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Best Eleven of Cricketers Turned Commentators

The game of cricket is incomplete without commentators describing the action. They are an integral part of a live cricket broadcast. In this article, we try to make an eleven of international players turned commentators.

Ritik Goel
Last updated: 28.05.2020
Best Eleven of Cricketers Turned Commentators | Sports Social Blog

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The game of cricket is incomplete without commentators describing the action. They are an integral part of a live cricket broadcast. In this article, we try to make an eleven of international players turned commentators. It must be noted that they have not been selected on their performance as players but their skills, knowledge, experience and legacy as commentators. Moreover, since the list consists of international former cricketers, non-players like Harsha Bhgole and Tony Cozier or first-class cricketers like Mark Nicholas and Mike Haysman, unfortunately, could not be included.

 

 

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  1. Sunil Gavaskar

 

Mr. Gavaskar will find himself in the opening position of this line up much like his position in his playing days. Arguably, the greatest opening batsman of his time, Gavaskar has spent over 25 years in the commentary box covering a plethora of cricket matches across the world. He has been known to be straight-forward and has constantly expressed his admiration for former players like G.S. Vishwanath with the mic. He called the first ball of the IPL as well as Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket haul in Delhi,  1999. He has been critical of players disrespecting or not recognizing the success of past generations. He also critically calls moments like overthrows as he stresses the importance of singles. He also says how he loves the West Indies as a commentator as he did as a player. He has been very modest given his achievements. He is believed to be the highest-paid commentator of the BCCI.

 

  1. Michael Atherton

 

The former England captain Atherton whose playing style, much like Gavaskar's was characterized by grit and determination. Some commentators are taught to talk all the time but Atherton at Sky Cricket’s broadcast is a treat to the ears. With crisp, clean, to the point and accurate analysis, he has mastered the art of commentary. He doesn't put forward any random theories but provides real and insightful analysis. He is also popular for how well he manages to understand what to say and whatnot. He has been awarded as the best journalist on several occasions and represents England in almost every world tournament.

 

  1. Ramiz Raja

 

Given the fact that Pakistan has not produced a lot of international commentators, the way Raja has emerged to be what he is now, certainly makes him the voice of Pakistan cricket. He was the right man to call Pakistan’s win in the Champions Trophy 2017 as Pakistan's story in that tournament was much like what it was the 1992 World Cup, the tournament he was an integral part of, that time, as a player. Raja is not known to pull magical words out of the dictionary but he is straightforward in his analysis. One thing that is unique about his commentary is that he does not shy away from criticising Pakistan players and his criticism can be harsh too. However, he is widely respected in commentary circles. In fact, he has done several stints at the IPL as well as for the BCCI and Indian fans love him.

 

  1. Nasser Hussain

 

If you ever love the professionalism and a sophisticated personality, you have to listen to Nasser Hussain. He has been the benchmark against which commentators can match their performance. He has accepted the fact that he always tried to be the best version of himself and not look to emulate the best in the world. He keeps it clean and focuses on what is correct and not what the spectators will like to listen. Calling the lowest moment in English cricket, that is a shameful exit from the 2015 Cricket World Cup to calling the best moment in English cricket that is the 2019 World Cup win, Hussain has come a long way. He has said some controversial things such as accidentally calling an Indian player ‘donkey’ to highlight lapses in the field. He also famously engaged in an on-air spat with Ravi Shastri about why India did not accept the DRS. But he says himself he is not England’s cheerleader. He tries to be unbiased. After all, being the favourite commentator of Mithali Raj and Virat Kohli takes a lot of skill which Hussain has in abundance.

 

  1. Ravi Shastri

 

Harsha Bhogle confessed once that he jokingly told Shastri that he did not leave Bhogle any good moment to call in Indian cricket. Well, Shastri has seen it all and called it all. Whether it was the T20 World Cup win of 2007, the 2011 Cricket World Cup win, Sachin Tendulkar’s double century or Rohit Sharma’s double century, he has been the man behind the microphone on every occasion. He was aggressive as a player and is aggressive as a coach as well. His aggression was very evident in his analysis as well as in his voice in the commentary box. After achieving what he has in his 25-year stint in the commentary box, there is no way that he can miss this list.

