When it comes to television coverage of Cricket matches in India, there was nothing that was comparable to the good old DoorDarshan. In recent times, cricket matches have been inundated with advertisements to such an extent that the viewers end up watching 5-ball overs instead of the usual 6-ball overs. So when the TV rights came for renewal last year, an average viewer would have thought that it will give a welcome break from the good ol’ DD, where we would watch more ads than the match. But thanks to the controversy created by the surprise of Zee, the viewers were left with no choice but to watch the Australia and Pakistan series on DD as well.
Now that the Afro-Asia Cup is being telecast on Zee Sports and Zee TV, we are getting a glimpse of how Zee would have managed the matches had they won the TV rights for matches being played in India. The first of the three matches of this Cup didn’t have too many advertisements in between the overs and during the drinks break and at the fall of wickets. But the second and (today’s) third match had as many ads as would have been on DD during a typical match. So much so that we weren’t even able to hear the commentator’s comments in their entirety.
If Zee’s coverage for the matches was bad, then Super-Sports (South Africa) too haven’t done a good job covering the matches. They’ve reminded the viewers (especially the Indian viewers) of the pathetic production coverage of DD in the ‘80s. The camera would be going on the off-side when a shot is being played on the on-side; the Snickometer and Hawk Eye are missing and they are not measuring the speed of the balls being delivered by the bowlers. Imagine Shoaib Akhtar steaming down the track and delivering a toe-crusher, an average viewer expects to see the speed of the ball that was bowled but it’s not there, completely missing!
This is the scenario, given the fact that I have always liked the TV coverage of matches being played in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. But today it’s a different story. Sky Sport’s coverage of matches from England is the best. They use every technology that is at their disposal, the Hawk Eye shows the replay almost as soon as the ball is bowled, the Snickometer is there and they have a wonderful commentary team (minus Michael Holding).
Let’s come back to India now. With fresh tenders being floated by the BCCI, Zee is all but out of the race. Let’s just hope that the rights go to ESPN once again. I personally won’t mind it if Ten Sports too suddenly pips everyone and wins the rights, because they’ve been better than ESPN lately. All this is of course, from the viewer’s perspective, I leave the economics and accountancy if winning and losing the rights to the concerned parties.
Just Random Thoughts!