, only made you wonder if the presence of such a Black Giant in India (as Chairman of Selectors) did not act as a further inhibiting influence on the windswept Windies.

That DD, on the Wankhede Stadium outskirts, was in no paparazzi position to turn its camera on Neena alongside Vivian was, of course, spoilsport Sushma playing the super BJPitching censor on the narrow screen. DD's lensing of the Chepauk Test was in tune with the tone set by the Windies batting in both innings. The DD canopy also unwittingly managed to diminish, somehow, the fizzy pull of the tangy Pepsipair - Kareena and Shah Rukh. No 'Kiss & Airtel' ring here to Kareena-Khan's "Magic hai to mumkin hai!" mumbo-jumbo! Is Shah Rukh (like Sachin) mindlessly beginning to cash in on the telly lolly while the going is good? First Pepsimpressions abide on TV. Thus does the SANTRO-ripe Preity Zinta, opposite Shah Rukh, appear to lose out to the Kapoor cutie. Likewise, the imagined 'Magic' eye through which we now get to glimpse Kareena-Shah Rukh makes at best deja-vu viewing. Especially when set against the Big Khan's Pepsi take-off urging Sourav & Co to bring a prize from South Africa even more huggable than Kareena K. Didn't Sunny have a Sachin-Shah Rukh point to make when he observed that TV is one medium in which you must zealously guard against overexposing yourself?