Cricket Jockeys

Muralidharan, one of the greatest bowlers of the modern game, tosses up a doosra. With the match over for all intents and purposes and with an asking rate of 20.00 per over, the tail-ender swings across the line. The shot flies straight down mid-wicket’s throat. Murali looks tired and bored as he trudges to the boundary line noiselessly.

Bored and tired.

I am sorry did I say that?

No of course not.

Commentator 1 (in an voice shaking with excitement): That is a Citi moment of success…..Muralidharan tells the batsman Hasta La Vista

Commentator 2 (doubly excited and adding his own smart touch) :  I think “baby” goes at the end of that.

Yeah baby. You gotta love that Tarantino-esque in-reference to the Terminator and the “Hasta La Vista Baby” dialog made famous by it.

You gotta love that rap song being sung by expert Jeremy Coney during the Chargers-Chennai game, the ones that goes

Come on Siva Go Chennai
Beat the ball into the sky
Make it soar make it fly
Hit it long hit it high

And most of all you gotta love the IPL commentators, those people for whom it is said that giving them an open mic is like providing the Stoneman a heavy igneous rock or like handing a chainsaw to Leatherface.

After all what is the hype and hoopla of the greatest show on earth in April if it not be for these voluble souls. Commentators or Cricket Jockeys act as force-multipliers for the pulsating excitement of the IPL as they whip up frenzy by adopting the tried and tested styles perfected by masters-of-ceremonies at village freak shows (“Come see the world-famous, never-been-seen-before and will-be-never-seen-again three-headed boy born from the union of man and wolf”).

And through each pearl-shaped word that drops like dewdrops from heaven, these people, in the tradition of Shakespeare and Tennyson, revolutionize the English language with their DLF maximums and Citi moments of success. Such has been their effect on the Queen’s English that it is rumored that the next edition of Wren and Martin’s grammar book will have a chapter right after “adverbs” called  “ad-adjectives” to denote the new parts of speech created by pre-fixing a corporate sponsor’s name before a noun.

As we all know, the primary responsibility of IPL commentators, besides peddling magazines with the savvy of salesmen on the 8 o’clock local,  is to make the audience at home understand the finer points of the game, the “un-obvious” subtle things that can only be understood by the “experts”. Like how the Deccan Chargers want to get the maximum number of runs they can in the last two overs. Like how the Delhi Daredevils  definitely do not want to lose another wicket after losing Sehwag (they would have been presumably been quite happy to lose a wicket otherwise). Like how catches win matches and how running between the wickets eeeees (as a certain commentator likes to pronounce it) very important. Like how the last thing a bowler wants to happen off the last ball of the over is to be hit for a six. (Actually the last thing a bowler wants to happen off his last ball is to bowl a no-ball and then to have a six hit off the resultant free-hit).

But what is sometimes not so well appreciated is how their commentary reveals things novices would not notice with their bare untrained eyes. For instance in a recent match, a batsman sent a ball high into the sky, fielder in the slips took two steps, and then waited quietly for the ball to come down into his palms. But then he grassed it. At which point of time, the hawk-eyed commentator pointed out that the fielder had been going round and round in circles and never looked like taking the catch. This is precisely where the expert brings in value to the cricket-watching experience because I swear I saw the fielder standing pretty steady and still throughout.

Likewise there was this time I saw the batsman trying to clear the leg-side field, the ball took the edge and flew to the off streakily in the process barely eluding the hand of the fielder. I thought “Apna luck pahenke chalo, what a lucky shot”.  But the commentator (famous for his understanding of the game) had seen something I did not. Because he presently informed us: “Superb batsmanship. Chipped delicately. And the crowd goes wild.”

Yes the crowd always goes wild. That’s one thing the commentators will keep drilling into you every waking second.

The sheer joy of watching an IPL game.

“There is electricity in the air.”

“This is the encounter everyone has been waiting for (just like they were waiting for that match that took place four hours ago and the one that will take place tomorrow).”

“The audience is on its feet.”

“Have you ever seen a game like this?”

“The clash of the titans.”

“I will tell you what. I have never seen a six go that far.”

It’s not as if the commentators are intentionally engaging in coached hyperbole just to add a bit of drama. No each IPL game is really that exciting and historic.

