Making her presence felt inside the commentary box in IPL-8, former Indian women’s captain Anjum Chopra feels that the unique opportunity will certainly make people take note of ladies cricket and improve gender bias in sport.
After doing a number of anchor-guest shows on IPL Extraa Innings and otherwise, Anjum joined female cricketers Isa Guha (former England captain) and Lisa Sthalekar (Australian all-rounder) and Melanie Jones (Australia) in the commentators’ box.
Sharing the mike with the stalwarts of the game and veterans of the broadcast world, Anjum is looking at the broader picture.
“I have done three season of Extraa Innings in the studio but the commentary experience is completely different. As a cricketer to be part of IPL and also to work with international cricketers, commentators and be around the cricket field, I think there was never a doubt the opportunity should ever be missed. I am happy that BCCI gave me this opportunity to work,” said Anjum.
“I think what the commentary stint will do is that it will open the doors to women’s cricket commentary and others also. More importantly what it will do and I think what it should do is highlight the women’s sport in a much brighter perspective. Women’s cricket is there and the comparison comes up that it’s not as good as men’s cricket.
“But now people will start recognising or identifying that there is women’s sport as well. The thought will get endorsed and those who do not know will know that women’s cricket is internationally present and how good it is and what level it is. So for girls who are doing commentary here is a big plus for the women’s game,” the veteran batswoman added.
The Delhi-born player-turned-commentator is putting her money on Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders to have it easy till the play-offs.
“I think Chennai (Super Kings)and Kolkata (Knight Riders) should make it pretty comfortably. Mumbai Indians have been exceptional in the last five games, so they should make it to the last four. I think I will never discount an RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) making it, because they will be playing till the end and can assess their chances till the last. CSK, Rajasthan Royals, KKR, MI and RCB will certainly fight it out for the last four,” she opined.
Lauding the cricket producers for including the women’s players inside the commentary box and graduating from the days of Mandira Bedi style of cricket coverage, Anjum said that the game’s broadcast value has grown for the better via IPL.
“Now they (cricket producers) are adding more value. People who have worked before on cricket have added great value. Now you can say that there are people who can talk cricket, who have played the game and add different perspective to the sport,” Anjum said.
“People who have taken us for the job have certainly done their homework and then they have given us the go-ahead to do commentary in IPL. Because it’s a very big stage, it’s a world stage and you are talking to millions and millions of people. Yes, it’s an opportunity to try something new. And it requires some amount of homework and the people have certain level of trust in us to try something new like this,” she added.