 

  1. Tony Greig

 

The combination of Sachin Tendulkar’s demolishing of the Aussie attack in the ‘desert storm’ game in Sharjah, 1997 and the voice of Tony Greig is a much-loved memory for cricket fans. Indians also remember him shouting at the top of his lungs and making Harbhajan Singh’s hattrick in the famous 2001 test series against Australia memorable. He was a gun all-rounder in his time and as a commentator too, he mastered most things. His epic partnership with Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappel for Channel 9, the biggest cricket broadcasting channel in the world for over 30 years made him an eminent part of cricket commentary and this combination called major moments in Australian cricket. His voice would keep everyone engaged and his dry humour would keep everyone entertained. He was also known to travel to Sri Lanka and cover their games as well. He remains very much present in our memories even after his premature demise in 2012.

 

  1. Ian Smith (WK)

 

The wicket-keeper of this side will be the former Kiwi Keeper Ian Smith. He must have aged a lot in 2019 as he called England’s World Cup win in 2019 and three super-overs in 2019-20 home summer of New Zealand. He is arguably the voice of New Zealand cricket and New Zealand fans can’t imagine a cricket match featuring the Kiwis and him not present in the box. His passion for commentary was evident in his loud voice and beautiful words in New Zealand’s epic Semi-final victories in the 2015 World Cup final. He is a true master of his art.

 

  1. Richie Benaud (Captain)

 

If a book is written on cricket commentary, the first page will belong to Richie Benaud. After being a stalwart of Australian cricket in his playing days, he became the face of Channel 9 as well as Australian cricket for almost 50 years before his sad demise owing to skin cancer in 2015. He was characterized by calmness and not noise, he was known for professionalism and not waywardness. He always used to say that try to call what the viewers can’t see and not what they can see. This advice was key to Shane Warne’s and Ian Smith’s commentary careers. He has covered cricket for most networks and in most countries. He was privileged to witness a range of eras from that of Don Bradman to that of Steve Smith. He is someone whom commentators look up to when they want to pursue this career and so he will captain this side.

 

  1. Ian Bishop

 

Ian Bishop once said that he was never interested in becoming a cricket commentator. Perhaps, he himself did not know that he would go on to become one of the most respected voices in the game. He was a fiery fast bowler but in the commentary box, he is nice and gentle. He has endorsed what we call broadcasting ethics. One of these ethics is letting someone else call the final moment because it means more to him/her. He did to by moving out of the box and letting Harsha Bholge call the final moment of Sachin Tendulkar’s career. He also put down the mic and let Mel Jones call the Australian win in the 2020 Women’s World T20. He is immensely skilful and his call of West Indies win in the T20 World Cup 2016 still gives us goosebumps.

 

  1. Michael Holding

 

If there ever was a commentator who would stick to his principles and who would be straight forward, it has to be Michael Holding. He calls a spade a spade. The way he presents his immense knowledge of fast-bowling is a treat to the ears. He did not like the idea of T20 cricket and so he has never covered a single T20 game. He disliked the way West Cricket Board administration mishandled its players during 2010s and he said he would not cover West Indies cricket until the new administrator resigns. He is very insightful and very analytical. Since he fears no one while expressing his views, he was given a notice by the ICC in the recently concluded 2019 World Cup when he criticized umpires’ performance on-air. But he is firm and thus enjoys a great reputation.

 

  1. Danny Morrison

 

Morrison, the former Kiwi speedster has changed the way commentary can be done and gave a new outlook to it. He taught how you could use sassy and cool language in commentary while still maintaining the standard. His style was characterized by loud and excitable calling which made him an ideal commentator for T20 cricket. Interestingly, he does not cover international cricket for a team or for a channel as such. He spreads his magic in almost every T20 league around the world. He says that he will go wherever his mic will take him and he goes and cover franchise tournaments around the world.

 

 

Notable Misses include David Loyyd, Sanjay Manjrekar, Geoffrey Boycott, Simon Doull, Bill Lawry, Ian Chappel, Shaun Pollock and Shane Warne.

 

 

Best Eleven of Cricketers Turned Commentators

 

Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Atherton, Ramiz Raja, Nasser Hussain, Ravi Shastri, Tony Greig, Ian Smith(WK), Richie Benaud(captain), Ian Bishop, Michael Holding, and Danny Morrison

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