Richie Benaud lookalikes at the SCG

Hail Grandpa: Benaud impersonators doff their caps to the doyen of cricket commentary

© Getty Images
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The Jury's Out

The best commentator on TV

Cricket brings the drama through its narrators' soothing tones, trenchant observations, eloquence and opinions. Our panelists pick their favourite voices

Richie Benaud
By Russell Jackson

I've long held the theory that in all the years he's been beamed into our living rooms from the Channel Nine commentary box, Richie Benaud has become a wise, kindly grandfather to the entire cricket-loving nation of Australia. Rather than overselling what he means to me on a personal level, that possibly understates it; I've spent far more time in Richie's company than I ever did with my own grandfathers. Neither of them knew much about leggies either.

The point is that for a huge number of Australians, Richie has been a constant and unwavering presence amid rapid change in nearly every other part of our lives. Outside of people with whom I actually have personal relationships, Richie's is probably the voice I have listened to most. In his company my brothers and I learned the rules of the game, then some of its history, but mostly the fact that it is special and joyous and thus worthy of careful consideration when we discuss it. Without preaching, Richie always made cricket sound like the most important game on earth, and pretty soon I'd decided that it was.

It's not hugely controversial to say that he is the most accomplished and certainly the most universally loved of all Australia's TV commentators. His distinctive style is ripe for impersonation but also impossible to replicate (aside from the fictional Crocodile Dundee, has any Australian voice ever been mimicked so often and by so many?) and his analysis and views are beyond reproach. Can you ever remember disagreeing with something that Richie said?

I've spent far more time in Richie's company than I ever did with my own grandfathers

Richie's long-time adherence to the theory that you can add to the action unfolding on screen by saying nothing at all is famous, but I've also long admired his subtly different but equally enjoyable tendency to lead with a well-timed "Well, well… "

At their best his pauses provide the mind with a kind of imaginary antique frame around which we wrap the moment unfolding on screen. Sadly, this technique doesn't appear to have rubbed off on the newer breed of callers with whom he's been saddled over the last decade. "Viewers observe for themselves what has happened," he once said, "then, if necessary, have the commentator add something which will be of value." The key words there are "if necessary". Someone should tattoo that on the back of Michael Slater's microphone-holding hand.

Richie's absence from Channel Nine last season and inevitable full-time departure from our TVs, like that of the late Tony Greig and his calling partner Bill Lawry, will leave a hole that can never be filled. The recent suggestion of the channel's CEO, David Gyngell, that he'd like to have Richie phoning it in from his lounge this coming summer was taken in a lot of different ways; primarily as a huge compliment to Richie's standing, but it might also have given his younger colleagues a moment to consider the implied insult. In fairness, no one could possibly build or sustain the kind of gravitas Richie possesses, or imbue viewers with the same sense of trust.

Since he's a part of the furniture now and advancing in years, it's also easy to neglect that Richie was such a cricket revolutionary in the way he read the winds of change in the late '70s and, completely contrary to the prevailing opinions of his peers, hitched his wagon to Kerry Packer and revolutionised the way we watched and understood cricket. You can scarcely think of a time in the 37 years that have since passed when Richie's reputation or judgement could be questioned.

Richie has devoted enough of his heart and mind to cricket to know that it's more than merely a game for a lot of us, but he's never given the impression of overblowing his or its importance. "I thought I had seen just about everything in cricket," he once said of Sachin Tendulkar's batting, "but it is always unwise to think along those lines." We're so lucky to have seen it all through his eyes.

Russell Jackson writes about sport for the Guardian Australia. @rustyjacko

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Tony Cozier is living proof that you need not have played the game at the highest level to commentate with distinction on it

Tony Cozier is living proof that you need not have played the game at the highest level to commentate with distinction on it © Getty Images

Tony Cozier
By Mike Coward

This is, of course, a subjective undertaking. There is no way around that. Perhaps egos will be bruised, noses put out of joint, larynxes struck dumb. Be that as it may, I agreed to the assignment as it is one of those that always engages and intrigues. And I should confess it is of personal interest. On a handful of occasions during a long career as a cricket writer, I dabbled in television commentary.

It has long been said there is no accounting for taste, and certainly television producers and directors must grow weary of second-guessing the moods, appetites and preferences of their viewers. It is one thing to provide brilliant images, another altogether to complement them with insightful and memorable commentary.

