Among the various announcements being made about the upcoming World Cup, one important one was of the roster of commentators selected by the official broadcasters. It includes ex-players from all countries taking part except Afghanistan and has both men and women. From former World Cup-winning captains to non-players, there is an interesting mix of voices that will bring the game live to viewers around the world.
So, which one of these commentators we can look forward to hearing the most? It's hard to make an objective judgement of commentators since everyone has a different opinion of what a cricket commentator is supposed to do. However, there can be a broad agreement that insightful analysis done in a lively manner is the best part of commentary. So, keeping that in mind, let us look at the 5 best commentators from the 24 that the official broadcasting team has chosen for the mega quadrennial event.
5. Graeme Smith
Since retiring from international cricket, Smith took up the microphone and has emerged as a very important voice from South Africa. Despite having been captain for a long time, he is not averse to making the odd critical comment about his former teammates. Furthermore, his tactical nous, which was often on display when he was leading his side, makes him an astute observer of the game who can understand the dynamics in play while the match is in progress. Devoid of hyperbole and full of insight, he is always a good person to hear.
4. Ian Smith
A highly under-rated commentator, Ian Smith has been at the helm of cricket broadcasting in New Zealand for a very long time. He is energetic, has a powerful voice, possesses a good sense of humour, can analyse the game in depth and is not shy to criticise players when they need to be. With him at the mic, the game always appears interesting.
3. Ian Bishop
One of the most prolific commentators in the World, Ian Bishop is an oft-heard voice, even in events not featuring his own team, the West Indies. What distinguishes Bishop is his unbiased and fair assessment of the game and the ability to identify those aspects of the contest that will prove important. While he may have been guilty of overstatement on some occasions – the famous 'remember the name' pronouncement that turned out to be a false dawn of Carlos Brathwaite's career – he is mostly a delight to listen to because of his engaging style and passionate description of the action.
2. Nasser Hussain
Described by many as the shrewdest captain of his time, Hussain became one of the world's best commentators and analysts very soon after his retirement. His hawk-like vision catches everything going on in the field of play – from subtle tactics to the attitude of players. He is also a great psycho-analyst who can make out the temperament and personalities of cricketers better than most. His astute observations and informative comments make the depth of the game discernible to the ordinary spectator.
1. Sourav Ganguly
Dada, as he is popularly called in India, has also taken to commentary like duck to water. Absolutely neutral and never shy to give credit where it's due, he has an unmatched understanding of the game. Like Hussain, he can see through personalities on the field and recognise the minutest strategic details. The depth of his cricketing knowledge and experience allows Ganguly to separate wheat from the chaff in terms of cricket analysis and point out the most relevant aspects of the game. With him, the viewer knows exactly what is happening and why it's happening on the field.