Remembering the voice of Indian Cricket
Today, the 18th of July marks the first death anniversary of the man who gave an entirely distinct style to cricket commentary on radio - the late Suresh Saraiya.
Sureshbhai, as he was affectionately called, was indeed the voice of cricket for many who followed his inimitable commentary on All India Radio (AIR) for well over four decades.
He painted a vivid picture of India’s historic victories in the minds of listeners; be it from Auckland, Trinidad, London, Durban or his very own beloved Mumbai where he learnt the nuances of the game.
It was only befitting that his broadcasting legacy that began at the Brabourne Stadium in November 1969 when India took on the Bill Lawry-led Australian team, ended with the India - West Indies Test at the Wankhede Stadium in November 201, a match which ended in an exciting draw off the last ball.
His crowning glory, undoubtedly, was when he completed a century of Tests on the microphone for AIR during the India vs New Zealand match at Nagpur (20th to 23rd Nov. 2010).
Saraiya’s passion for the game of cricket was huge and no matter whichever part of the world he was doing commentary in, he always ensured that he was fully prepared much before the first ball was bowled. One must remember that for most part of his broadcasting career, he didn’t have information at his fingertips like most of us have now.
Consequently, the big log book that he meticulously maintained and always carried to matches was his finest ally.
Even though Saraiya did a few commentary assignments for television, he essentially remained a radio man till the very end. Memories of his entertaining commentary will remain etched forever in the minds of cricket lovers.
The author is an AIR/DD sports commentator