It does seem a bit coincidential, but of the leg spinners I’ve seen who’ve migrated to the commentary box, all of them seem to be the type who are extremely insightful and don’t get excited at the fall of a wicket like a child on seeing Lego-man.
Let’s consider the first example. I’m sure all of you have listened to Richie Benaud sometime or the other. He is a really good commentator and a person who believes in the mantra ‘Speak only when required’. Yes, his voice is quite drab, but that what adds to the flavour. He generally has some great anecdotes to share with the listeners as well.It really is hard to describe, I’m sure you will be able to find plenty of clips on YouTube with him commentating, so go check him out.
Next one on the list is Anil Kumble. Yes, in case you didn’t know, he did commentate during the T20 World Cup held 2 months ago. His commentating is, like his on-field performances, unassuming but of the highest quality. He too, like Richie, has a very drab and monotonous voice. However, due to his extensive international experience, he always has something insightful to say and, rather than blabbing on about some nonsense unrelated to the game, he talks about the game itself, such as possible tactics that the captains could use. He truly is a delight to listen to.
Last, but not least, is the King of Spin, Shane Warne. Readers of the Off Cutter will have realized that the blog has a certain bias towards Warney and this is due to an unabashed idolizing of Warney by yours truly. He was great on the field and is great off it as well. I’ve started listening to Warney during the ongoing Ashes series and he, along with another fav of mine, Bumble, are extremely entertaining. Just like in his playing days, Warney isn’t afraid to let one rip in the commentary box and has, on a fair number of occasions, had to be controlled by Bumble.
The best part of Warne’s commentary is that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He doesn’t just rant on, but really gives a very unbiased view of what’s going on and, like the previous two, is very insightful. He is also very honest and doesn’t like to cover up anything. A good example took place yesterday. I’m not sure whether it was Bell or Matt Prior, but someone had nicked a ball onto their pads and the appeal went up, only to be denied by Billy Bowden.
We all know that Warne isn’t a big fan of Bowden, evidenced from his recent coaxing of Bowden while on-air, saying “Come on, Billy, it isn’t that hard to count to 6, is it?” in response to Bowden having first ended an over after just 5 legitimate deliveries and another after 7 legitimate deliveries.
So, coming back to yesterday, he said “Good one from Billy, he’s finally come to the party! Good on ya’, Billy”. More than the quote itself, it was the tone in which he said it that really made it sound brutally honest.
So there it is, 3 leggies and commentary! Do you know any other leggies who have succeeded in the avatar of commentator?
Pictures courtesy of Cricinfo