It is human nature to have a favourite commentator even if we cannot always say exactly what sets him apart from the rest. Perhaps it is knowledge or wisdom or the fluency of language or a sense of humour. Or could it simply be the timbre of the voice or a preparedness to remain silent to give greater power to the pictures? And it is also human nature to have a commentator we don't enjoy, and again we cannot always say exactly why we have taken this against him.

Television appreciation of cricket has changed dramatically since I was first on the Test match circuit in England in 1972. And while I accept the more sophisticated technology available to directors nowadays demands a more technical analysis of the game, I do not believe commentary boxes should be exclusively occupied by elite players of the past.

Indeed, with some notable exceptions, they all too often provide a narrow and tiresome view of the small world they have always inhabited. As a card-carrying member of the fourth estate, I suppose I can be accused of some bias but I sincerely believe Tony Cozier has earned the distinction of being the foremost television commentator in the game.

Cozier, 74, the most self-effacing of men, has always brought a rare breadth and worldliness to his commentary. A native of Barbados, which has produced a disproportionate number of the game's greatest players, his background as a journalist and editor has provided him with an authoritative voice not only on cricket but on the game's personalities and politics, and on West Indian politics and current affairs. And the incisive thinking and powers of observation that he brought to his celebrated radio broadcasting held him in good stead in television.

Cozier's background as a journalist and editor has provided him with an authoritative voice not only on cricket but on the game's personalities and politics

And unlike many of his peers he travelled extensively, so gaining an insight into the moods and mores of societies wherever the game is played. For good measure he has a deep knowledge of cricket history and has earned the admiration and respect of cricket folk the world over for more than 50 years. Also blessed with an exceptional knowledge of the technical aspects of the game, he has mentored many outstanding commentators, including his good friend Michael Holding. And, of course, he brings to the microphone a most distinctive and silky, even exotic, voice.

As a consequence of his often trenchant views on the administration of the game in the Caribbean and the obsession of television executives with predominantly investing in the services of former players, Cozier is not often heard these days. Unquestionably the game is poorer for the voice of West Indian cricket falling silent. Thankfully his pen remains at his side.

Mike Coward is a journalist and interviewer for the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame

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Velvet voice, iron beliefs: Holding has earned a reputation for being forthright

Velvet voice, iron beliefs: Holding has earned a reputation for being forthright © Getty Images

Michael Holding
By Fazeer Mohammed

"Whispering Death" with ball in hand. Opinionated and knowledgeable at the microphone. Dickie Bird said he couldn't hear the light-footed but lethal Michael Holding approach the crease at the end of that long, silky run-up. No one is left in any doubt, though, as to Holding's views on the cricket he's commentating on, or any broader issues in the sport, be they controversial, comical or downright ludicrous.

As a fixture on the Sky Sports commentary team for more than 15 years, he stands out for very obvious reasons. Let's acknowledge the two elephants in the room immediately, shall we? He isn't English and he isn't white. He isn't there as a token to variety either. You see, tokens don't make it their business to consistently contradict their colleagues or invariably come up with a different perspective.

Let me correct myself immediately. Holding doesn't make it his business to confront and confound. That's just the way he is: someone who holds firmly to his beliefs - on cricket and other things - whether he is in the minority or the majority.

In 2001 he refused to do commentary for West Indies' home series against South Africa because he disagreed with Carl Hooper being made captain immediately after being persuaded out of an almost two-year retirement. Everyone has dived headlong into the deep end of the T20 pool, yet Holding resists putting a toe in the water, even as someone who initially backed Allen Stanford's money-spinning escapades in the Caribbean before realising that it was all part of an elaborate charade.

Look, Mikey doesn't score points for lovable lunacy, like Bumble has, or encyclopaedic beyond-the-boundary knowledge like Tony Cozier's. His heavy Jamaican twang is apparently much loved in the United Kingdom and elsewhere outside the Caribbean, probably only because it sounds so very different from everyone else in the commentary box. With him it's not so much about style and flowery language but solid content and a willingness to take on issues that everyone else is tiptoeing around.

Michael Holding isn't English and he isn't white. He isn't there as a token to variety either

As a West Indian who rejoiced in the exploits of the four-prong pace attacks of which he was an integral part, it is especially satisfying for me to see Holding flourish in an environment that requires eloquence and articulation as much as it does an outstanding playing career or at least a working knowledge of the game.

