Winston Anthony Lloyd Cozier, fondly known as Tony Cozier, took his last breath on this day in 2016 at his residence in Barbados. Deceased at the age of 75, Cozier spent a majority of his life expressing his views on cricket eloquently through his voice and writing. Making his debut in the commentary box during Australia’s tour of West Indies in 1965, he was probably the first renowned voice from the Caribbean speaking on the game for over 50 years. He saw the advent of ODI and Test cricket, rise and fall of probably all the major cricketing nations at present, the wholesome changes in sports broadcasting and all the revolutions the game went through.
Assisted with his melodic Bajan accent, Cozier was a part of the contingent which graced the game with their lovely voice and intelligent one-liners which may have become cliched later but was highly enjoyed by cricket fans. We look at a few of them in this article:
An old-school and a remorseless commentator, Geoff Boycott called a spade a spade. Rubbish was his favorite adjective and sounded more castigating in his Yorkshire accent coming out as “Roobish”. In the above video, he did not mince words before calling Gautam Gambhir a ‘roobish’ batsman in English conditions. To make matters worse for Gambhir, he got out for a golden duck in one of the ugliest ways possible for an opener.
Video Credits: Random Videos
Boisterous Bill Lawry
Unlike Boycott, Australia’s cricketer-turned-commentator, Bill Lawry was famous for his cheerful nature as a commentator. He used cliches but took their charm to another level in his boisterous voice. Phrases like “Got him, he is gone”, “Bang”, “It’s all happening”, “That’s the best you will ever see” found a new meaning during his stint as a commentator which lasted for more than 40 years between 1977 and 2018. He commentated till he was 81 and called time on his career only when Channel Nine lost their broadcasting rights, the only network in Australia he had worked for.
Video Credits: Greatest Sports Commentary Globally
Ravi Shastri wasn’t much different from Lawry. The only difference was that he came with his own set of cliches and popularized them with his heavy tone. There was never a dull moment with Shastri. When Sreesanth struck Andre Nel for a six, he was there. Yuvraj Singh recorded six sixes, he was there. Sachin Tendulkar scored an ODI double hundred, he was there. India won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the ODI World Cup in 2011, he was not only there but got to call the climaxes which have stayed in the viewers' memory bank till date.
In the above video, he was testing the decibel level of his fellow commentators to utter his famous quote “went like a tracer bullet” but in the end, it was Shastri himself who had to show how it is done.
Video Credits: Indian Heroes
Classic John Arlott
Much like Cozier, John Arlott made his way to the commentary box through his journalism background. One of the oldest commentators to acquire the doyen status, Arlott used his poetic sense astonishingly while describing Test matches on radio and television.
While streakers on a cricket field are not new nowadays and in one such instance during the Ashes Test at Lord’s in 1975, Arlott in the commentary box left everyone in splits with his visionary and astute description of the event. The nonchalance and stability in his voice spoke a lot about the grip he held on his emotions while commentating. Arlott died in his sleep aged 77 in 1991.
Video Credits: twinnedwitherlangen
Dramatic Tony Greig
Tony Greig at the peak of his voice narrating Sachin Tendulkar’s heroics in Sharjah in 1998 is one of the sweetest memories for Indian cricket fans. In fact, no other commentator is associated with a cricketer as much as Greig is linked with the Master Blaster. Greig was both funny and sharp matching Tedulkar’s masterclass with his words and adding to the perfect cricketing ambience of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium that night. Greig left the world in 2012 due to lung cancer, aged 66.
Video Credits: Famous Channel
While commentary is about speaking, it was Richie Benaud’s pause while explaining the most dramatic occurrences on the field that elevated his status to one of the most highly regarded commentators ever. Acclaimed as the ‘voice of cricket’ around the world, Benaud did his first commentary stint with the BBC in 1960, while still having an active career as an international cricketer. His media career which went on for over 50 years was filled with one-liners. None more famous than mocking Glenn McGrath for his inefficient batting talent, “Glenn McGrath dismissed for two, just 98 runs short of his century” – on the Australian bowler, known for his ineptitude with the bat.”
He died aged 84 in 2015 but the charm of his voice can still be felt in the video game, EA Cricket 2007.
Video Credits: cricket.com.au