Thursday, October 5

Cricketers turned commentators world best XI

Sanjay Manjrekar. (Photo by Stu Forster-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Some people gain fame while playing cricket while some gain it through talking about cricket. In the 143 years since the first Test match was played between England and Australia, cricket has come a long way. There have been numerous advancements in the field of cricket during all these years, one of which are the commentators.

With the development of technology, the game of cricket started to be broadcasted, first on the radio and then on television. This opened a wide array of opportunities in the commentary sector and it became a viable and illustrious career option for many people. Commentators ensure that the people watching the game don’t miss out on any aspect of the match and at times even spice up the conversation through their analysis of the teams’ tactics.

Of late, many cricketers have turned to the profession of commentary after announcing retirement from the game. Cricketers becoming commentators often brings a high level of excitement among the fans who are anxious to hear the thoughts of their favourite cricketers about the game.

Here we present the Best XI of cricketers who turned into commentators: –

1. Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The current BCCI President has contributed more to the sport than anyone could imagine. After building a formidable and daring team during his tenure as the Indian captain, he took to commentary after his retirement. He also served the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for a long-time before being elected as the President of the BCCI.

Sourav Ganguly had a distinguished career as a commentator. His intricate knowledge of the sport coupled with his experience of leading the Indian team gave weightage to his words in the commentary box. He has an experience of 8-9 years in this particular field.

He started his career in 2010 after being contracted by ESPN Star Sports Broadcast. He was also contracted by the BCCI itself in 2012. Thus, he takes up the opening spot in this XI.

2. Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja
Ramiz Raja. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Accompanying Ganguly at the top of the order is his Pakistani counterpart Ramiz Raja. The 57 year old former cricketer is often considered as one of the best commentators to grace the sport of cricket. He also served as the CEO of PCB for a brief period after his retirement.

Unlike Ganguly, Ramiz did not show much interest in remaining as the CEO and resigned from the post citing his media commitments. Thus, he continues to be in the commentary arena even today. His grasp over the English language and eloquence are prime factors which make him a great commentator.

The former Pakistani opener has a long and established career in commentary. He has worked for TEN Sports as well as BBC during his stints.

3. Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The ‘Little Master’ takes the No. 3 spot in this XI. He is one of the most respected Indian cricketers who even had the opportunity to be among the eleven players who played India’s first ever One Day International. He also served as the interim President of the BCCI for a brief period during 2014.

After his retirement, Gavaskar took a job as a commentator. He has a long and successful, but a controversial career as a commentator. He had to temporarily give up his job when he was appointed as the interim BCCI President in 2014.

Gavaskar is one of the most experienced Indian commentators having a career spanning over 27 years. He has been contracted by various Broadcasters like ESPN Star Sports, BBC, SuperSport and even BCCI.

4. Nasser Hussain

England v West Indies - 1st Royal London One Day International
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 52 year old former England skipper is one of the most revered commentators across the globe. His leadership abilities, more than his batting were instrumental to the success of the Brits during his tenure. His devotion towards the sport is probably the factor which drove him into commentary after his retirement.

Interestingly, during his playing days, Hussain was under a lot of pressure from Sky Sports’ commentary team due to his poor form. After scoring a ton in an ODI he made a gesture towards the commentary box. As fate would have it, he joined them in the commentary team after his retirement.

Hussain’s career was also filled with controversies. One of the famous incidents ones happened in the year 2011 when he used the term ‘donkeys’ to refer to a few of the Indian fielders. Needless to say, he received a lot of backlash for this unfortunate remark. He has a career of over 15 years in this profession.

5. Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The current head coach of the Indian Cricket team was one of the most famous and esteemed commentators during his time. The 57 year old former cricketer had a celebrated cricket career. Fortunately, even after his retirement, Shastri took his prime into his commentary and emerged as one of the most admired persons in this field.

The highlight of his commentary career came in 2011 when he gave life to his words during India’s winning moments in the World Cup 2011 final. The strength and quality of his voice have often been considered as factors which make him an impressive orator. He carved a niche for himself in this field through his ability to articulate and analyze various incidents during the match.

Shastri had a long-running and triumphant career which halted after him being appointed as the head coach of the Indian Cricket team back in 2017. He was contracted by broadcasters like ESPN Star Sports and BCCI itself.

