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One new thing that ESPNStar has introduced recently into cricket is the introduction. Just before a batsman comes in to bat, or a bowler comes on for his first spell, he has to ?introduce himself?. While it provides some kind of context to the amateur watcher, it also gives out some important insights. And it gives the players an opportunity to literally make a statement.

For starters, there is Paul Collingwood. He describes himself as a ?right hand batsman and right arm (pause) fast bowler? with the emphasis on fast. Perhaps he believes that with the liberal support he is getting from the umpires, he is as threatening, if not more, than a fast bowler.

Another ?character? in this regard is Dhoni. He is perhaps the only guy who doesn?t use his first name to introduce himself, preferring just ?Dhoni? instead. One wonders if he would do the same if his surname were something much more common such as say ?Sharma?! The other interesting thing to note about Dhoni is that he says ?wicketkeeper? before saying ?right hand batsman?, maybe to make a statement that it?s he and not Dinesh Kaarthick who is the number one keeper.

This kind of an introduction is also likely to cause some kind of trouble to someone like say Tendulkar, who has no clue what kind of a bowler he is. He tries to get around the problem by describing himself as just ?right arm bowler?. Interestingly, even Anil Kumble describes himself the same way ? ?right arm bowler?! Wonder if he is trying to make a statement with that.

The most powerful statement, in my opinion, however, is by V V S Laxman. He describes himself as a ?right hand middle order batsman and right arm off-spin bowler?. While it is interesting that he mentions his little-used bowling skills here (without Sehwag, India lacks a part time off spin bowler), the more important thing is the emphasis he places on ?middle order?. I?m sure he is hitting out at the selectors and team management of the late nineties who tried to make an opener out of him. A strong opportunity this was to make a statement, and he has grabbed it with both hands.

If not anything else, this concept of introductions has made viewing much more entertaining, at least for those who care to listen to it. One sincerely hopes that the broadcasters carry this forward and make this a regular feature for all series. However, one needs to see how this would gel with teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where a larger number of players can?t speak English. I won?t be surprised to hear Inzy (if he gets picked) saying ?Inzamam-ul-haq. Inshallah 36 years. Inshallah right hand batsman. Left arm bowler inshallah?!

Cross posted at Critics Corner

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