Sunil Gavaskar’s Mouth Games

Part of the reason I don’t like Star Cricket’s coverage is Gavaskar’s uneven analysis. The other commentators work just fine: Bhogle always gets me with his teen-like exuberance and love for the game, and Ravi Shastri has an impeccable sense for the drama. No matter how bad things get for India, Shastri’s always there to offer a road map to better things.

But Gavaskar’s credibility comes mostly from his impeccable record as a batsman. Being the greatest (at one point) brings several perks to the afterlife, and this man practically runs every committee on the ICC and the BCCI. And this is where the trouble resides: Gideon Haigh has already noted that Gavaskar’s role as a columnist and opinionator-extremis clashes with his function as an ambassador (and worker) for cricket.

So when Gavaskar essentially accuses Brett Lee of, well, intentionally bowling a beamer (see below), he’s providing excellent TV drama (as all commentators should do), but he’s failing as an ICC official. Michael Slater ably defends Lee, and I think Gavaskar kind of backtracks midway through the conversation, realizing his error. Watch out, Sunny! You’re on TV!

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