To listen to and read English references to "savagery" and "brutality" when he and others were decimating their precious batting line-ups, you would think it inconceivable that any of those fearsome fast bowlers could be capable of constructing a coherent sentence, such was the one-dimensional manner in which they were often portrayed.

So it's especially satisfying to see Holding (and Ian Bishop as well, of course) excelling in an environment where we can appreciate the mental sharpness and perceptiveness that allowed him to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a batsman in a matter of minutes, long before the era of bowling coaches, Hawk-Eye and super slow-motion.

He isn't always right, of course, but at least he has an opinion that he's prepared to defend. In the first year of regular live television coverage from the Caribbean in 1990, Holding, then brand new to the world of TV commentary, clashed more than once on air with Geoffrey Boycott, as England saw a stunning 1-0 lead from the first match in Jamaica overturned to a 2-1 defeat by the end of the final, bruising Test in Antigua.

Almost a quarter of a century on, the emotions aren't nearly as raw, but they are still there, delivered now with a polish and finesse befitting someone who glides effortlessly through every 30-minute stint but has no qualms about delivering the occasional snorter that has his co-commentator calling for a helmet.

Fazeer Mohammed is a Trinidad-based broadcaster and journalist who has been covering West Indies cricket for 25 years

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Nasser Hussain: perspective, wit, and takes no prisoners

Nasser Hussain: perspective, wit, and takes no prisoners © Getty Images

Nasser Hussain
By Suresh Menon

Our choice of favourite author, actor, musician, or indeed cricket commentator, probably says more about us than it does about the person chosen. If you say George Orwell is a favourite writer, for instance, and leave it at that, it does not add anything to our understanding of Orwell, but it does begin to hint at the kind of person you might be.

Favourite television commentators? It is difficult to think beyond Michael Holding, Nasser Hussain, Ian Chappell, Michael Atherton and Tony Cozier. That's remarkably few from the collection of ex-players, professional broadcasters, enthusiastic fans, public relations men and general all-round patriots who make up the list from across the world.

It might have something to do with growing up - or perhaps it is testimony to the differences in the two mediums - but I can reel off the names of more favourite radio commentators than those on television today. Listening in India to Alan McGilvray early in the morning and the likes of John Arlott and Trevor Bailey late at night (depending on whether the Test was in Australia or England) at an impressionable age ensures that the impressions remain. The best commentators - radio or television - leave something to your imagination; the worst are compelled to state the obvious repeatedly and seek refuge in clichés when something exciting happens.

Hussain has a quite wicked sense of humour and a remarkable mix of empathy towards and distance from the players. The result is a wonderful balance overall - serenity almost

We take for granted the features the best must have in common: knowledge of the game, love for its traditions, strong opinions, instant recall (which helps us see patterns we might otherwise have missed), a quirky perspective, all packaged in a voice and manner that is crisp, clear and a pleasure to the ears. All this might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how few actually have these assets. As is so often the case, some of the best lack conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

My favourite from the group above, Nasser Hussain, stands out for a few other qualities as well. Increasingly in an inter-connected world, those who explain an aspect of it have tended to take refuge in specialisation. Thus, cricket commentators stick to the cricket without attempting to place things in a larger political or cultural context. Hussain, born in India, brought up in England, married to an Englishwoman, captain of England, might be better equipped than most to see the big picture. And it is a joy to listen to him for the wider perspective he brings.

There is, too, his quite wicked sense of humour and a remarkable mix of empathy towards and distance from the players. The result is a wonderful balance overall - serenity almost - that is leavened by a terrific line in no-nonsense criticism. As he told Ravi Shastri on the 2011 Indian tour of England, "I have played 96 Tests, and I think that gives me the right to express my opinion, especially since that is what I am being paid for." This after he said that not using the DRS was a disgrace, and in another context said that among some excellent Indian fielders a few were "donkeys". He got the BCCI riled, which alone should qualify him as a commentator with a mind of his own.

Suresh Menon is the editor of Wisden India Almanack

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The voice of 2005: Mark Nicholas' hyperbole is as vital to his appeal as his trenchant analysis

The voice of 2005: Mark Nicholas' hyperbole is as vital to his appeal as his trenchant analysis © Getty Images

Mark Nicholas
By Andrew Miller

"Mmm… ah. Um. Yah." That's the sound of a cover drive, quaffed as if it were a fine wine at a tasting. An initial appreciation of body, as the batsman shapes for his shot. The briefest pause for contemplation, as contact is made and a verdict is awaited. And then, moments later, that definitive, distinctive "yah" as the ball pierces the field, delivered with a satisfied smack of the lips that implies so much more than needs to be said.

