Eyeing big viewership opportunity during the coming Asia Cup, all the leading news channels have been on a spree to rope in popular cricket stars for the coverage of the event. Each news channel promises to keep viewers glued to their sets with in-depth coverage of the cricket tournament in Sri Lanka.
Rajesh Sheshadri, Aaj Tak spokesperson, said Indian captain Sourav Ganguly would "reflect the mindset of the Indian cricket team and take viewers closer to the actual excitement and happenings during the matches". Two special segments, 'Seedhe Sourav Se' and 'Captain's Speak', have been added to the programming structure of Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. "Sourav will also provide exclusive pre- and post-match inputs during the Asia Cup starting July 16," he added.
Zee News on the other hand has signed up former Pakistani cricket captains Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram. Miandad will be part of the daily coverage and will also "analyze every toss and turn of the matches". Live events and road shows with Miandad will also be conducted. Wasim Akram will give his special comments on the matches live from Colombo along with the Zee News team.
NDTV has roped in former Indian Test batsman-turned-commentator-turned MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid for special Asia Cup coverage on its English and Hindi channels. Previous hit programmes like "Googly" in Hindi (NDTV India) and "Turning Point" in English (24x7) would also be part of the cricket programming which NDTV will begin from July 14, said an official from the channel.
Keertan Adyanthaya, Brand Director, Star News, says former Indian wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia will be part of the special programming for the Asia Cup. He will host programmes like "Wah Cricket" in the morning and evening during the tournament. Besides this, Star News will provide coverage of all matches by their team of reporters.
Sahara Samay Vice-president Prabha Dabral, when contacted, said his channel has lined up well-known cricket commentator Sushil Doshie to give expert opinion on the matches. Besides this, the channel is in the process of signing up two to three ace cricketers for special shows, and the channel's news team will cover the tournament at length, he said.