The naming of the Wankhede Stadium Media Centre may well be discussed at the Mumbai Cricket Association managing committee today.
There have been suggestions by some affiliated clubs that it should be named after the late Balasaheb Thackeray.
Thackeray had a feel for the game, a soft corner for cricketers and a deep appreciation for the skills that the men in whites possessed. His cricketing passion took him to the boundaries of Shivaji Park Gymkhana where Dadar Union and the Gymkhana played out their intense battles often referred to India’s answer to the Battle of the Roses (Lancashire vs Yorkshire) in England.
However, media centres ought to be named after media personalities and there is not an iota of disrespect to the departed leader when we say this.
It would be apt to bestow the Media Centre honour on the late AFS Talyarkhan, India’s first cricket commentator. Apart from being a fine microphone man, he also was revolutionary writer. It was ‘Bobby’ — as he was called by friends — who started the sports page concept while he worked as Sports Editor of the Free Press Journal, a newspaper which Thackeray served as a cartoonist.
We now see and listen to three commentators on air in a commentary session, but Talyarkhan did it all alone. When All India Radio insisted on having other commentators, he quit in disgust. Some reckoned Talyarkhan’s attitude was selfish. Others put it down to his confidence and commitment of doing a job well.
The MCA may or may not decide to name the Media Centre after Thackeray, but they would do well to prominently display his excellent caricatures of cricketers around the stadium in honour of his artistic skills and love for Mumbai cricket.