Nasser Hussain appeared clearly surprised by his own excitement to be doing his commentary stint with Russell Crowe, Hollywood actor of films such as “Gladiator”, “A Beautiful” and “Cinderella Man”, and Crowe certainly stole the show from Shane Warne sitting beside him.
Shane Warne has been rather chirpy behind the microphone but it was Crowe who came across as a thinking commentator with some rather definitive words. Although merely a spectator at Wimbledon 2009 when he was at Centre Court during Federer’s fifteenth Grand Slam title battle with Andy Roddick, here he appeared to know what he was doing in the commentary box. He quickly took the opportunity to ask of Warne, “What happened to Australia? Their lack of ruthlessness was evident on the final day of the first Test at Cardiff. Don’t Australians usually have the clamp on the opposition’s throat?” It sounded even more ruthless coming from his deep, booming, not to mention seductive, voice.
When asked about where he was an avid cricket watcher, Crowe admitted to being a traditionalist and not someone entirely gaga over the ODIs or Twenty20’s. He stated it was the five day game that captivated him and while he could not always come down to the ground, he followed it religiously.
Crowe’s commentary stint eventually ended when bad light halted the second day’s play of the second Test of the Ashes at Lord’s. Nasser Hussain was not wrong, although it was stated it as much tongue in cheek, when he stated that Crowe was certainly a better looking and interesting commentator than former England coach and witty wisecrack behind the mic, David Lloyd. Dare we say, he topped the presence of Queen Elizabeth II in many ways.
But Crowe had showed enough that he could just as easily slip into the role of a commentator and none of it scripted. Once again he had held his audience in awe.