Monday, March 7, 2011


Ravi Shastri is the last name I would put in a list of commentators I would love to listen to in every match. And after today's India v. Ireland match at Bangalore, he's gone completely off that list!

As if punishing the listeners with the most boring cliques was not enough, today Ravi Shastri went a step ahead and completely massacred up a piece of trivia information that he was giving on air. It's not the first time that he's given his listeners a wrong piece of trivia... it does happen quite often... but what made me swear at him today was that he completely killed a piece of trivia he was giving about a cricket match, in which he himself was involved, all the while when their stats man Mohandas Menon was right there to give him the correct piece of information!

When Yuvraj Singh reached 40* today, Ravi Shastri was on air giving out the information that Yuvraj has become just the 2nd player in a World Cup match to score 40 runs and take 5 wickets. For good measure, he added that Kapil Dev was the first one to have done it in 1983 against Australia at Trent Bridge (5 for 43 and 40 off 27 balls). Fine up until now!

Here's what he said after that (I wrote it down on a scrap of paper immediately for the fear that I might misquote him later): "(that performance) set India up for the semi-finals at Old Trafford" and "sent Australia out of the competition".

Now here's the truth. As mightily impressive as that performance was from our captain Kapil Dev, it did nothing to "set India up for the semi-finals", because as it happens, India went on to lose that match by a huge margin of 162 runs. What did set India up for the semi-finals was India's win (courtesy Kapil Dev) over Zimbabwe later on, and more importantly, India's win against Australia in the reverse fixture at Chelmsford. Had India lost that match to the Aussies, the two teams would have been level on point, and the Australians would have had a better Net Run Rate giving them the semi-final berth.

Since we lost that match where Kapil's all-round performance was recorded, it was impossible for us to "send Australia out of the competition" then. We played 3 more Group matches after this loss before playing in the semi-finals. I don't quite understand how he could forget such a magnificent all-round performance wasted on a loss!

What baffled me even more was that Ravi Shastri was a part of that loss against Australia and was not a part of the win that came later against Australia. So it beats me how he could muddle it all up!

Here was I, sitting in my living room, raising my eyebrows immediately to his mighty assertions, when I was not even born in 1983! And the man who was a part of our squad back then was completely botching up the facts of our glorious 1983 campaign!


Govind Raj said...

Good catch Shridhar, very sharp reflexes :-)

Shastri sure has become a cliche in himself !

Anonymous said...

As said above, great reflexes indeed!

But you know, I can forgive a man for a fading memory.

What I can't forgive Ravi for are:
a) Start
b) He knew exactly what he was doing!
c) That would really set the cat among the pigeons!
d) That is just what the doctor ordered!
e) That has gone to the boundary like a tracer bullet!
f) That was travelling at a rate of knots!
g) (At the pitch report) I wouldn't be surprised if the odd ball keeps low later in the innings.
h) Go to (a)

And the pity is...Ravi's actually a smart/ savvy /shrewd guy. And he can talk sense.

In fact, while I'm griping...Siddhu too is a smart guy in real life. But I'm flabbergasted that Star Cricket is subjecting us to his egoistic, loud, inconsiderate (of other speakers), irritating drivel in the name of expert analysis! And Harsha Bhogle keeps guffawing as if he's moderating the greatest, most unmissable spectacle on the planet!


PS: Apologies for venting!

Unknown said...

Maybe he just blocked that memory out. Or he's getting senile. Probably the second one.

Unknown said...

BP, great comment! Best one this year on this blog so far!

Govind, he "plays his natural game". ;-)

Rishabh, I think so too. He started going senile as soon as he became a commentator.

Anonymous said...

Dear SJ,

Waiting ur blog on the batting of Ross Taylor in the last 8 overs of NZ vs Pak match.


sri said...

Actually, this is a case for selective memory intrusions. Shastri wants to remember himself in the best possible light and what better way to douse the memory of a bad loss by conflating it with a win he was never part of! It is just a memory bias and, based on this account, Shastri seems to have more than his fair share of rewriting history. I'll bet he has told the same story to his kids (if he has any).

Unknown said...

Ha ha, Sri! That's a new theory I've heard and it seems a very plausible one too!

By the way, welcome to this blog!

Unknown said...

Very true and excellent observations.

Also, I've noticed that all the Indian commentators, Shastri included, are irritatingly biased. Instead of adding value to the telecst by drawing upon from their experience and expertise, they seem to be as crazy as our cricket fanatics.

For example, Gavaskar was trying to justify a misfielding by Sachin against England, saying it was to his wrong side and he was too stiff after scoring that century.

What's your take on that?

Unknown said...

Hi Sambit! I agree with what you've just mentioned. Gavaskar has often tended to be a loyal Indian fan first and then a cricket commentator.

I do rate not most of the commentators that we see today very highly. To a certain extent, I might be correct if that commercialisation of our sport has also had its adverse effect on commentary.

Unknown said...

Yes! Commercialisation could certainly be on of the reasons. Also there are a few other Indian commentators, who simply are not of international quality. I just remember I had a very old post on the same. Not sure how relevant today. Here is it.....

Anonymous said...

Sambit...a lot of commentators are biased. The worst of the lot might be Channel 9's team in Australia with Healy and Slater sounding like Aussie fans / cheerleaders most of the time. (For them, Australia are always favourites in a match... whatever the situation)

There's a similar situation with Sky's team in England too. Although David Lloyd is an exception... he is just a cricket enthusiast! (I think Nasser Hussain and Atherton are pretty good too)

angshu said...

Hussain and Athers are good, and so are Moody and Danny M (the latter simply by being enthusiast than by adding too much).

Shastri pretends he is the real thing while in reality he often sounds like a genie coming out of a sealed bag of cliches after 2 million years. No wonder he was caught blabbering something which he could not recall correctly even from his memory - all real incidents inside his cranium have been replaced by cricket comentary cliches.

None of the commentators, though, take any stands. Only one did (even at the risk of looking like a fool later) and we all loved / hated that guy for that very reason: Geoffrey Boycott.

Soulberry said...

Either you love narrating the game or you see it as another time-bound contract. If you love narrating a story and you see the game that way, then you develop accordingly.

The mistake happening in setting up modern commentary boxes is the role of an expert is being expanded to include narration. Perhaps as a cost-saving/space-saving measure by broadcasters. The mixture of good narrators with an expert or two to assist has been been given up.

Unfortunately, not all ex-players are Richie Benaud, who can play the combined role of narrator and expert with flair, imagination, substance and accuracy. At least on most counts as regards the last point.

Unknown said...

"Unfortunately, not all ex-players are Richie Benaud"

SB, how true and how sad!

knowledge_eater said...

please, don't blame RS, for this, blame the drug he takes to stay awake. Have you seen his eyes in post-match presentation!! LOL either he is intoxicated or either his age has caught up.

Unknown said...

@knowledge_eater, you must be right! That is why his eyes are covered by sunglasses in the pic above! ;-)