... And no one -- repeat, no one -- is immune. Not even the great Benaud himself. Check out these lines, from the master himself:
"His throw went absolutely nowhere near where it was going"
"Even Downtown couldn't get down high enough for that"
"That slow motion doesn't show how fast the ball was travelling."
"There were no scores below single figures"
If Benaud could nod, then what of lesser mortals? In course of my time as a confirmed couch potato, I got the following gems:
"Fast bowlers are quick. Just watch this -- admittedly it is in slow motion" -- this, from Ian Chappell.
"It is now possible they can get the impossible score they first thought possible", from Christopher Martin-Jenkins.
"It would be unprintable on television" -- this, from the much-loved Geoffrey Boycott, who also came up, on one memorable occasion, with "If England lose now, they will be leaving the field with their heads between their legs!"
What seems the hardest task of them all, judging by the howlers, is description. How do you describe a well hit six, for instance? The great Freddie Trueman gave it his best shot, thus: "That was a tremendous six. The ball was still in the air as it went over the boundary."
Or take Trevor Bailey, who once bravely stepped into the vacuum with these words: "Then there was that dark horse with the golden arm, Mudassar Nazar." And Graham Dawson, who once did this startling pen portrait of an Aussie player: "David Boon is now completely clean-shaven, except for his moustache."
Or Raymond Illingworth, who once explained, with enviable clarity, an imminent change in the weather thus: "The black cloud is coming from the direction the wind is blowing. Now the wind is coming from where the black cloud is!"
Then there was England coach David Lloyd, who perfectly captured Chris Harris in the memorable line: "He is a very dangerous bowler. Innocuous, if you like."
And the voice of West Indies cricket, Tony Cozier, who produced this gem: "The Queen's Park Oval -- as its name suggests, absolutely round!"
Or our very own Ravi Shastri, who rewrote Gray's Anatomy with this classic: "His feet were a long way away from his body!"
In fact, describing a scene, in all its glory, is so difficult that on one occasion, former Aussie quick bowler Max Walker, doing a stint on radio, was moved to burst out: "One day there will be radio with pictures!" His colleagues, like Ian Chappell, would have tumbled out of their chairs, in the television commentary box, laughing at that one.
The trouble with words is, you know what you mean. But when you spit it out... ah, that is another story. Ask Brian Johnston, the master of the on-air boo-boo, the man who had an entire nation in splits when he famously said, once: "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey!"
It was Johnston -- who mixed erudition, eloquence and hilarity all in one unforgettable mixture -- who once started a commentary, after a break, with the line: "You rejoin us at a very appropriate time -- Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end!"
But the undisputed king of rib-tickling comedy -- unintentional, for the most part -- was Henry 'Blowers' Blofeld. Sample a few gems from the man who spends more time admiring ear-rings than describing the cricket:
"The lights are shining quite darkly" and again, "It is a catch he would have held 99 times out of one thousand."
But perhaps the gem to end all gems was the one Blowers produced in Calcutta. It was Martyr's Day, Eden Gardens was packed, Blowers was seeing that kind of crowd for the first time, and it moved him to unparalleled eloquence.
"It is a full house at the Eden Gardens," warbled Blofeld. "Today, Calcutta is celebrating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi!"