Gone are the days when Pakistani radio cricket commentary used to hook audiences. Such was the mastery and eloquence of greats such as Jamshed Markear and Omar Kureshi that even widely televised matches in that era wouldn't have driven people away from absorbing radio commentary of that era.
Also, radio is a lifesaver for people who don't have an access to television, especially popular in villages and among working class. And the energy crisis with frequent power cuts makes a stronger case for the rejuvenation of quality radio commentary across the nation.
It requires a certain mastery and expertise to vividly encapsulate a live game and cast images before listeners’ eyes.
Raja Asad Ali, one of the premier radio commentators relates his experience of commentary as an unparallel and fortunate one.
He thoroughly enjoys the challenge of cricket commentary on radio where commentator has to become eyes and ears for the listener. However, these days there are commentators in Urdu who use typical cliche phrases, for instance, ‘Ball asmaan se batain karti hui'. Moreover, the use of limited jargon fails to provide pleasure of the words to the listener.
The trend is not limited to radio as the same lot commentates by and large in televised domestic events. It is more like maintaining a specific tradition than finding voices and cricketing brains that can come up with their own personal insights and novel approach towards covering a game.
The veterans and retired cricketers are a separate league altogether as they can always comment and interpret the game through their hands own experience and knowhow of the various facets of the game. However, for those who come from a journalism background, it is pivotal to think from audience’s point of view who want more than just plainly narrating events taking place on the field. The use of analogies, metaphors and colorful language can add vitality to the game.
It is important for our commentators to cherish each and every moment of the game. They can learn this from greats like Ramiz Raja and David Lloyd who sound as they are in sync and touch based with the audience.
If one is not a die-hard fan of cricket then I am afraid the commentator will struggle to please the audiences. Our commentators these days sound uptight and serious while covering tournaments.
It is high time Pakistan Cricket Board honors and pays tribute to the dynamic voices of cricket commentary from Pakistan. Celebrating our icons through events, documentaries and making available their historic coverage to the public will inspire the budding sports journalists.
Australian government owns and hails Richie Benaud as an 'Australian treasure'. He was undoubtedly a genius who set many new precedents. Benaud was a constant source of guidance for his contemporaries and for the many generations of commentators till date.