Alright, now that the West Indies series is done and dusted with, Indian cricket will move on to bigger and (hopefully) better things – the tour of Australia. No offence to the touring Windies side, but their presence in India for a full series felt like an awkward placeholder between two hugely important series in England and Australia. And despite occasional flashes of brilliance, the performance of the West Indies side, grappling with withdrawals and lack of experience, across formats, made that sentiment true.
So we now look forward to the tour Down Under.
And a quick refresher for you, in case you have been living under a rock lately:
Australian cricket is not doing too well either. For most of us are cricket followers, in our lifetimes, this is probably the worst Australia have been playing on a cricket field. Off the field, the repercussions of the ball-tampering scandal are *still* being felt.
Cricket Australia is under the pump after an independent review found a whole lot of things wrong with the board’s functioning and the role administrators played in the ball-tampering scandal, which tarnished the country’s image, apparently.
While wins have been tough to come by in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, heads have started rolling at Cricket Australia now too. And then there is the whole “elite honesty” deal that has only made matters worse.
Now, given all that, you’d think the ones in charge of making the official promo for the tour would be mindful of the context this series will be played under. But not if you are Sony Pictures Sports Network.
Remember “Hisaab 25 saal ka” before the South Africa series? If you think Sony would have learned their lesson from that, think again. The promo for the Australia series is based on the many feuds you see on the streets of India during gully cricket.
The promo shows folks literally at each other’s throats, on the verge of engaging in physical violence, because, evidently, they are passionate about their cricket. It happens in every nook and corner of the country, the voiceover says (in a deep baritone, because of course, how else do you convey a sense of terror). The promo goes on to use terms in different local languages that denote serious squabbles between players. And – here’s the best part – it ends saying, “When all this happens outside India, it’s called India vs Australia.”
Talk about sensibilities.
(As an aside: How many of you actually remember instances of physical violence between teams during your childhood days of playing cricket on the streets?)
Watch it for yourself here:
This isn’t the first promo by Sony for the tour either. The previous one said “in this series, the gentleman’s game is less gentle” using multiple shots of Virat Kohli and myriad Aussie cricketers being their aggressive selves.
Somehow, actual cricket and the many wonderful / painful memories of duels between India and Australia, have been completely ignored. Because, passion.
It seems to be a conscious call as well, if we are to believe Rohit Gupta, Sony Entertainment president, who expects considerably more revenue from this series than India-England because this is the biggest rivalry in cricket right now, according to the broadcaster.
“These controversies are like big talking points of the game, which add energy and excitement to the action, Gupta is quoted as saying by InsideSport.co. “These indicate that how eager and determined the teams are to outscore the other at any cost and that makes an India Australia series so special. This is what the fans and the game need. Predictable, lacklustre games invoke little value.”
Kohli vs Australia
And on the other side, we have Fox Cricket, broadcasters of the series in Australia. First things first, they have at least kept the promo focussed on cricket. But it seems they have decided the series is going to be Virat Kohli vs Australia and not India vs Australia. Not even figuratively, it’s quite literal. The closing frame of the promo is actually “King Kohli” over “Australia” in big fonts.
If you are looking for positives, the Australian promo is at least focussing on a positive aspect of the visiting team — praising the best batsman in the world. As for Sony’s promos, the less said, the better.
Which do you think is the better of the two promos? Let us know on Twitter @thefield_in or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org