FROM THE STANDS: Meet The Talkers

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FROM THE STANDS: Meet the talkers By [/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Qaiser+Mohammad+Ali Qaiser Mohammad Ali]
Published: 01:09 BST, 2 April 2013 | Updated: 01:09 BST, 2 April 2013
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The BCCI has got it all wrong.

There are not just nine teams competing in the sixth Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins with a glitzy opening ceremony at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday, there's a tenth team, too, and it's the most experienced one at that.

The Board completely forgot to take into account this multi-cultural, multiethnic and multi-religious, yet formidable outfit of renowned television commentators.

Consider the vast experience of this 17-member squad and jaws will drop immediately.

Fifteen of these former players have played international Test and ODI cricket with distinction. They include the likes of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, Kepler Wessels, Rameez Hasan Raja, Ravi Jayadritha Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar.

At last year's IPL, commentators Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Arun Lal, Rameez Raja and Damien Fleming were dressed in colourful kurta-pajama sets

Together they have appeared in a whopping 657 Test matches, piled up 31,698 runs and bagged 672 wickets, and in 1,341 One-Day Internationals, they have amassed 28,978 runs and captured 535 wickets.

Like IPL players, all these commentators too, will indeed step on to the field during the 54-day tournament, but with a major difference. Unlike players, they will be impeccably attired in tie and jacket - or maybe in smart and colourful kurta-pajama, as they were in the later stages of the tournament last year - while interviewing captains/players, conducting the toss, and filing pitch reports and doing match analysis etc.

With the IPL being a large, long and diverse tournament, and played in a country as vast as India, a lot of planning is required to ensure that everything falls into place and live pictures are beamed uninterrupted. For this, a detailed plan has been chalked out, informs a top BCCI official, familiar with the coverage.

"Four sets of television crews have been identified to cover the 76 matches spread over 12 cities. These 17 commentators, too, have been divided into four groups as not all of them will be able to constantly criss-cross the vast country day in and day out as matches will be played on almost all days," the official told Mail Today.
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The official said that Manjrekar, Daren Ganga of the West Indies, New Zealander Doull, Harsha Bhogle and Alan Wilkins are part of the crew that will cover the matches in Delhi, Jaipur, Mohali, Dharamsala and Raipur.

The second crew, comprising of Shastri, South Africans Robin Jackman and HD Ackerman, and Kiwi Danny Morrison, will travel between Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.

The third crew will have L Sivaramakrishnan, the wonder leg-spinner of yesteryear, Zimbabwean Pommie Mbangwa, Craig McMillan of New Zealand and West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop, and they will commentate on the matches to be played in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Mohali.

The fourth crew is headed by Gavaskar - who can easily be named the commentary team captain if there was one to be appointed - and also includes three ex-national captains, Pakistani Rameez Raja, South African Wessels and Zimbabwean Alastair Campbell.

This crew will cover the matches in Hyderabad, Ranchi, Jaipur and Ranchi. "In addition to these players, we have also invited former Australian Test umpire Simon Taufel, who will not necessarily move with any particular crew," disclosed the BCCI official.

The International Management Group is continuing association with the IPL despite controversies, and will be producing the live feed for this tournament.

While the BCCI Broadcast Services - the department especially created for TV production - will oversee the coverage, the main responsibility lies with the IMG and its experienced executive producer Simon Wheeler.

    The World Cup replica Two years ago, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led World Cup-winning team was disappointed on being presented a replica trophy

Exactly two years ago, on April 2, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team won India the World Cup, beating Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

But the Indian team was disappointed on being presented a replica trophy as the ICC and the BCCI failed to get the original cup released from the Mumbai Customs department, which sought an import duty on the gold-plated trophy.

Inexplicably, the ICC tried to pass the replica as the real trophy. But that didn't cut ice with Indian fans, who firmly believed that the ICC had taken them for a ride by not presenting the original prize to the team.

Last week, the ninth anniversary of Virender Sehwag's first triple Test century - that made him on March 29, 2004, the first Indian to score a triple Test century - passed away unnoticed.

Only this swashbuckling batsman has scored two triple centuries after Don Bradman and Brian Lara, but there were no celebrations this time as he is trying to rediscover the vintage form, that lately, has deserted him and led to his omission from the Indian team.

But he is keen to stage a comeback by scoring many runs for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL.