As it is, Javagal Srinath has many claims to fame, but is he also the first “good” commentator in recent times?
Good, as in volle huduga.
Allow us to explain. The cricket commentary box is a haven for bad boys. Most commentators on view today are rebellious types. Strong characters who believe in calling a spade a bloody shovel. Characters who have had their rub-ins with the establishment.
There is Sunil Gavaskar, a man who batted left-handed because Bombay were losing to Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match, and almost threatened to walk out of a Test match when given out lbw in Australia.
There is Ravi Shastri, a man who was really Gavaskar redux in terms of attitude. He was the one who famously told Raj Singh Dungarpur to buzz off, when he was told not to drink. “I drink with my father, who are you to ask me?”
There is Ian Chappell, who was once chastised and suspended by Channel Nine for using a swear word on-air among countless other indiscretions.
There is Tony Grieg who led the bandwagon that walked into Kerry Packer‘s World Series.
There is Geoff Boycott, the epitome of selfishness, who flew home the moment he overtook Gary Sobers‘ run aggregate.
There is Asif Iqbal who was embroiled in the match-fixing scam. There is Mike Atherton who hid mud in his pocket to scruff the ball.
You get the picture? Cricket’s better commentators are not necessarily ones who have “good behaviour” as their middle name.
On the other hand, you have the Rama Vilas Road Race Horse, who despite 236 Test wickets and 315 one-day wickets (that’s 551 international wickets dammit), never got into one row all his cricketing life and who at the faintest sight of one, will run as fast as his legs reared on countless Marimallappa’s Canteen masala dosas could take him.
And there he is rubbing shoulders with the very bad boys and showing that nice guys don’t need to necessarily finish last.
Among contemporary commentators, you might say Arun Lal too is a bit of a gentleman, but he never quite played as many matches as Srinath. Mohinder Amarnath called the selectors jokers. L. Sivaramakrishnan had a bit of a reputation beyond the cricket field.
We’re looking around for other “good” commentators and all we can come up with is Ian Bishop.
Till such time we can’t find one, Babu it will be. After all, he is namma huduga.