1 Minute View: Let’s have cricket commentary in regional languages

01 Jul,2013

India is a country of many languages and many, many dialects. So while English may have been fine with the urban elite for cricket coverage, people even in the cities are more comfortable with their native languages.


To be fair, pubcaster Doordarshan has always had commentary in Hindi alternating with that in English for the cricket matches it airs. Even the private satellite channels have experimented with Hindi, but the problem has been that the quality of commentators has been erratic and the best talent is almost always in English.


It’s only in the recent past that a concerted effort is made to have top draw commentators on the Hindi feed. Folks like Kapil, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rameez Raja, Wasim Akram, Arun Lal and even journalist Ayaz Memon are now regulars for the Hindi feed. In fact it’s because the likes of Mr Sidhu are exceedingly colourful, there are many who prefer the coverage in Hindi to that in English.


One of the benefits of digitization is that multiple audio feeds can be managed with relative ease. So, we could well have at least 10 versions other than English and Hindi including dialects like Bhojpuri and Tullu and all of which could be reasonably advertiser-friendly.


One distinctly remembers the Marathi commentary that All India Radio would air in Maharashtra:: the batsmen or ballebaaz is called falandaaz and when the ball crosses the boundary, it’s: chendu seema paar!


There is enough commentary talent available in regional languages from amongst ex-cricketers. Not only will the viewership for cricket increase, there will be a new set of advertisers who may get attracted to the telecast.


The real power of India is in the regions and some of our television networks who are strong in non-English and non-Hindi television have been huge success stories of the media in the last two decades.


Jai ho!


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