Pretentious? Indubitably. But sometimes, as with Shaggy or Chaka Demus & Pliers, an artist or band will come up with the soundtrack of the summer and whatever your initial misgivings, you can't help but tap your feet to the beat. Welcome to the world of Mark Charles Jefford Nicholas, the voice of 2005, the greatest Test summer of all time.

For Nicholas to secure such an accolade was no mean feat given the competition he faced that year, for Channel 4 had assembled a phenomenal array of voices for their farewell season of Test cricket. There was the doyen, Richie Benaud, who scripted his own farewell at The Oval; there were the sirens, Geoff Boycott and Tony Greig, dishing out spleen and superlatives in equal measure; and the Michaels, Atherton and Slater, who quietly honed their craft at the feet of the masters.

But it was Nicholas who captured the national mood like no one else. Like Desmond Lynam in his pomp on football's Match of the Day on the BBC, he was the right voice for the right medium at the right time. There was gravitas and majesty in so much of what he described but also, crucially, a playful sense of belonging. After all, that summer's Ashes was a national event that required a compere as much as a commentator, and as anyone who has witnessed Nicholas take the mic at an awards do, he's pretty good at that too.

There was gravitas and majesty in so much of what Nicholas described but also, crucially, a playful sense of belonging

He could do a fine line in instant, trenchant analysis, not least in his live links to camera before the start of each day's play, but Nicholas' hyperbole was every bit as vital to his appeal. For fans of a certain vintage, the Flintoff-inspired cry, "Oh helloo… massive! Massive!" will remain an exclamation as masonic as an inverted handshake. And then there's his (frankly) nonsensical stream of consciousness on the penultimate evening of the vital Edgbaston Test, which deserves reproduction in full:

"Oh Stephen Harmison! With a slower ball, one of the great balls! Given the moment, given the batsman and given the match, that is a staggering gamble that's paid off for Harmison!"

It was, indeed, a beautiful delivery. But, for the record, the moment was the final over of the third day's play, arguably the perfect opportunity to throw in a variation. The batsman was Michael Clarke, a future great maybe, but still very much a rookie on that trip. And as for the match, well, it was bubbling along nicely at that stage, but with 107 still to win and two wickets left for England to claim, there was some way to go before it could be confirmed as a classic.

But he knew, you see. He just knew…

My personal favourite Nicholas-ism is the one that I replay - without fail - at least once a month, on a perpetual loop like a Vine video but with the soundtrack as obligatory as the one that accompanies that YouTube vid of the two-year-old Brummie doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

It involves Simon Jones at Old Trafford, steaming in to that man Clarke once again. Prodigious reverse swing and what can only be described as a pornographic "splut" of off stump being ejaculated from turf.

"That. Is. Very. Good!" is Nicholas' instant intonation. Perfection for perfection.

And if only for one summer, then what a summer in which to produce your greatest work.

Andrew Miller is a former editor of the Cricketer. @miller_cricket

 

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LOGIN TO POST YOUR COMMENTS

  • POSTED BY Deepak on | December 10, 2016, 16:57 GMT

    From the current lot i rate ian bishop the best and pommie m mbangwa the second. ravi shastri is the worst in the history of game.

  • POSTED BY robpet1260883 on | May 12, 2016, 12:51 GMT

    Cricket has lost the art of great commentary. Somewhere between Arlott to Brayshaw, we've lost the plot

  • POSTED BY ESPN on | December 2, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    Henry Blofeld had a way with words when commenting. I swore he was a wordsmith. Listening to Henry on radio back in the Caribbean I believed I was watching and could visualise I was there.

  • POSTED BY Shrimanto on | November 30, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    For me it's very difficult to select 5 best Cricket Commentator's on TV. I would go beyond and select 10 in Place of 5. 1) Number ONE and who is beyond compare is Richie Benaud he is above all (past, present or for that matter even future) 2) Tony Cozier - Golden Voice of TV commentary 3) Michael Holding - Brilliant Voice and very straight forward 4) Bill Lawry - oh! What a voice and plays for the gallery, A good ball is not a good ball for him for him "It's a RIPPER" 5) Ian Chappell - Very tough, straight forward, and a brilliant observer of the game of cricket. 6) David Gower - He is as smooth and elegant with his words as he was with his batting. 7) Late Tony Greig - I really miss him every time. Great voice. 8) Mark Taylor - Beautiful Voice, brilliant reader of the game. 9) Harsha Bhogle & Mark Nicholas - These two makes cricket such a romantic game with there way of brilliant narrative skills, great English, excellent vocab, 10) Its a toss between Ravi Shastri and Shane Warne.

