Cricket goes bonkers on the idiot box

Updated on Oct 15, 2007 01:32 AM IST

Commercial breaks have made the television coverage of the ongoing series a nightmare, writes Kadambari Murali.

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Hindustan Times | ByKadambari Murali, New Delhi

Most of us woke up early on Sunday, hoping to spend the day watching some great cricket. What we got instead, was a frustrating, infuriating experience and not just because the Indian bowlers were being thwacked all over the place.

The television coverage has been so terrible that you could be forgiven for wanting to shake someone in the BCCI brass — all of who seemed to have landed up in BCCI president-elect Shashank Manohar's hometown for the game — for allowing the producers to get away with such a shoddy job.

When Adam Gilchrist mercifully got out after reaching his 50, Rameez Raja had just started saying "The last 15 minutes have been…" when Abhishek Bachchan in his sarpanch avatar bloomed onto the screen.

By the time Neo Sports brought the game back, Andrew Symonds was already facing the next delivery and before one could say "Bhajji", there was yet another commercial on screen.

This happened throughout the game. You missed all the discussions that would have been great to watch in a tense game such as this; you missed the drama, the pleasure (on this day) of the Indians celebrating the fall of another Aussie wicket (a rare occurrence, generally speaking); the excitement of watching a new batsman's expression as he walked in.

More than a few times, they cut off the over after the fifth ball, began a commercial and then quickly realised there was a sixth delivery remaining and switched back to the cricket. The final delivery should be called the vanishing ball. Almost invariably, we have been unabl-e to see the last legal delivery of an over, as the minute ball touches bat, there is a commercial.

Note here to the Neo Sports/DD producers: A ball is legally not dead till it gets back to the keeper and sometimes, not even that, depending on the situation.

And if all this isn't bad enough, we have these Big Bazaar ads singing loudly over the commentators while the action is on. Granted, that our ex-players don't always make sense, but c'mon, a singing commercial?! Incidentally, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, when contacted on Sunday, did say he was glad it had been brought to his "notice" and that the Board would take "necessary action" but when?

The BCCI had promised ages ago (during the India-England series in early 2006) that they would make sure there was a monitoring system in place to ensure viewers got to see the complete coverage of a game. Why make promises that can't be kept?

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