Joy for Anand
WHEN OTHERS were "hitting fours and sixes" this media planner from Bangalore preferred to play "a measured innings." Anand Narasimhan says he has planned his way to the dream job in ESPN Star Sports' Harsha Ki Khoj. "We were not vying to be a commentator. The job was that of a presenter like Harsha Bhogle or Jason Dasey. Therein lies the difference. You may have knowledge of the sport, but as a presenter you are not supposed to comment. It is the prerogative of the experts. My job is to facilitate the conversation - make it entertaining - between the expert and the common man. After years of experience, like Harsha, you may make a point but not at the beginning of the career." Anand says he discovered this reality during the contest.
Anand is right, as cockiness became the undoing of many a contestant including Padamjit Sherawat, one of the final four. "During India's tour to Bangladesh, I commented on the batting style of one of the batsmen - the importance of keeping loose grip while defending so that the ball doesn't travel to the slip cordon - in the presence of Ravi Shastri and former Bangladesh opener Athar Ali Khan. I was soon dumped," says Padamjit, a former Ranji player.
It is the ignorance of the layman that came in handy for Padamjit and Anand. Despite being discarded by experts they managed to stay afloat, courtesy audience votes.
An MBA in marketing and finance who follows cricket, tennis and football with passion, the 27-year-old had a flair for hosting shows from college days. "I have conducted some 50-odd shows. But during these four-and-a-half months I realised the importance of teamwork. You are nothing without the support of the technical crew."
This realisation is something, which won him the day in the final reckoning. It is the ESS's Head of Production Huw Bevan and Jason Daisy who stood by him when the vote of India - the whole India was counted as one vote - deserted him and even Wasim Akram and Harsha cast a negative vote.
In days when, the sport is primarily played for television audience and in the name of reaching out to the masses, a cricket presenter has taken some dumb forms like Mandira Bedi and Roshni Chopra, Anand, who has won one-year contract of presenting Sportsline and Sportcentre, says he wants to keep things simple and entertaining without dumbing down. "I want to follow Harsha. He is immensely talented but very down to earth and approachable."
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