Commentary has been a very intrinsic part of cricket right since the game’s inception. Especially in the era of radio broadcasting, commentators played the roles of television, filling in the heads of the spectators, the marvelous scenes from the cricket field, wrapping them up with fables from the folklore.
The baritones, the inflection, the singing and most importantly harmonizing them all in the best pitch to sync in perfect collaboration with each other, are the facets of what one would label as a great commentator.
We have seen how commentators forge an ambiance of extra-terrestrial reality around the game with their perfectly-weighed words that strike the viewers at the right place for them to be even more involved in the game. From John Arlott, the voice of cricket to Harsha Bhogle, the modern magician of words, we will look at ten scintillating quotes from the best commentators of all time in cricket.
John Arlott on cricket:
Arlott was one of the best commentators cricket has ever seen. He was also a poet and a wine connoisseur and was tagged as commentator “wonderful for evoking cricketing moments” by BBC.
“Cricket is a most precarious profession; it is called a team game but, in fact, no one is so lonely as a batsman facing a bowler supported by ten fieldsmen and observed by two umpires to ensure that his error does not go unpunished.”
Neville Cardus on greats of the game:
Not exactly a commentator, but a cricket writer and one of the most renowned ones, Neville Cardus was well known for his strips from the famous paragraphs penned by him.
“We remember not the scores and the results in after years; it is the men who remain in our minds, in our imagination.”
Richie Benaud on captaincy:
A man who was one of the torch-bearers of Channel Nine’s coverage of the Australian Cricket Summer, he was also termed as the modern voice of cricket by many. He was known for his intonations and the music that he produced with his words.
“Captaincy is 90 percent luck and 10 percent skill, but don’t try it without that 10 percent.”
Tony Greig on Sachin Tendulkar:
Tony Greig was an English captain before he turned into another legend with the mic. His commentary kept everyone captivated until the last ball was bowled.
“If you only talk about cricketing abilities, Sir Gary Sobers is No 1. But it’s not just about how you play, but the way you carry yourself on and off the field. And in that regard, Sachin is head and shoulders above other cricketing greats.”
Geoffrey Boycott on centuries:
Another English skipper won over the limelight n his playing days with some controversial antics while his commentary days earned him more plaudits as a mic-person.
“The difference between a score in the 90s and a century is often reflected as the difference between failure and success. It may be illogical, but in cricket, a century has its own magic.”
Sunil Gavaskar on Dhoni’s World Cup-winning six:
Gavaskar was one of the finest batsmen India has ever produced and he was considered to be the batting benchmark before a certain Sachin Tendulkar took over him. However, his parallels in the commentary box are rare.
“When I die, the last thing I want to see is the six that Dhoni hit in the 2011 World Cup Final.”
Harsha Bhogle on Sachin Tendulkar’s straight-drive:
Harsha Bhogle has been one of India’s best commentators ever and his words around the game have felt like a lightning bolt right from the hands of Zeus.
“This innings by Tendulkar has been a beautiful garden, the last shot being the most beautiful flower.”
Tony Cozier on Brian Lara’s dismissal:
Termed as the voice of the West Indian cricket, Cozier spent a lifetime in the commentary that saw him transcending above other ordinary mic-persons.
“The left index finger was raised slowly, but more hesitantly than usual, in answer to the familiar war dance the Australians describe as an appeal.”
Henry Blofeld on Jonathan Trott:
Blofeld remained as one of the fans’ favorites as he started his career with Radio commentary. His meteoric rise to stardom was accentuated with the dance of words that he would eventually bring in the monotonous routine of cricket.
“There’s stress in all of life, isn’t there? I feel sorry for (Jonathan) Trott, but there are questions. He had a bad summer against Australia. Then two low scores in the first Test. The next we know, he’s on the way home. These days there is every sort of coach. It does seem extraordinary that with so many helpers of every sort, they didn’t see this coming. Is it a question of not being able to cope with failure? Do people give in a bit too early? I hate to say it, but this didn’t happen in the old days.”
David Lloyd on Essex T20 run chase
David Lloyd was one of England’s most prolific batsmen who eventually found fame with his commentary skills.
“They’ve got to swing like a 70s disco to get anywhere near from here”.