Scoring from the studio!

From being a person who never liked cricket, to becoming one of the most sought-after sport presenters, Mayanti has come a long way.

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. “I am in this position because I have the confidence as well as the wherewithal to be here. I believe that I belong in this profession,” she adds.

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 to cricket was just an accident. “I never really liked cricket. Now, ironically, everything that I do is around the game,” 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. “They are an interesting bunch. You don’t see egos flaring around. That’s why, I always believe they are good role models. Their positivity sends out a great message to youngsters,” she informs.

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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