Jokingly, I said joining the IPL commentary team was like back touring but without the warm ups. Well as it turns out the warm ups are included but just of a slightly different ilk.
I caught up with the D Team crew last night. No the ‘D’ isn’t a reflection of our standing just the crew working the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings home games. Lisa Sthalekar is with the C team based primarily in Kolkata and Hyderabad, Anjum Chopra with the B Team in Delhi and Chandigarh and Isa Guha’s A Team are in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. I will refrain from any reference to the A Team, Face, BA or Murdoch this time round. Anyone under the age of 30 it was a TV series before a movie!
And as warm ups go it was one of the more enjoyable ones. As we watched the first game of the IPL, Kolkata Knights Riders v Mumbai Indians, Mods our producer ran me through how things work on and off air during the broadcast. It is one massive production.
30 cameras per game, ~ 75 crew per match, increased graphics to usual televised cricket matches, 3 commentators per 4 over stints. So short, sharp and punchy. Mods summed it up with a motto that probably without explicitly expressing, I had been attempting to do since my first commentary stint back with Sky Sports UK in 2000. The 4 E’s Embrace – Engage – Educate – Entertain.
The 4 E’s – Embrace – Engage – Educate – Entertain.
I can’t say there aren’t a few butterflies. Although not a sit by the pool type sit-by-the-pool girl I did think a quick dip may calm the mind and start to get those butterflies flying in some sort of productive formation that will help nail the 4 E’s. Two things then jumped out which have not helped create a state of calm and focus.
One is water. And for those that know me, know I would be stressing at the fact there are no lifeguards and I didn’t pack my floaties. Sure I can swim …survive..but it’s not a chosen recreational habit. In saying that I did purchase some new togs, bathers, swimmers (take your pick) knowing that 6 weeks of 35+ degree weather would mean a few pool trips.
Which brings me to my second and more painful issue. I have no flexibility in my shoulders…NONE! When most people can put one hand over their shoulder and one hand up their back and touch their fingers, or at least get close, I have a gap that you could drive through. So as I sit here with ice on both shoulders from attempting to put on and tie up my top, I realise that it’s not like touring with a team as there is no team mate to help or subsequent physio on hand.
My dilemma’s however don’t stop there as I make the tough choice of which pastel shirt to wear first up. Tipping this will be discussed at length in our production meeting with the other 5 male commentators??? Hmm probably not. I shouldn’t worry though as there is no make up artist either so most people will be wondering who punched me in the eyes before questioning my shirt colour of choice.
All minor issues aside, today is a day that rightly or wrongly I never thought would happen for me. Yes down the track I knew things would progress and female commentators would have the opportunity to express themselves in this arena. Having commentated women’s cricket for 15 years on spasmodic occasions I had resigned myself to that being the status quo.
The move by the BCCI is not brave, risky or strange. To me it’s progressive, smart and just right. I know each of us, Isa, Anjum and Lisa, will bring something different to the table. There will be lovers and haters, praise and criticism. The most important thing though is that people judge us as individuals and not as female commentators as a collective.
It’s the start of something very big and I’m proud to say I’m one of 4 that knows & respects the role in which we are about to play. So a reminder to self – speak slowly, don’t throw in too may Aussie sayings and as my nan always said “as long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll do just fine!”