Some years ago some friends and I were watching a test match on TV. One of the ladies asked why, since cricket isn’t a breathless sport like a horse race, were some commentators in the English broadcast so breathless. You can guess who she was referring to.

No one has been able to answer that question. Fortunately, not all commentators adopt this breathless style. Most are content to speak continuously which is better than the laconic style of the past, especially the Channel 9 commentators. “Good shot. That’s four”.

But between breathless and laconic lies loquacious. It’s a little short of breathless but it’s blabber nevertheless, from absolutely wonderful, retired cricketers. It resembles a runny tap that goes on non-stop.

Oftentimes, in order to just go on talking, they focus on a level of detail that everyone knows is impossible to verify. The focus is mostly on the batsman. The bowlers get off easily.

They read the batsman’s mind in that split second that the ball takes to reach him even though they have no idea of what either the bowler or the batsman was trying. Ball after ball they tell you what they wanted to do, did do, didn’t do, couldn’t do, wouldn’t do.

They must think viewers are complete idiots, who must be kept diverted. So when I do listen it’s to the commentary in Hindi, which is way better.

What’s more, the Indian commentators who talk endlessly in the English box talk less when in the Hindi one.

The key lies in finding the middle ground. Most people of my generation would recall the history lessons of a former India captain who would recall past games, ignoring the current one.

But he had a contemporary, another captain, who was the exact opposite. A batsman got out and his colleague asked for his expert comment.

His reply: “Good ball. Bad shot. Out”.