  • POSTED BY ESPN on | November 30, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    Still the dulcet voice echoes in my ears those of Brian Johnston and Christopher Martin ja kins. Richie and Naser Hossain are just the finishing touch to prevailing art of commentators. Richie,s services will never be eclipsed in the realm of cricket commentary

  • POSTED BY Gautam on | November 29, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    I like the guys who are willing to tell you what they think. Sure, they are wrong sometimes, and may be set in their views, but at least you get the sense that they are being honest, and aren't letting their relationships with the players, or their nationalities influence their commentary too much. I would class Boycott, Chappell, Holding and Lloyd in this category. I would pair these guys with Atherton and Hussain. Ian Bishop and Rahul Dravid are mostly intelligent and OK too, but Bishop has a tendency to be very ponderous, and Dravid sometimes is a little too bland.

    In general, far too many commentators are too involved with the players to be honest in their assessments. And I feel most commentators fit into this group.

  • POSTED BY Vineet Malani on | November 29, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    My all time favorite commentary team would definitely have Benaud , Holding and Nicholas in it. I would replace Nasir with Atherton and would like to include Sunil Gavaskar in the mix too. I think Gavaskar has only recently gone off the boil with some BCCI contracts, otherwise he has a whole lot of cricket wisdom to share on air.

  • POSTED BY randolf on | November 29, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Russell Jackson, it's a good thing that we all have our own opinions. I think that while Richie Benaud is a good TV commentator, he's not far from Bill Lawry in terms of being favourite players bias. Bill Lawry is a bit more of an alarmist, but I think that Richie is just as bias. My best five in this order are Mike Atherton. He outclasses them all in every element of TV commentary: most intelligent, least bias, most frank, most widely read, most knowledgeable, most eloquent, etc. No.2 is Ian Chappell, who is not far behind Atherton, Toney Cozier, David Lioyd and Mike Haysman. Most of the commentators these days are too nationalistically bias and do not report the game on a fair basis. There are one or two more fair ones whom I did not mention, but I can only list 5.

  • POSTED BY Mohammad on | November 29, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Iftekhar Ahmad and Umer Qureshi of Pakistan among the best as well.

  • POSTED BY Ron on | November 29, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    My overwhelming favorite is Bill Lawry; he is incomparable!

    Others I like listening to are Ian Healy, Mark Taylor, Geoff Boycott, David Lloyd, Shane Warne and Naseer Hussain.

    Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Mike Haysman, Rameez Raja and quite a few others, unfortunately fall into the opposite camp: grating and full of clichés.

    Also, I think Russel Arnold and VVS Laxman are promising, both are super knowledgeable and level headed but they need to inject a bit of enthusiasm into their voices - they could learn from the first 7 names I mentioned in this post.

  • POSTED BY Alan on | November 29, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    Danny Morrison was the most fun

  • POSTED BY Rohith on | November 29, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    The old 9 sports team-Tony Greig, Richie Benaud, Ian Chappel,Bill Lawry was the best team I have listened to. Now the Sky sports team including Nasser Hussain, Michael Holding, Michael Arthurton is the one team that is worth listening to. The Indian contingent is pathetic with the exception of Sourav Ganguly, so too are the Lankans and the Pakistanis and even the Australians with only Shane warne showing good potential.

  • POSTED BY Edd on | November 29, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    The late, great Tony Greig is also much missed.

  • POSTED BY Android on | November 29, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    when India is loosing match, then Rave Shastri is the best. you can feel the pain in his voice :).

  • POSTED BY Android on | November 29, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    There is no match to Bill Lawry when it comes to live cricket commentry.

  • POSTED BY Andres on | November 29, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    There's a line that I will always Remember Tony Cozier by , In the 1999 Test Series West Indies vs Australia, when Brian Lara reached 100 during the Successful chase in Barbados, referring to Lara , Cozier says " And the Prodigal son has turned Massaiah" , that line will always be in my memory. Tony Cozier has been the voice of West Indies Cricket ever since I've been following the great game. I enjoy Mark Nicholas and Bill Lawry as well.....