And the glory of the IPL is that even when there is no action happening, there is still never a boring moment. After all what enhances the appreciation of the great game of cricket more than that newly introduced “break activity” when a pretty lass is culled from the crowd, based on her “cricketing” acumen, as part of the competition wherein a cricket-loving member of the audience will get a chance to be in a Bollywood item number. My heart fills with gladness as invariably every giggling girl says she wants to meet “Saaahrook Kan”.

What indeed could be so close to the spirit of cricket, what indeed could be classier?

Wait. I will tell you what could be classier.Dwanye Smith hits a six with about as much grace and class as an executioner chopping off a head. Right on cue, producer shifts to Cheerleader cam. The camera focuses, in a “from bottom” angle that would make David Dhawan proud, on three DLF maximums as they thrust  themselves at the camera with the vigor of Mendis’s carrom ball.

The commentator says in perfect coordination to the images on screen: “This is jaw-dropping stuff” leaving you to contemplate what exactly is supposed to drop our jaws —the original cricket shot or the camera shot.

Educates you. Entertains you. Sells you stuff. And makes you reflect. What more could you ask for from the cricket jockeys?

[Crossposted here at Cricbuzz.]

48 thoughts on “Cricket Jockeys

  1. Gimme my IPOD, man !!!!

  2. Me toooooooooooooo

  3. Can i get an ipod nano? Give the other two ipod classics… 🙂

  4. I believe Murali spells his name as: “Muralitharan”.

    For some interesting reason, Tamils in Sri Lanka prefer the “tha” while the Indian Tamils prefer the “dha”. 😉

  5. Nice observations. I agree that the term “Cricket Jockeys” accurately reflects these inane, insipid commentators.

    Given half the chance, I hope the IPL bosses relocate some of these “Cricket Jockeys” to the Gulf Arab states, where they are free to give a running commentary on the 6-year old Bangladeshi “Camel Jockeys” whipping the heavens out of their camels’ rumps.

  6. I have heard better commentary on “Bonded Lead wali Natraj Pencil” Ads than from these Kirkit Jackies…. yeah, I mean the “Yeh Match ki Aakhri Gaend aur Yeh Laga Sixerrrrr….. Natraj Phir Champion” kind of commentary.

  7. I crown Ravi Shastri the Hype-Peddler-In-Chief. Remember his “Modi is Moses” comment lasy year? This year his gem is “future generations will remember the IPL as when Cricket finally saw the light!”

    Yeah you heard that right – all forms of cricket hitherto – all the tests, ODIs, records,, players, Bradman, Gavaskar, hutton, et al were part of the Dark Ages of cricket. It took Modi the Messiah to do a “Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya” (Lead me from darkness to light).

    Bloody paid shills!

  8. Super. Enjoyed the sarcasm in the article. Ad-adjectives, ha ha ha. Just couldn’t stop laughing after reading that. And even that “jaw dropping stuff”. Earlier, whenever there used to be hindi commentary, I used to mute the tv set. Now, the same is being done irrespective of language. Better watch the game without commentary. As if this wasn’t enough, the channel inflicts extra damage on our senses by telecasting the extra innings. The problem is, the commentators never get to hear their own commentary!

  9. Mindless cricket commentating is of course not just a forte of cricket jockeys. Listen to any bunch of boys or men talking about the game and try to glean out of the conversation anything that is not pointless, superfluous or just another cliched opinion/argument that you have read/heard a million times before. People chatter ceaselessly not because they have something important to say, but because they abhor silence. Expert cricket commentators are no different..

  10. “DLF maximums”


  11. The ad-adjective part was absolutely brilliant.

  12. The damn disgusting Navjot Singh Sidhu is single-handedly responsible for making cricket commentary close to what is called ‘color commentary’ in broadcasting parlance. What with statements like ‘exuberance of youth’ and ‘as smooth as the cheeks of a Kingfisher air hostess’, Sidhu literally made commentary unnecessarily colorful. Now the Arun Lals and the Sivaramakrishnans of the world want to make as many public and television appearances as Sidhu and are thus trying unsuccessfully at imitating him.


