Cricket geek and comic Cyrus Broacha gives the report cards of the IPL commentators.
Brad Hogg (Australia)
As a commentator: He has just started commentating and I think he’s Sivaramakrishnan with an Aussie accent, though he’s a left arm Chinamen than a right arm leg spinner. But I’m pretty sure he’d be good.
As a player: He bowled nicely, batted occasionally; he was an unknown soldier who played an important role in the team. He was a cog in the Australian wheel.
Stupidest thing he’d say: I think Harbhajan was right.
Most likely to say: Lalit Modi is a great man (since his place as commentator is not secure).
Most unlikely to say: Who is Lalit Modi?
Danny Morrison (New zealand)
As a commentator: New Zealand has a million sheep, but none of them are commentating, so he’s doing it. He’s a character. He’s not necessarily the guy with the most erudite commentary, but he’s an entertainer.
As a player: He was a pretty fast bowler; a bang for the buck cricketer. He’s built in a short robust fashion like me, but he was still a great fast bowler with a big heart.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Look at the number of Kiwis at the Wankhede stadium!
Most likely to say: I’m bored of this match, let’s go bungee jumping.
Most unlikely to say: New Zealand win!
Dominic Cork (England)
As a commentator: He was born on the same date as me... August 7, 1971... And that’s the reason for his colourful personality. He’s a freelance commentator who went to Lahore, and stayed there even after the bomb blasts. He’s tough!
As a player: He swung the ball in his early days, and then became a batting allrounder. That cost him his career though. He was nothing exceptional, but he is a Leo too, so I like him.
Stupidest thing he’d say: I want to go back to Lahore again.
Most likely to say: I am fit to play for England.
Most unlikely to say: I am fit to play for the IPL.
Harsha Bhogle (India)
As a commentator: The only commentator who has got younger over the years. He took to commentating after Rediffusion threw him out, I hear. To his credit, the only non-cricketing commentator.
As a player: Has played cricket at the highest level... On the Banjara Hills. He played a charity match against old women and scored 7 not out in the early ’60s.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Well said, Mandira.
Most likely to say: I was speaking to Don Bradman the other day.
Most unlikely to say: Cyrus Broacha has been my inspiration as a leg spinner.
Ian Bishop (West Indies)
As a commentator: He’s the real deal. He’s got a good voice, speaks very clearly, picks up the finer points and always adds a little humour. He’s definitely one of the best commentators. I really enjoy watching him speak.
As a player: I’m a big fan of his. He was a really good pace bowler, probably one of the best, at his peak. A back injury cut his career short, unfortunately.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Wow, Sunil Gavaskar is such a tall guy!
Most likely to say: West Indies lose again.
Most unlikely to say: West Indies easily beat Zimbabwe.
Jeff Dujon (West Indies)
As a commentator: In spite of his Jamaican drawl, he’s a bit too dry and a bit too nice. He can put you off to sleep sometimes. He’s a gentleman… He could have been a doctor. Oh wait, Adam Gilchrist’s already taken that spot.
As a player: I loved him as a wicketkeeper-batsman in Clive Lloyd’s team, the greatest team of all times. He would have done better if he would have been in another team.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Clive Lloyd was an awful captain.
Most unlikely to say: I should have captained the West Indies.
Most likely to say: Does anyone captain the West Indies today?
Jeremy Coney (New Zealand)
As a commentator: He has a British way of commentating – he makes self-deprecating jokes and makes fun of New Zealand, which is very different from our Indian commentators, who would be stoned if they make India jokes.
As a player: He wasn’t a bad player, but wasn’t a great player either. He made himself count as a player, and he was captain, but you remember him as a captain, but not as a player.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Martin Crowe was better than me as a cricketer.
Most likely to say: Jeff Crowe was better than me as a cricketer.
Most unlikely to say: Russell Crowe was better than me as a cricketer.
L Sivaramakrishnan (India)
As a commentator: He’s quite good, very analytical, even though that may get irritating at a point. He seems to preparing to teach MBA. He has the ability to pick balls from the hand, unlike me — I pick balls only after they spin.
As a player: He was excellent in the couple of years he played. He had a googly, a top spin, a ripping leg break. But he got out for reasons other than cricket.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Ravi, instead of the girls, can you have dinner with me for once?
Most likely to say: He says stuff that a professor would say, ‘If you can see the trajectory of the bowl… it drops at a certain height’, etc.
Most unlikely to say: I’m the greatest spinner.
Michael Kasprowicz (Australia)
As a commentator: He’s funny and is very comfortable being the way he is on air. He doesn’t put on an act, so you know he’s the same off air as well. If you want to marry him, he’s a good choice. I’ll do it any day.