6. Sanjay Manjrekar

Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar. (Photo by Stu Forster-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Sanjay Manjrekar is by-far the most controversial yet one of the most fascinating Indian commentators. His twitter bio ‘A longer career talking cricket than playing cricket’ itself tells us a lot about the importance of his commentary on his overall cricketing career. The 54-year-old former batsman was considered as a prodigy during his initial days in the sport.

Manjrekar is often regarded as a biased commentator by many fans of the sport. He has been alleged to have heaped undue praises on cricketers who hail from Mumbai while disregarding talented players from other states and cities. Despite the reported allegations, Manjrekar has enjoyed a pretty successful career.

The highlight of his controversies came in 2019 during the World Cup where he referred to the Indian all-rounder Jadeja as a ‘bit-and-pieces’ player. Jadeja played an impressive innings in the next match after which he apologised showing a lot of maturity on his part. Regardless of all the controversies, Manjrekar has left an indelible impression on the commentary sector in India.

7. Shane Warne

Shane Warne
Shane Warne. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The world’s most successful leg-spinner had an illustrious commentary career as well. Warne had the honour of being one of the only two bowlers in international cricket having more than 700 wickets to their name, the other one being the Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan. He was also the bowler who had one of the highest honours bestowed on him when his delivery to Mike Gatting was termed as ‘ball of the century’.

Warne started his commentary before his retirement in 2003 when he was serving a year-long ban from playing cricket. He became a regular commentator after his retirement, predominantly working for Australia’s Nine Network. He was also signed up by Sky Sports in the year 2009.

Warne had his own share of controversies too during his career. In 2019, respected commentator Jim Maxwell criticised Warne for his ‘disrespectful coverage’ during the semi-final match between Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Renegades.

8. Brett Lee

Brett Lee
Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The former Australian Speedster is a fan-favourite among all of the Australian cricketers. Thus, the excitement of fans knew no bounds when Lee decided to hold the mike and join commentary as a profession. During his cricketing career, Lee had the honour of bowling the second fastest delivery in international cricket ever.

After announcing his retirement, Lee joined the commentating team of Channel Nine. He has also worked for Fox Sports since the year 2018. After his retirement, Lee has focused mostly on his media commitments.

He is one of the most elegant and respected Australian commentators. Much about his skills can be learned from the fact that he has hardly got embroiled in any controversy during the 8 years of his career.

9. Ian Bishop

Ian Bishop
Ian Bishop. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The once feared pacer from the Caribbean certainly came a long way to become one of the most revered commentator and cricket experts. Despite numerous injuries and back problems throughout his career, the right-arm pacer still managed to achieve a 10-year-long career. He enjoyed more success in the longest format of the game rather than limited-overs cricket.

Like some of his contemporaries, he decided to voice his opinions on cricket after his retirement and hence pursued a commentating career. He is one of the most experienced commentators of this XI having shared his thoughts for four major networks throughout his career. He is a famous commentator who has had the privilege of commentating on various major tournaments as well.

He has been contracted by broadcasters like Sky Sports, Channel 4, SABC Television and Channel 5. He already has completed over 20 years in this profession.

10. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The 54-year-old former cricketer from Madras is one of the most experienced and talented commentators on this list. He is one of those few players whose commentary made a much more impact on the game than his cricketing career. Though he played only 25 international matches yet made a huge impact during those games with his leg-break.

He is also one of the highest earning commentators. Though many fans criticise him for his supposedly biased commentary, yet he maintains a clean record as far as his voicing of opinions is concerned. He is also one of the players’ representatives on the ICC Cricket Committee.

He also has managed a commentating career of over 20 years. During these years he has been contracted by broadcasters like Nimbus Sport, BCCI and Star Sports Tamil.

11. Danny Morrison

Danny Morrison
Danny Morrison. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The former New Zealand Cricketer is by far the most entertaining commentators on this list. His characteristic abbreviations ‘the double Ds’ and ‘the double Rs’ act as his identifying factor in the Indian Premier League. He is one of the few speakers who manage to keep monotony at bay during their conversation.

He has had his share of controversies too throughout his career. During an IPL match, he lifted Sports Presenter Karishma Kotak with his arm. Though not much fuss was made about the incident, yet it is considered as one of the few embarrassing moments in IPL history.

He has also continued his career for more than 20 years now. During his stints as a commentator, he has worked for networks like Sky Sports, Fox Sports and ABC.

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