  • POSTED BY Android on | November 29, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Why ain't Tony Greig & Harsha Bhola on the list ?!!!

  • POSTED BY Jawwad on | November 29, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    Danny Morrison wins it hands down. For one he makes you feel you are actually watching a sport being played by men. Just when you are lost within the game he reels you back in. My guy for sure.

  • POSTED BY Android on | November 29, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    Mark Nicholas the best for sure.

  • POSTED BY Aditya on | November 19, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    What about Ravi Shastri, Tony Greig, Rameez Raja?

  • POSTED BY rajagopalan on | November 17, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    Hey, how come Tony Greig doesn't feature in this list?

  • POSTED BY Subhajit on | November 17, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    My fave commentators are Ian Chapell (for his crisp Aussie accent and opiniated views), Geoff Boycott (he provided comic interludes), Tony Cozier (the magi of Cricket), Michael Holding (silky, subtle and direct), Ian Bishop (keeps on impoving with time), Harsha Bhogle (love or hate him, he has changed the cricket presentation for the better). Among the current lot, I am continuously growing fond of Shane Warne and Sourav Ganguly; both of shap intellect and good knowledge of the game.

  • POSTED BY Ramchandra on | November 17, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle ?? Tony Greg ?? Mike Haysman ?? Bumble ?? Are you serious not to include them.

  • POSTED BY Angad on | November 16, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is the Tony Cozier or CM Jenkins of India. Surely. (In the TV Age of course, so don't spring names like Rajan Bala and Dicky Rutnagar on me). I say this because he comfortably holds his own even in front of the most experienced former players - Gavaskar, Hussain, Atherton, Dravid these days, and Chappell, Grieg, Holding et al. back in the 90s/00s. His choice of the well-honed, witty phrase and knowledgeable anecdotes and facts from cricket history is almost Benaud/Cozier-like. Unlike the extremely loud and incredibly in-the-face Sidhu, Bhogle's witticisms are brilliantly mirthful and evocative. Definitely the best commentator in the sub-continent in the last 15-20 years or so.

  • POSTED BY Mohamed on | November 16, 2014, 2:01 GMT

    Boycott does some gardening on the pitch now, mops his brows as he settles in, 4 slips, a gully, short leg, mid-on, deep mid-off as Holding comes in to bowl... picture perfect commentary of the good old radio days. R. Benaud is correct..sometimes you have to let the picture do the talking, eapecially on TV. B/desh commentators are the most terrible among the bad and ugly. It often appears that they are unaware of how average the B/desh team really is and one gets the feeling that they are just learning the game themselves. Cozier, Chappell, Holding, Hussain, are tops. Bishop overdoes and overthinks his analysis sometimes. He just needs to wait a bit more like Holding before being critical of a player during the course of the match. Fazeer Mohamed is also pretty good. Sorry, but no real outstanding English speaking commentators from SL, Ind, Pak, NZ, SA or Bdesh. Just my opinion.

  • POSTED BY Sriram sundar on | November 15, 2014, 19:13 GMT

    No Tony Greig? Seriously?

  • POSTED BY Sathya on | November 13, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    World's Best Commentators ever: Richie Benaud, Tony Cozier, Michael Holding, Ian Bishop, Ian Chappell, Mark Nicholas, David Gower, Geoff Boycott, CM Jenkins, Bill Lawry, Shane Warne, Nasser Hussain, no Indian qualifies in this bracket Good Indian Commentators: Kapil Dev (Hindi), Sushil Doshi (Hindi), Rahul Dravid, Sanjay Manjrekar (just OK), Jatin Sapru, Charu Sharma, Arun Lal World's Worst Commentators: Tony Greig, Harsha "verbal diarrhea" Bhogle (thinks too high about himself and if opportunity is there takes cricketers for a ride!!)...a real disgrace to India, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Navjot Sidhu (pathetic!!), Ajit Agarkar (disgusting!!), VVS Laxman, Danny Morrison, All SL & Pak & Asian Commentators

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | November 12, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    Tony Greig??? And for us of the current generation Danny Morrison???

  • POSTED BY maximus on | November 12, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    No Tony Greig, who could bring even a dead match into life with his voice? Or Bill Lawry, who can always be trusted to call a spade a spade? Mighty shame guys.