  13. Hey Arnab/ Guys,

    I do understand where you come from & how much the heart bleeds to see the demise of ‘pure’ cricket, but frankly isn’t that something you & I have the discretion choose? Its the same as ur blog (to use a parallel) – 50 guys may say ‘bravo’ & ‘great blog’ to you while another 20 may dislike it completely & use adjectives that are not-too-flattering, but in the end they end up reading it & wait for more to come.
    Not that I’m a fan of too many of the jokers in the commentary box, but in my view the configuration of IPL demands hyperbole (wherever possible) as its closest companion. Finally, from the point of view of audiences, it’s an opportunity to jump on to the cricket crazy bandwagon for the pagans. For the believers, there’s always tests & ODIs to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

  14. And u forgot “Drama! Drama! It’s all happenning here at …” when the guy who has hit 2 sixes in a row gets caught the next ball.

  15. Arnab da I could not agree more! But i do like the phrase “He has DLF’d it!” This sort of gels with the IPL flavor!

    In fact the “jaw dropping” comment actually caught while I was watching the match! I think it was Gavaskar… Hasta La Vista was gavaskar!

  16. I think Coney rapping is Coney being himself. He is like that during other matches as well. During one pitch report, he actually proposed a toast (with a glass of wine bought in the ground by a lady in full waitress uniform) in honour of the perfect pitch.

  17. priceless..this kind of commentary will become daily parlace as the diologues of sholay have

  18. thoug i loathed the quality of hindi commentary, on any day, i will take Maninder singh’ “jeetnei tariff karaien utni kum” compared to the trash dished out these days in the form of commentary.
    My jaw dropped when I heard, little Siva exclaim “that is the most brilliant shot of this match” in response to a ,literal clubbing of a shot….

    Ian chappell, You are God…
    Harsha is atleast not superficial..

  19. you have hit another DLF maximum. This is surely a Citi moment of success in this years IPL coverage on RTDM. These CJ’s, I tell you, are a Zandu Balm Pain in the Ass.

  20. Couldn’t agree with you more. This article has Ravi Shastri staring at me all the way to the bottom. The same ridiculous commentary.

    one other phrase which caught me off guard, almost had me drop off the couch – Arun Lal says “When the covers are on, there happens the unique phenomenon of ‘internal rain’ , moisture from the ground gets vapourised , gets condensed within the surface of the covers and it starts raining within the enclosed space even though the skies are clear”. Anyone caught that?!

  21. I miss Siddhu paaji, at least he did provide some genuine entertainment. The janta in his constituency would definitely be getting a taste of his one liners during his chunaav prachaar 😉

    1. The way Indian wickets are falling reminds me of the cycle stand at Rajendra Talkies in Patiala..! one falls and everything else falls!

    2. Wickets are like wives – you never know which way they will turn.

    3. He is like a one-legged man in a bum kicking competition.

    4. As uncomfortable as a bum on a porcupine.

    And many more…

  22. I think Tony Greg was more hyper than Ravi Shastri..
    the way he praised Sachin and Saurav .. no body else did.

  23. Akash Chopra before yesterday’s KKR v/s DD match ” The Bowlers need to hit the dick hard” did someone catch it

  24. Vishy Pingali May 6, 2009 — 4:25 am

    Couple of observations from yesterday’s match:

    1. The poor bowler has just been DLFed!!

    2. It is a city moment of disaster for the Kings XI Punjab

    I bet CITI would only be too pleased for the usage of the ad-adjective…

    Jokes apart, there has always been an element of hyperbole in the world of sport, be it baseball, football, etc. It probably adds a touch of romanticism and manages to ruffle the feathers or raise the heckles of the supporters of losing teams…

    But Boy, this IPL has taken this romanticism to heart, it seems!! But given that everything that is related to IPL is vetted by one Mr. Modi, it is only fair that he be referred as Mosses and Messaiah (M&M)!! Jarring though it might sound to yoiu and me and every other soul, it probably is a music to M&M’s ears and that ensures a lucrative roles for Shastri and his bunch of cronies in the next IPL. After all, it is only recognizing the green grass!