As a player: I like him. He’s a jock Australian, who plays with his helmet and not his head. He was a good seam bowler and I think Gillespie and McGrath fed off him. He was underrated.
Stupidest thing he’d say: The Ashes loss to England in 2005 did wonders for my career.
Most likely to say: I’m off to India again!
Most unlikely to say: I think it’s time to go back to Australia.
Mike Haysman (Australia)
As a commentator: He doesn’t have any particular style of speaking. But the thing about people like him and Sivaramakrishnan, is that they always have a point to prove, because they have underachieved as cricketers.
As a player: He didn’t get enough opportunities because of his background. He is South African who had to switch to Australia because of apartheid.
Stupidest thing he’d say: South Africans have never been involved in match fixing.
Most likely to say: Time for me to apply for Indian citizenship.
Most unlikely to say: I’m a South African. In India, he’s unlikely to say he’s an Australian!
Pommie Mbangwa (Zimbabwe)
As a commentator: He’s got a great hairstyle and is a good commentator, with a lucid, clean and expressive way of talking. He paints a good picture. Though he’s from Zimbabwe, he’s got an English slant - which helps.
As a player: He wasn’t a great cricketer, but then he played for Zimbabwe at the wrong time. He played a very few matches, and he may have been better known had he stayed on.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Zimbabwe have great chances of winning the next World Cup.
Most likely to say: Henry Olongo, please come back!
Most unlikely to say: Robert Mugabe is a great, great man.
Ravi Shastri (India)
As a commentator: He has this particular style of speaking. He’d thunder when saying, ‘Sachin Tendulkar has come on the front foot and played a defensive shot’. But someone should tell him - nothing really happened, Ravi!
As a player: I’m a big Ravi Shastri fan. He was a highly underrated spinner and was a fantastic bastman, who came from No 10 to No 1 and made 11 test centuries too.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Harsha, can I borrow your comb?
Most likely to say: He has a catchphrase, ‘Like a tracer bullet’. Even when a rickshaw passes by, he says, ‘It went like a tracer bullet’.
Most unlikely to say: Bullet tracer?
Robin Jackman (South Africa)
As a commentator: He looks like a schoolmaster, and speaks like one too. He’s a bit pedagogic and preaches a lot. I get scared watching him speak. He’s perfect if he was playing for the IPL - he’s like a mercenary without a country.
As a player: He was apparently a good seam bowler, but I’ve never seen him play. His story is a bit like Mike Haysman’s, he was a South African who played for England, and he’s been all over the world.
Stupidest thing he’d say: My aunt played for England (She actually played for South Africa).
Most unlikely to say: I hate being in India (he knows where the market is).
Most likely to say: India is awesome!
Russell Arnold (Sri Lanka)
As a commentator: Russell Arnold does sound like someone who could speak English, but he lacks personality. That’s the problem with most Sri Lankan commentators apart from Ranjit Fernando.
As a player: He was a decent batting all-rounder and a good one-day cricketer, who didn’t play enough test-cricket. He made his presence felt in the team.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Jayasuriya’s new haircut is brilliant.
Most unlikely to say: Arjuna Ranatunga has just finished his lunch.
Most likely to say: Arjuna Ranatunga has just finished his lunch and now he’s finishing mine.
Simon Doull (New Zealand)
As a commentator: He had a very British presence and though he’s a New Zealander, he’s very understated. He’s not one of those guys who would date his stories and say ‘In my day’ or ‘In my time’. Actually, I think he’s forgotten that he was a cricketer himself!
As a player: He could have been a good player, but he didn’t play enough. He was a good medium pacer, but played only for a couple of years and then disappeared.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Danny, can you speak louder? I can’t hear you.
Most likely to say: New Zealand follow on, again!
Most unlikely to say: New Zealand follow on, again! (They are so unpredictable).
Sunil Gavaskar (India)
As a commentator: He could speak rubbish, but that wouldn’t matter because he’s the Great Gavaskar. He has the tendency to take long pauses between sentences and you wish he’d sing a song instead.
As a player: I agree with Gary Sobers and I think he’s the greatest batsman ever. He batted at a time when West Indies and Pakistani bowlers were at their best, and still did well.
Stupidest thing he’d say: Ravi, did Harsha use shampoo today?
Most likely to say: And again, there are a different set of rules for Indian players and different for Australian and English players.
Most unlikely to say: Don’t increase my payment
Andy Bichel (Australia )
As a commentator: I haven’t heard him as a commentator yet, but I presume they’ve brought him on because he’s cheaper than the others.
As a player: He was an underrated player but he played with heart. He was almost an all-rounder but was never destined to be great.
— As told to Nikhil Taneja