  • POSTED BY Rajagopal on | November 11, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    My favourite commentators are Holding, Hussein, Ian Chappell and David Gower. Their commentary is serious without being pedantic, with the occasional witty quip. They don't mind criticising the stars and are quite incisive in their comments. At the other end of the spectrum, there are just too many. Ravi Shastri, Rameez Raja (Shastri Lite), Russell Arnold, Sivaramakrishnan, Danny Morrison, Ian Healy, Michael Slater and Andrew Strauss are just abominable. Shastri, Rameez and Russell Arnold bludgeon your senses repeatedly with cliches and obvious statements. Sivaramakrishnan has a no voice for commentary, Morrisson is unbearably overenthusiastic, Strauss puts you to sleep. Harsha Bhogle might be an OK studio presenter, but is out of his depth commenting live.

  • POSTED BY Alfred on | November 10, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    What on earth is Mark Nicholas doing there? He's one of the most obvious examples of 'state the obvious' commentary (though not more obvious than James Brayshaw) which has made Nine's commentary team an increasingly irritating sound in Australia. Benaud, Ian Chappell and the current SkySports commentary team are clearly so much better because they avoid statements of the obvious and provide spare and insightful comment. Mike Hussey deserves an honourable mention - he could well be the next Benaud. There should be a follow-up article on favourite radio commentators.

  • POSTED BY veetal on | November 10, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    Definitely agree with Nicholas being on this list. He's very pleasing to the ears.

  • POSTED BY Khurram on | November 10, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    I am aghast to see name of Tony Graig is missing among the list of commentators. A man with such a blunt voice and emphatic style of dilevery has occupy millions heart.

  • POSTED BY Geoff on | November 10, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    What about Bumble? Right up there with Richie. Ian Smith and Beefy also very good. Harsha Bhogle is awful, he comes a cross like a school boy.

  • POSTED BY Suryakumar on | November 9, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    Mike Haysman should be a definite addition to this list. Few can convey enthusiasm as much as him in contemporary commentary.

  • POSTED BY yacoob on | November 7, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    Jim Maxwell of radio Australia - been listening to him since early 80s - what a command on describing the state of play on the radio. Always invited by BBC test match match special when Australia touring England. Sadly radio cricket commentary is a dying art. Only BBC test match special radio commentary is left as an institutional relic and there were some greats on it. Before the advent of live cricket starting from WC 1992 , the cricketing masses only had BBC, Radio Australia and All India Radio to rely on. I remember listening to Tony Cozier during the 1975 WC whilst I was in Karachi as a 10 year old. I used to tune in to cricket commentary on my short wave radio from all possible countries especially Test matches played in Australia, England and India.

  • POSTED BY Antony Pious on | November 7, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    I would add Harsha Bhogle also to the list. His commentary is truly a joy to listen to even if your team is in dire straits. His immense knowledge coupled with the witty quips and anecdotes here and there, does make the commentary a wee bit more interesting than the match itself . His balanced views are very insightful such that it helps viewers understand and appreciate the game in its merits

  • POSTED BY Bijendra on | November 7, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    though i always loved to hear few of those mentioned above..but surprised to see most familiar names missing in the list... Harsha, Ravi Shashtri, Tony Greig and more..

  • POSTED BY Ray on | November 6, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    Taylor , Healey ,Lee ,Slater ,Warne have all had the opportunity to listen to other international commentators but they still are the worst in the world. Seems they are hosting a TV game show with rediculous description of the game. They are calling cricket not TV coaching , not calling a F1 race , not being down to earth . I now have turn the volume down now as I refuse to listen to their rubbish. It's the worse calling in the world , are they instructed to go on like that. Why don;t they get some guidance from somewhere.

  • POSTED BY Gurlivleen on | November 5, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    Suresh Menon got it spot on. Holding, Hussain and Chappell are just top of the bunch now. Among the worst we invariably have the gavaskars, rajas, shastris, fernandos of Indian, pak and srl cricket.

  • POSTED BY Bharat on | November 5, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    Well at times you really do not need a commentator on TV and most of the times I mute the sound,having heard & watched cricket for last 65 years or so, the real fun was when you heard some one describe the game so vividly that he became your eyes through your ears .... John Arlot and Brian Johnston were two that tribe. Radion commentary was a more difficult job, Richie Benaud also excelled in that area but not better than those mentioned here in above. R.I.P. Arlot & Johnston.