    I pity the offsprings of the commentators!! I don’t know how they are able to digest the fact that their fathers are such subservient SOBs. Their fathers’ verbal diorreah would cause indigestion to them, I suppose!!

  25. Accuse everyone but leave out Robin Jackas… oops Jackman.

    I did not have the pleasure of hearing this line during Kings XI match as Vishy has pointed out above but heard it during the second match of the day.
    Robin Ji must have been doing commentary under oath for he spoke the truth and nothing but the truth yesterday. When McCullum grassed a simple catch offered by Gautam Gambhir, Robin Ji said, “This is a Citi moment of disaster”. Not sure if a better fitting ad adjective has been found even by ‘the brainchild behind the IPL’.

  26. Don Ayan de Marco May 6, 2009 — 5:24 am

    If u want to hear another hyperbole cricket analyst watch Boria ‘Bistar’ Majumdar in Charu ‘the Daaru’ Sharma’s show on TimesNow. I think Harsha Bhogle and Geoffrey Boycott are the best commentators than the Arun ‘Magnificient’ Lals and Ravi ‘cracker of a game’ Shastris who only blabber a handful of idioms and similes that they have learnt.

    @Ankit: I heard that and that made me wander whether I was watching some money task of MTV Roadies. Nowadays when the channels are getting more and more non-vegetarian, I thought cricket matches are the only thing that I can watch with the ladies of the house. But after this comment from Aakash ‘Madan’ Chopra watching cricket is also getting risky.

  27. Hi…

    The commentary of these days sort of is as distinctly different from the ones done in the good ol’ days as the say the nasal twang unplaceable utterly ridiculuous acent of the present day Kingfisher or similar air hostesses to the crisp clear and means business voice of the aging aunt/matronly Indian Airlines airhostess. Add to that is however the pilots, who want to be heard. So in the mid. journey one gets to hear info like the height at which the plane is flying, therefore reminding how finding even nano bits of body matter on the event of a crash is most likely and therefore regretting of having left home yet again without having echorer ghonto (the fav raw jackfruit curry) or the aloor chop(fearing jaundice).

  28. GB……
    Now that I have got your attention, can you please review the present crop (in the spirit of Children of the Corn) of hit bengali movies. I noticed the posters of ‘Challenge’ with a fine print underneath which said ‘Nibi Naa Shaalaa’ !!
    Then there was the assault of ‘Maa Amaar Maa’ on tv and atleast 5 songs per day featuring Ronjit Mullick’s daughter who seems to be going Chumki Chowdhury way!!

  29. Vishy Pingali May 6, 2009 — 6:21 am

    CITY MOMENT OF DISASTER FOR A BANK THAT IS CURRENTLY A DISASTER!! Do what it may, it will take a while for everyone to consider CITI anything but toxic. Given its current financials, “CITI moment of disaster” is a more apt ad-adjective than “CITI moment of success” is… CITI and success has to be oxymoron and CITI and disaster is nothing but a tautology.

    AlphaQ, I believe it was in the case of KKR and not KXIP as I initially thought… But when one hears such brilliant statements being made, I hope it is acceptable to forgive the minutae.

  30. These CJs are man-whores faking orgasms to please their masters. Aruna & Co. are shit.

  31. Not long before they start identifying fielding locations within the ground and start saying- CITI point region, DLF fine leg, based on who pays for what !! and the top bidder will possibly pay for the pitch as well !! Money is the only thing that drives it now… wish someone had a rule that said you cant make more than X $ per game 🙂

  32. I do agree. Most of the commentators , leavin one or two, sound fake or seem to be overdoing the excitement thingy.looks like they are trying to make it sound like a football match or something, but they keep forgetting energy levels in soccer and cricket are different.
    though the “dlf maximum” and “citi moments” ad-adjectives are not new to cricket audiences.. How could you forget those,”bsnl chauka”, “daabar-laal chuaka” and “xandu balm sixers”, announced enthusiastically by commentators in the golden radio era. 🙂

  33. @GB, have you heard the hindi commentary of IPL 2? You have heard nothing yet, bro! Sample this from jimmy amarnath. Yuvraj starts running after his hattrick, Jimmy chirps “Kahan ja raha hai, kya priti jinta ke paas?”. Heh, joys of IPL2

  34. How about kishen kanhaiyya’s ….that went like a tracer bullet!!It seems to more a case of who can put their foots in their respective mouths quicker than the other
    As Laborer pointed out…fake orgasms in a porn movie! at best

  35. The Red Devil May 6, 2009 — 9:03 am

    I think all cricket commentators should go eat their own d**ks..
    P.S.: 3-1 ha!! in your face gunners..the devils rule!!

