This is not a personal attack. But it is a call for better commentators on the game because the fare of television is not cutting it and the inanity can sometimes be most irksome.
After the first day’s play in the second Test of the Green Park, Kanpur match between the touring Sri Lankans and the Indian team, Sri Lanka’s Russel Arnold was talking to Archana Vijaya, a charming, beautiful looking lady who happens to have been hired by the channel airing the match.
However, this was just one of many bizarre statements that have left her lips. She said, after India had piled on 417 on the first day, “So, Russel, are we looking at another draw?” to which Arnold surprisingly answered that perhaps Sri Lanka should be looking in that direction.
While Archana could be forgiven, it was surprising that Arnold should agree because that is the mindset of a defeatist. And a Test match is all about endurance where no team can contemplate draw on the first day (as was stated in the first day’s review) because it would be the death of the team’s chances.
But it is not Archana’s fault either. The trend began in the 2003 ICC World Cup when hiring pretty girls to do the commentator’s job was considered innovative. It brought forth Mandira Bedi in noodle straps and although she has made attempts to put cricket before clothes, the unflattering comments about how the idea of a woman in the commentary box came about are never too far behind. The idea that only one modern enough to sport daring outfits and be bold enough to look past those crude comments about the role of a woman in the sport is now apparently the way ahead. It is also a reason why Anjum Chopra, despite the wealth of cricket conversation she brings to the table on Doordarshan in rather smart formal clothes, is an exception than the norm. Channels know what they are going for they want to mix beauty with business.
However, sometimes statements like these make one cringe because these girls are expected to be trendsetters. Then to be bracketed with them just because one belongs to the field does not feel like a compliment.
These ladies deserve more credit for their courage, daring and poise. But while Archana, who was a former Channel [v] VJ, may have more sports acumen than this article gives her credit for or those with narrow interests of TRPs may give her credit for, sometimes pointing out the inanity of talk may sometimes just serve as a reality check.