When I was growing up the cricket commentators were like they are now mostly former players who offered their thoughts on the action going on out in the middle. The commentators were quite tame. They weren't outrageous at all and they just talked about the what was going on and maybe talk about some the strategy in the game and the technique of some of the players.
Rugby was kind of the same but for New Zealand rugby audiences Keith Quinn could get quite excited at times. Jonah Lomu running over Mike Catt comes to mind:
Back then sports on television was mostly broadcast by state television or terrestrial channels. Now, we have pay television. We have sports channels and they are paying big bucks to have the right to broadcast these sports events and that is the operative word events. They are not just sports broadcasts anymore. These are televisions events that need the big build up and the razzmatazz and all that.
Because of this the commentators are becoming more and more exuberant.
Now I have said time and time again that we are living in an extroverted world and to get anywhere you need to show a little bit of extrovertism (is that a word?). What is surprising is that these more extroverted commentators in New Zealand anyway seem to get a lot of stick from the viewing public. When I think of three New Zealand commentators I think of three in particular, two rugby commentators and one cricket commentator.
Before I comment I'll let you decide for yourself:
This is Danny Morrison, ex-New Zealander cricketer.
Next we have former All Blacks Number 8 and commentator, Murray Mexted.
And finally the current comments man on New Zealand Sky Sports coverage of rugby, Justin Marshall.
First of all, Danny Morrison. There was a bit of controversy about this although I did read that the people in Mohali didn't seem to care and it was all a storm in a teacup. At the end of the day (a real sport's cliche) he is just a commentator and he is doing what he is told to do by the producers. He gets very excited in the commentary booth and some people don't like it. What's wrong with it? He is just showing his enthusiasm and passion for the sport he loves. In this case he wore the dress of the area in which he was in. What is the difference between that and the following photo?
Nothing. Both people are respecting the situation that they are in and having a good time. Actually I know from good authority that the good looking guy in the maroon turban was asked questions about the food and drink that was served at the temple. The people thought that he was Sikh. Obviously he showed the greatest respect and that is all you can ask.
Murray Mexted and Justin Marshall are the same as Danny Morrison. They both love rugby. They both love the All Blacks having played for the team so they like to bring that enthusiasm out in their commentary but they still get criticised.
I suppose it comes down to the individual and people are more likely to complain and make a song and dance about those kinds of commentators than the people who like them. For those people, the commentary adds to the sports occasion and they enjoy watching the sport first and foremost.
So to answer my question in the title of this post, is it best to be extroverted or introverted as a rugby or cricket commentator?
It doesn't matter as long as you have the knowledge about what is going on in the middle and you love it. It doesn't matter one iota if you are yelling and screaming or your comments are quieter and thought through. You are going to have haters on either side and that is life.