The 2003 World Cup in South Africa was a defining moment for cricket's relationship with television. The deal for broadcasting the tournament in India went out of the hands of a full-fledged sports channel, and to SET Max – the 'E' in 'SET' standing for 'Entertainment'.
That didn't necessarily prepare anyone for the drastic change in the format of presentation that the channel provided. 'Dumbing down', screamed the purists. 'Good mix of entertainment and cricket,' said many. And then there were those who waited for the cricket to take a break and for Mandira Bedi to bring on her noodle-straps and 1000-watt smile. Suddenly, you didn't need Harsha Bhogle, or even Charu Sharma, anymore. Sexist as it was, SET Max figured that when big-time cricket was on, men would hog the TV sets; to draw in the housewives, something different was needed; something 'extraaa'.
So strong was the impact of this 'cricket with a difference' coverage that traditional sports channels too brought in entertainment slices into their mix. The Shaz & Waz Show, for example, was devised to attract the segment of viewers who wanted to dip in for a while, but not watch too much cricket.