Ear to the pitch

On March 1, 2006, if you wanted to follow the First Test match between India and England in Nagpur on radio, you couldn?t.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 02:25 IST
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On March 1, 2006, if you wanted to follow the First Test match between India and England in Nagpur on radio, you couldn’t. This was not because of a sudden dearth of cricket aficionados far from TV screens, but because of the failure of a terrestrial rights agreement being drawn up by AIR and the company that had bagged the cricket rights. As a result, the Nagpur match became the first Home Test not covered by AIR since Independence. That, thankfully, has been corrected and Mohali is on the airwaves.

With TV having spread its cricket-reach like a good flu, one would suppose that the lack of cricket commentary on the radio would go unnoticed. One supposes wrong. For apart from the sheer mobility of the radio, the radio commentary by itself is guided by its own set of aesthetics. By virtue of the radio’s non-visual quality, the radio commentator plays Sanjay to the listener’s Dhritarashtra. This not only means a more detailed — and colourful — commentary, but also enables the listener, otherwise as imaginative as an honest accountant, to use his imagination to fill in the ‘visual’ gap.

In case you think that our observation is based on any sort of ‘save-an-endangered-industry’ ideology, think again. Actually don’t. Instead, just turn the TV volume off and turn on the radio. If the radio commentary doesn’t triumph over the one on TV, you must either be deaf or — poorer thing — a Navjot Sidhu fan.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 02:25 IST