“Incredibly fantastic,” exclaimed the original little master after India beat Australia in the T20 league match (NDTV 24×7). Make that “after Virat beat Australia” and forgive Sunil Gavaskar his double superlative: Kohli was incredible and fantastic so who cares about grammatical niceties?
So incredible and so fantastic that news channels just couldn’t resist: They simply had to compare him with the little master-blaster: “Is Kohli better than Sachin?” (CNN IBN), “Is Virat the new Sachin?” (NDTV 24×7). They hurled statistics at their panelists like bouncers. The likes of Gavaskar, “Deano” Jones (NDTV) and Sourav Ganguly, Nasser Hussain (India Today) weaved and ducked out of harm’s way by repeating in their own words what K. Srikkanth said in his inimitable style: Sachin Tendulkar is Sachin Tendulkar, Gavaskar is Gavaskar and Virat is Virat — which nobody can deny! (CNN-IBN).
Cricket commentators during the match — Harsha Bhogle, V.V.S. Laxman, Shoaib Akhtar, Kapil Dev and others were confronted with the same googly and patted it out safely, just like the other cricketers (Star Sports). Since this was extremely tedious for viewers and not what they wanted to hear at all, the question was tweaked: Okay, is Virat the better finisher of a game? They all heaved a sigh of relief (phew!) and said, he was the best finisher in the game.
But that wasn’t the end of it — we still had to hear from the man himself. When Sachin T was asked to comment on Virat K, he met it with that straight bat of his: He lavished Kohli with praise without anointing him his successor and carefully praised the entire team for its efforts (India Today). Dead ball.
After Kohli’s one-man rescue act, news TV went ga-ga: Aaj Tak even replayed him dancing Gangnam style during an earlier show to prove that he was fun and very much today’s man. No praise was too extravagant for the Delhi cricketer: Superlatives flew off tongues like fours off Kohli’s bat.
Have you listened to the Hindi commentary — especially when India plays (Star Sports)? It’s like the ball screeching to the fence after you-know-who has hit it. It’s like an opera singer going from bass to soprano at the speed of the white cherry racing to the boundary: “Aur yeh chaaaaaaR RUN!”, “ek auR CHOWKA!”And just like opera singers have to raise their voices to be heard above the music of the orchestra, so too the Hindi commentators screamed above the cheering of the maddened crowds in the stand. Enough to give you a heart attack, especially during a heart-stopping run chase. On India Today, Boria Majumdar has predicted that India will be in the finals; so suggest you keep the ambulance number handy.
By the way, the jugalbandhi of Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar is hugely enjoyable.
As we have discovered, cricketers-cum-commentators can be loud, colourful characters. None more so than Very Very Special Laxman. On Sunday, he appeared on the analysis show after India had beaten Australia wearing a pink polka dot shirt under a blue and white check blazer, an orange kerchief peeking out of its pocket, with dark blue trousers, brown shoes and a gold watch. Such magnificence cannot be matched so Akhtar was dressed discreetly in black and white.
Meanwhile, Deepak Chaurasia (India News) seems to have taken our advice of last week when we suggested that stuffy TV news anchors should lighten up a little in this season of T20. He exchanged his shirt and jacket for something more comfortable: A red T-shirt. So did most of his panelists and they set about dissecting Kohli’s game with the same precision that he dissects the field.
India has found itself a new hero at a time when there are only villains. “Talisman” Kohli.
Meanwhile, wonder what Laxman will wear for today’s semi-final.