In a previous article, we looked at the 5 best commentators in the roster of 24 that the official broadcasters of the upcoming ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup have chosen. Let us now look at the 5 who are the exact opposite. But do remember that these are not bad commentators. It's just that they are least good among this group.
It is worth repeating that a list of this king is highly subjective. So, many may disagree with it. Here again, we are ascertaining commentators on the basis of their analytical prowess and value addition to the experience of the viewers. Keeping that in mind, we have curated, as per our judgement, these rankings. Here are the 5 least exciting from these 24 individuals.
5. Harsha Bhogle
This is going to annoy many people. Over the years, Harsha has developed a cult following among Indian cricket fans. However, judging him purely from a non-emotional point of view, there are good reasons to consider him not the best. To begin with, his commentary overflows with attempts at humour and jokes. Having a chuckle here and there is great but when every second statement is a light-hearted one, it becomes jarring. Secondly, his clever use of words is endearing but only to a limit. When he starts to state everything in an indirect, allegorical style, it gets irritating. Lastly, unlike Ganguly, he has become rather partisan in his views. The unnecessary argument he got into with late Tony Greig over his criticism of BCCI is an example of this. For these reasons, he features in this list.
4. Mark Nicholas
Another person who has a legion of fans around the world is Mark Nicholas, former English first-class cricketer who became the voice of cricket on Channel Nine when they had the rights to telecast cricket in Australia. What has characterised Nicholas' style is his dramatic flair and ability to describe big moments with poetic flourish. But often, it seems over the top, artificial and not as instinctive as when his former commentary colleague Tony Greig was describing the scenes. He is highly knowledgeable about history but doesn't provide as much serious analysis as one would hope for.
3. Wasim Akram
Being one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Wasim Akram has a lot of knowledge to offer. However, as a commentator, he isn't always as good as his compatriots like Ramiz Raja and former bowling partner Waqar Younis. Of course, when properly questioned, there are many pearls of wisdom that he can reveal about the art of bowling. But his attempts to be funny are usually off the mark. Furthermore, he can be too biased in his team's favour and also not fully knowledgeable about the events in the cricket sphere of his own country.
2. Pommie Mbangwa
Mpumelelo Mbangwa is a former Zimbabwean cricketer who has made a great career as a commentator in South Africa. He is now a familiar face in T20 leagues like IPL as well. However, Pommie too eschews a rather annoying tendency to over-dramatise things and rely more on hyperbole than sound analysis. Even his catchphrases do not evoke the same sense of excitement as those of people like Bill Lawry or Mike Haysman. Mbangwa is also often unable to take the discussion to a more deeper level of analysis, hence, despite his vast experience and comfort with the mic, he finds himself in this list.
1. Athar Ali Khan
Let's be fair, Bangladesh do not have too many commentators who can do a good job in English. Athar Ali Khan has been the voice of Bangladesh cricket since the very early days after the country got Test status. Not fully comfortable with the language, he does a decent job of presenting the Bangladeshi side of the story. But the ICC could have chosen a much better option in form of Shamim Chowdhury, who is much more articulate, measured and not lacking in knowledge.
At the end, it is important to mention that all these men are wonderful cricket personalities worthy of utmost respect. However, since cricketers are also rated at different times based on theri talents and performances, we have engaged in a similar excercise with them. It should not be considered, in any way, a show of disrespect towards these people.