Decision to have only one unit member at post-match party, a welcome move

Updated: Nov 19, 2017, 11:28 IST | Agencies

Decision to have only one state unit member at post-match presentation party so that sponsors get more mileage, has not come a moment too soon

Richie Benaud, the great Australian cricketer who after his retirement from the game became equally famous for his commentary is sorely missed in the commentary box and as the Australians gear up to wrest back the Ashes his voice will be missed when we tune in early in the morning to see how the match is going. My first TV stint was for BBC 27 years back and while there were other names such as Ray Illingworth (the shrewdest captain I have seen) it was Richie that was the natural choice to ask for any tips and advice on how to do commentary. Richie by nature was reserved and did not speak unless he was spoken to and so it was tough to get anything out of him initially.

Presenter Ian Chappell (left) discovers a large group of administrators after the match in the 1990's
Presenter Ian Chappell (left) discovers a large group of administrators after the match in the 1990's  

Field belongs to players
Slowly though he started to open up and some of his tips have stayed with me. The one thing that I have been able to stay true to is his advice never to step over the boundary ropes on to the field if I had no work to do there, like a pitch report or toss or a player interview. He said the field belonged to the players, the umpires and the ground staff and no blade of grass should be disturbed by anybody else. Of course the TVcameramen, sound guys and the runners need to be there too but nobody else should be on the field of play.The news that it has been decided that only one member of the state association or a VIP will be allowed at the presentation ceremony so as to allow the representatives of the sponsors to get more mileage has not come a moment too soon. There simply are far too many people on or near the presentation area and more than anything else, it's a security problem as some of these people who have managed to sneak in are standing dangerously close to the players who have lined-up for the presentation ceremony.

Getting too close, a concern
The throng and that's the only way to describe it, is always trying to get close to the players so they can be seen on TV and even in photos but they do get in the way of the TV guys and are generally avoidable. More importantly even though the match is over they have trespassed into the playing arena which belongs to only the players and match officials. See any cricket stadium in India and see the number of people who are over the boundary ropes and on the field of play and you will get an idea of what I mean. This never happens on any grounds in England or Australia where entry on to the field of play is restricted. Unfortunately in India the managing committee gets passes which allows them access to every part of the ground excepting the players dressing rooms. So when it comes to the presentation ceremony they are all on the field and often with their relations, so it does become a nightmare for the security people.

So the new ruling hopefully will also be applied to not just the presentation area but the entire ground too. I have followed Benaud's advice and if am not doing any work on the field of play will not enter it. Many TV guys go on the ground when they have no work there and only to chit chat with the players which again is avoidable as it's best to leave the players alone before the day's play. A lot of others do so too as they want to be seen by the crowd to show their importance. Of course, it is each to his own but come to think of it I never saw Benaud on the field of play because he did not do the pitch report, toss or player interviews. He would slip into the commentary box most times before the other commentators came in, open up his laptop and get busy for the day.

Too many people
We see so many people who have no business being on the field of play being there simply because they have accreditation for it. Many a meeting is held there when it could well be held just beyond the boundary ropes away from the field of play. Hopefully, the notice about how many people should be at the presentation ceremony will be followed by who should actually be on the field of play for as Richie Benaud said not a blade of grass should be disturbed by anybody other than the players, match officials, TV guys and the ground staff.

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