  • POSTED BY Grant Sansom-Sherwill on | November 5, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    Mark Nicholas - you've got to be kidding! He's easily the worst commentator on TV. Talks a lot but says nothing - incredibly verbose and pretentious.

    One of the lessons from the greatness of Richie Benaud is that less is more. This is TV: people can see what's happening, so unless you can add something to what they've seen, don't say anything at all.

    Mark Nicholas would be verbose and irritating even if he were on radio, he's that bad. When he commentates, I mute the sound.

  • POSTED BY Jim on | November 4, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is top notch. As is Ian Chappell. But the real test of good commentators is how they do on radio, where Brian Johnston, John Arlott, Alan MacGilvray, and assorted others over the years have made it an art form. Harsha is brilliant there too...

  • POSTED BY Delan on | November 4, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    Tony Cozier is my favourite, and I do like Harsha Bhogle. The likes of Bill Lawry, Tony Grieg, David Lloyd did bring a bit of entertainment and humour especially when they got a little too excited. Ian Chappell, Michael Holding have terrific knowledge. What I don't like is ones that don't give a balanced view and merely praise their employer which is what someone like Ravi Shashtri does.

  • POSTED BY Mark on | November 4, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    Don't know about the commentators but Suresh Menon wins the writing: "The best commentators - radio or television - leave something to your imagination; the worst are compelled to state the obvious repeatedly and seek refuge in clichés when something exciting happens."

  • POSTED BY Dhanpaul Narine on | November 4, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    John McEnroe at Wimbledon, just to be different!

  • POSTED BY Niran on | November 4, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    What about Tony Grieg? I think he was an outstanding commentator.

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | November 4, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    No Tony Greg this is sacrilegious

  • POSTED BY Prince on | November 3, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    Harsha is definitely among the bests. Witty.Neutral.Smart.

  • POSTED BY Rana on | November 3, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Great selection this one specially Nasir, Holding, Nicholas are my all time favorites But Michael Atherton, David Loyed, Harsha, Dany Morrison are also be in my commentary team any time any day.

  • POSTED BY VENKATA SAKET on | November 3, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    I would have Harsha Bhogle, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell in the list. Harsha Bhogle for the way he conducts his commentary- always trying to put things in a context and turning commentary into a kind of a narrative; Bill Lawry simply for the amount of excitement he brings to the commentary and his unique style; and Ian Chappell for his insights and stories from the past which add a bit of amazement and nostalgia and always leave you with the sense "I have learnt something new today". Nasser Hussain is the only name from among the above list that I would not have in my list of favorite commentatotors.

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | November 3, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    I harboured dreams of taking up the mike for a living after being enthralled by "Blowers". It was during the 90's, when summer was best spent in the living room as cricket from Sharjah kept one entertained. Sadly, in India, BBC's Test Match Special is out of bounds. Otherwise, I would gladly hold a candle for the radio and ditch the TV for good while England is loitering amidst the greens !

  • POSTED BY Vishwas on | November 2, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    Harsha is right up there.. Also I find Robin Jackman's voice soothing to listen too

  • POSTED BY saurabh on | November 2, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Harsha has been at the pinnacle of India's contribution to cricket commentary he ventured forth in a world and still does which is saddled with ex-cricketers turned commentators who are not thst eloquent in fro t of the mike. Harsha Bhogle though makes even the mundane magical armed with an amazing wit and an exceptional presence of mind while on air he has the ability to take every other commentator panelist gently forward more like a summarizer akin to a shepherd. The most beautiful part of this all is that he has time to do radio commentary as well and write and tweet. If taking a stand is a criteria for being the best commentator then taking everyone along and bringing out the diversity and richness in a conversation need to be a key point as well.

  • POSTED BY Eddie on | November 2, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    Henry Blofeld. Always be my #1

  • POSTED BY Raghu on | November 1, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    Harsha?!

  • POSTED BY Dhabih V. Chulhai on | November 1, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    Tony Cozier is my favorite commentator. I could listen to him talk all day.

  • POSTED BY SRIVATSAN on | November 1, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Great choices. Nasser Hussain has come off so well as a balanced, strong and humorous view from the Commentary box. While Shastri was all emotional diatribe, Hussain's response was perfect and shut up Shastri.

  • POSTED BY Sathish Kumar on | November 1, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    Great list. My list would be the same, with the exception of David Lloyd in place of Mark Nicholas. The write-up on Mark Nicholas is wonderful, though.