Perseverance will always pay, Big bat and pad gap, you could have driven a lorry through that, He will be disappointed, dejected as a wet hen!
So that’s how the man from Patiala- Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu- describes a player getting out after his stumps are shattered. Many take it in a way of utter “nonsense” while others take it as a well said piece. Honestly speaking, not only does he gain everybody’s attention by the amount of vocabulary- be it English or Hindi- he has got, but also gives a new lease of life to Cricket Commentary. But when he crosses the mark, it is better to switch over to another channel!
He started his career as a commentator in the 2002 test series involving India and England, for ESPN, and it was at that time, he shook the world with his inexplicable vocabulary. In normal passage of play, he used to provide some, or it will be better to say “create some”, phrases which would match the situation of the game and would amuse the co-commentators. Amidst the presence of some classy commentators like Alan Wilkins, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri, Sidhu began to win hearts of every cricket fan.
What he does is he makes a small situation look bigger than ever. Inserting bombastic words in his so called unexplainable commentary, sometimes gives a new lease of life to commentary while it also frustrates some, or rather most, listeners. His tone of speaking English is far far better than the way he commentates in Hindi. Perhaps that’s why he was selected by the ESPN Star Sports channel to broadcast on the 2002 test series.
Since 2012, ESPN Star Sports have started Hindi commentary involving Kapil Dev, Ayaz Memon and others. Of course, Navjot Singh Sidhu is also the part of this team. Hindi commentary was launched to give the importance of the national language. It has helped for those who understand Hindi better. But it has also been rejected by most of the listeners ( mostly those of the younger generation), probably just because of one man.
While commentating in Hindi, he sometimes overdoes the so called Sidhuism. I understand he has judged many comedy shows and currently is present as a guest at Kapil’s show, but that doesn’t mean he will take this comedy forward into cricket. In tense situations, he sometimes explains useless poems that would frustrate anyone. I wonder what would have happened if cable operators showed just Star Sports 1 (Star Sports 1 shows Hindi commentary).
Now whenever Sidhu takes a break and gives way for another co-commentator (the traditional rotation policy in commentating), his fans tend to switch back to English channels, while the Sidhu haters heave a sigh of relief when he finishes his spell of analysis. But somewhere down the line I feel that Hindi commentary without him, in his words, is like a kiss without a squeeze.
Hate him or love him, Sidhu will continue to amuse people who want to be amused and frustrate people who want the same. As India’s tour of England is coming up during July, brace yourself for another round of Sidhuism!