Monday, July 06, 2009

Amritraj is tennis's Arun Lal

Vijay Amritraj and Arun Lal have two things in common. Both are commentators, and both decide the person/team they are going to support during the course of the match. Why does Star Sports have Amritraj as a commentator? He isn't as famous as John McEnroe. He hasn't won a Grand Slam at any level. Ramesh Krishnan is better than him. He atleast has won the French and Wimbledon juniors' titles. In India, people would know more about McEnroe's achievements rather than Amritraj's. And why doesn't Amritraj stick to giving balanced views of the play, rather than gettting hyper about every stroke that his favourite player plays.

I was watching the epic Wimbledon final. The match was awesome and is fit to go into the annals as one of the best matches ever played on grass court. No player was relaxing for any moment, giving their hundred percent for every point. But, our Amritraj had planned to support Andy Roddick. Every bit of his commentary was brazenly pro-Roddick. About Federer, he was completely unenthusiastic. If Roddick barely managed to take a point, Amritraj was touting it to be a master stroke, whereas difficult shots and beautiful returns by Federer were mentioned as if they were ordinary shots. Even Alan Wilkins, who was Amritraj's partner, was giving a balanced view, though Wilkins too was inclined towards Roddick.

In the fifth set, Amritraj even went on to say- "If Federer hasn't broken Roddick even once in the past three hours, where is this match going?" If it wasn't enough to say it once, Amritraj repeated his statement once the set went past 6-6. Well, eventually Federer did break Roddick's serve. He broke it once and that's what mattered to be crowned as Wimbledon Champion.

In cricket too, Arun Lal does the same thing. Sometimes, he himself doesn't understand what he is talking about. After the T20 World Cup, Arun Lal demanded that Dhoni should resign from the captaincy. Two weeks back, the same Arun Lal was praising Dhoni's 'coolness' in the IPL games.

Why are we supposed to hear to such mediocre commentary? As cricket has its Sunil Gavaskar, tennis too might have someone. I'm not sure who, but probably McEnroe would be a better commentator than Amritraj. We viewers should write to Star Sports and force them to remove Amritraj. After all, customer is the king!
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  1. 1. I was listening to McEnroe today and the Roddick support was too much to take (although, he was commentating for an American audience). And there was nothing new...the same stuff about second serves that kick in to your body, top spin, slice...throw in some arguments about why Pete is better than Roger or why Rod Laver is the best...that was about it...and the Semis was a even worse....NBC did not show it live, so it was stolen streaming from the British Broadcasters, and for them, even a Roddick Double fault was because Murray was standing on the other end!

    2. You seriously think that Gavaskar's drone is good! He can put you to sleep during the most exciting matches! The only reasonable commentators I still like are Harsha Bhogle and Tony Cozier....G

  2. @kaushik,

    1. Okay, I concede that others aren't much better than Amritraj. But, McEnroe is an American, so cheering for an American is natural (plus, NBC might have instructed him to please the American fans). With the Brits too, I understand as Murray is a Brit. But then why does Amritraj have to sound pro-Roddick. He is serving an Indian audience who have no national loyalty to any of the players. But then I checked Wikipedia. Amritraj currently resides in US. So, probably that's what prompted him to support Roddick.

    2. Yes, Gavaskar does bring in a lot of tit-bit knowledge about the game. I specifically remember him telling the importance of a night-watchman in the yester-years. And also about the diminishing importance of the same position in today's context. The night watchman was important then, because pitches weren't covered overnight. And you don't want to expose a new batsman to the fresh pitch on the next morning. So, a night watchman's job was to stay at the crease till a time when it is safe for the specialist batsman to come in. Now, with pitches covered over-night, a new batsman doesn't have to face trying conditions the next day. So, the importance of a night watchman is diminishing in today's game. Nobody else ever pointed this out. Harsha is balanced too. I don't specifically remember anything about Cozier.

  3. Hmm I don't think customers can have their way in everything...its all about money n influencing people with their network...Amritraj does that..he's no good as a player but when there's a match going on he's as famous as the players on field...dunno how he does it but he's quite knack at getting to the top...n as for commentary i've never listened to his but i don't think gavasker is good enuf too...

  4. @Radhika
    I generally live in an idealistic world. But you are right. Influence matters a lot. But, I still think Gavaskar is a good commentator. There may be better than him, but he is good.

  5. Hey you have been awarded the International Bloggers' Community Award by me :)...chk my blog for the rules to pass it on to other deserving bloggers.

  6. Great Blog.

    Arun Lal is the most boring commentator. The fellow commentator with him is pitiful soul in the universe. Arun Lal keeps on talking without even slight concern for the viewers and the other commentator. Amritraj is not that bad. But he is equally irritating.

    I think these two provide commentary for hours (without cribbing) just when they are fed food at regular intervals (without any compensation). That could be a reason why these 2 are the most sought after commentators.

  7. @Shanmuga,

    Thanks! Yes, Arun Lal and Vijay Amritraj are more of an interference in the game rather than enhancing the experience.