Dakshesh Pathak : Since Indian cricket team is in West Indies for the series, it would be great to remember one of the greatest cricket commentators of history, none-other than Tony Cozier.
On May 11 2016, an alchemist of narration who created a virtual world from the real one, departed from this world at the age of 76. When there were or weren’t live telecast of cricket matches, and very few had tv sets before 80s in India and whenever India toured West Indies or they toured India, every cricket lover and follower saw the matches live on radio. How come ?
Well, there is a possibility of television without physical screen, illuminating in the air itself wherever u wish by the click of invisible electrodes in your hands thanks to quantum physics research in the coming decades, but someone actually did this by his own style and class way before live telecast age of tv.
He illuminated the classics of 3 Ws ( Weekes, Worrell, Walcott ) of a great era, he took us to the run up of Wesley Hall and Charlie Griffith, he made us to understand the definition of ‘ Whispering death ‘ Michael Holding and his sheer pace and how the batsmen and the spectators went through a virtual beating heart surgery when these greats released balls from their hands. His words, encompassed Sir Viv Richard’s timeless class in description. His judgments on what would be coming, became a benchmark to read the situations not only by guess, but by long experiences, research, history and above all, reading minds whom he followed for years.
He had his own version why Desmond must be termed as ‘ Hammer Haynes ‘ and why Mohinder Amarnath was one of the greatest batsmen along with Sunil Gavaskar to have toured West Indies and faced the fastest quartet of Holding, Garner, Marshall and Roberts in 1983 just before the world cup when ‘ Jimmy ‘ Amarnath scored 598 runs in 5 tests with 2 centuries. I remember while listening to commentary on my radio ( Bush brand )when the Caribbean missiles couldn’t dislodge Mohinder ‘ Aaamnaath ‘ at Barbados, this man, describing the scene from there on radio, said, ‘ a brave fire fighter facing the wrath of fire balls and bravely fighting with a small fire extinguisher as a form of bat…..what a fighter…..will power converted in to attitude than words. A humble arrogance taking on an absolute arrogance…..it rarely happens in a seasoned commentator’s life that he becomes subjective from being objective. What a stance and stand Jimmy Aaamnaaath.’
Tony Cozier. The commentator who took us to the actual spots by his narration where things were actually happening. He followed the Caribbean cricket for almost 5 decades and saw the best…..and also the worst after the retirement of all those greats. He witnessed the emergence of new stars and also the decline of fading stars, but in his words, flowing from the radio like a beautiful stream, remained loyal to his conscious and profession always with objectivity as the soul.
A big salute to you Tony Cozier and so sorry to remember you after 7 months of your exit, but you know, it takes time to create a matching echo of words. You, belong to the greatest class of John Arlott and Vijay Merchant and like watching an old classic match, people will listen to your magical voice and description of the match from the archives…..or, let me correct. People would listen to your commentary only, to watch the match, as you dissolved visuals in to your audio marvelously.