  36. 3 DLF Maximums .. ha ha ha..

    I was laughing my guts out while I saw the cheerleaders yday and my wife cudnt understand what the hell is on TV tht I am laughing so much. I had to explain this term “DLF maximums” to her 🙂

  37. why this bias GB? bland cricket is better than no cricket. cricket is still cricket even if gully players are playing. don’y despair.

  38. was expecting an article on the commentary panel here even before the IPL begun. not such a great read though. you toning down for cricbuzz? UP me set max hindi me aata hai, saba karim says “jordaar chapet maara”, he needs to be flogged.
    even harsha has become irritating, he fishes out parables of his university cricket days.

  39. Vishy Pingali May 6, 2009 — 4:10 pm

    Another great snippet from you during DC and MI. Don’t knwow the commentator’s name, but here is the statement. Venugopala Rao has hit Jayasurya for a magnificient six and the commentator says:

    “Here is a six, THANKS TO DLF”

    Now, who hit the six, again?

  40. LOL

    I love them, our ‘cricket jockeys’ because they are the hidden entertainment package of IPL 🙂

  41. Am I the only one here who saw Danny Morrison make a cheerleader sit on his lap and proceeded to …well….er… ‘interview’ her? To add to this, Ravi Shastri’s priceless gem: “I’m sure Danny must be feeling quite warm by now.” Complete WTF?! The day cricket died.

  42. Another pain is the dozens of fake newspaper articles being written under the name of Ravi Shastri, Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad (true even he is writing), jak kallis, Gibbs, Jayasurya, Sachin, Lady Jayavardhne, Peterson, Gayle, Dravid, and so many more players and retired players and their aunties.
    Each article looks totally bland run of the mill stuff, the sort many of the commentators on GBs blog can write after watching the match on telly and can write better.
    TOI’s sport writer is a duffer called bobbili vijay kumar who writes on all things sans cricket for which he is burning TOIs money.
    Where have the writers of caliber of Sunder Rajan of TOI gone. Hope I remenmber his name right. He used to write long back.

    GB can you supply them articles and maganimously allow them to publish under their name. Atleast we would be saved from the crap.

  43. Hey Greatbong,
    Let me tell you what we do while watching the game. We gather a few cricket crazy friends. Then we lower the commentary volume and play roles. One of us plays Ravi Shastri, someone else is Greg Blewett. Someone does a gora-bashing being Gavaskar and someone “certainly eeeeees” Ranjit Fernando. Try this trick out. I promise you, the IPL would be the most entertaining package you would get. The commentators almost always repeat after us.

  44. Heard & seen before the Mumbai Indians vs. Delhi Dare Devils match.. Mandira Bedi attempting sand surfing and pretty much succeding.. cut to the grounds, where she tells us that Rameez Raza is going to tell us about the weather etc.. Rameez, who has probably seen the Mandira’s antics , blurts ‘Yes, I am the weather cock!’…

  45. The sarcasm is eveident. From one cricket lover to another, I hope (though i aint too sure of the chances} that some sanity prevails and some of these 20-20 “attractions” are done away with. Bring on the actual cricket, people!

  46. GB,
    That was sarcasm at its best. Loved your take on the “the greatest show on earth in April”

  47. You’re not making much sense. For the seasoned cricket viewer, there can hardly be anything that a commentator can tell him that he or she wouldn’t know by himself or herself. So that means there shouldn’t be any commentators at all. I personally believe that commentary is an important part of the whole TV viewing experience. Though I believe that commentators like Waqar Younis, Aamir Sohail, Charu Sharma shouldn’t be allowed to speak in a cricket match. Ever. But still I can’t really figure out if there is much else that they can say aside from the stuff that they dish out at present.

    Forgive me if I’m missing your point totally but this is what I think.

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