Entertainment Television 28 Dec 2016 Scoring from the stu ...

Scoring from the studio!

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | C SANTOSH KUMAR
Published Dec 28, 2016, 12:14 am IST
Updated Dec 28, 2016, 7:33 am IST
From being a person who never liked cricket, to becoming one of the most sought-after sport presenters in the country.
Mayanti Langer Binny
 Mayanti Langer Binny

It takes a lot of confidence and wisdom to engage in a cricket conversation with the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Ian Botham and Michael Atherton. Mayanti Langer Binny elegantly goes about her job of anchoring pre and post-match TV shows.

Mayanti has been the face of Star Sports’ cricket broadcast for years and no other female presenter has survived this long in the profession. “I never thought of it as a male-dominated sphere and I wouldn’t have managed to stay this long if I had only been treated as a female presenter. I always wanted to try, compete and match the best,” says Mayanti.

 

How do the legends of cricket react to questions from someone who hasn’t played the game? “They don’t have an option. They have to answer because they are live on TV,” she laughs. But on a serious note, Mayanti has earned a lot of respect with her hard work over the years. The world might envy her for the perks of her profession like sharing a good rapport with former cricketers and the current superstars like Virat Kohli, but the journey is anything but a bed of roses for Mayanti. As she is married to Karnataka all-rounder Stuart Binny, son of India’s 1983 World Cup star Roger, she has been subjected to “trolls and ridiculing” on social media whenever her cricketer husband fails on the field. She, however, took the bull by the horns and published an open letter on Twitter to silence the critics. I have been fortunate to be married into a family of cricketers. Though cricket is not the topic at the dinner table, the general conversations around the game has helped me understand the sport better,” she says.

 

Daughter of Lt. General Sanjiv Langer, who worked for the United Nations, Mayanti was bitten by the sports bug when she was in the US. She started her broadcast career in football and the entry into cricket was just by accident. “I never really liked cricket. Now, ironically, everything that I do is around the sport,” she adds.

A purist, Mayanti loves Test matches. “The opportunity to be on a Test match show didn’t come until 2013, when India toured South Africa. It was a challenging assignment. It (Test cricket) gives me immense satisfaction. You get a lot of time for proper discussion and you should be confident about your research and topic,” she says.

 

Mayanti says the young team under Kohli is firmly grounded, despite their stardom. Does she have enough freedom to criticise the team when they are not doing well? “We, as presenters, don’t need to. We are the voice of the fans, but we don’t have to probe like news channels do and make it sensational. Our experts who have played the game have every right to criticise if they want to.”

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