Color commentary might not figure in everyone’s minds. The common perception among fans is that cricket’s growth is because of T20; how it has brought in new demographic of fans. However, one of the main broadcasters in India believes that more can be done.
Color Commentary Need Of The Hour
The President and Chairman for Star & Disney India which is a powerhouse for Indian cricket shared his view on what needs to be done to get more fans watching the game. Uday Shankar said that the immediate change that needs to be made is to add color commentary.
Color commentary is used to assist the play-by-play commentator to fill in the minutes when there is no cricketing action. This becomes really essential in test match cricket; the game can be really slow at times and you need a color commentator to spice things up.
Even though the shorter formats of the game are filled with a lot of action, a good color commentator can add a lot more to the game. Shankar believes that this is a big weakness with the current commentary team and needs to be addressed quickly.
Will BCCI Look At Color Commentary Angle?
The BCCI is very picky with hiring its commentary team and generally tends to go with ex-players to provide their expert analysis. Over the years, Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar have been the mainstays of the commentary panel. Ever since Shastri became the head coach of team India, there has been a hole in the commentary team and Gavaskar no longer commentates as much as he used to.
S Manjrekar and H Bhogle have both filled the role of the color commentator from time to time but both have them have faced the wrath of the BCCI for being too critical of players. Bhogle was dropped from the BCCI commentary team and sat out for over two years before being brought back in the fold after being taught his lessons. Currently, it is S Manjarekar who is out in the cold after not toeing the line of the BCCI and getting into a tussle with R Jadeja on social media.
If the BCCI does take into consideration the views of Star & Disney India, then it should look for a new color commentator and not go back to either Bhogle or Manjarekar as the fans have grown tired of their style of commentary.
There will be loads of individuals interested in the job; a color commentary post would be a dream for millions of cricket fans. A great way to boost the profile of the new color commentator is to conduct a reality TV show; a 12 month contract as a trial period could then be offered to the winner.
Commentators Are Not Journalists
The problem for any color commentator who gets hired by the BCCI is to know where to draw the line; the BCCI wants its commentary team to not cross certain lines. It includes criticising any player representing the country.
Uday Shankar was quick to clarify that the color commentator or any commentator should not see themselves as journalists. He said cricket journalists have a right to state their point of view and share their opinions; that’s what journalists do.
Not everyone will agree with that definition as curtailing a commentator from sharing their views is limiting their abilities. However, considering how attractive and lucrative a commentary job with the BCCI is, there will be loads of applicants!