Bring Back Cricket Commentary in Urdu

Posted on March 28, 2011
Filed Under >Shahran Asim, Sports, TV, Movies & Theatre, Urdu
36 Comments
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Shahran Asim

After ten years of listening to international cricket matches only with English commentary, my Pakistaniat (which includes the love for our national language) was awakened again with all the excitement of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Off I went, then, in search of some place where I could still find Urdu cricket commentary.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a single source on the Pakistani media where I can hear live Urdu commentary of any cricket match, the World Cup included. In India, on the other hand, I did find at least two sources of Hindi commentary; in fact, I followed the Pakistan vs. West Indies Quarter-Final on one of them.

I am sad – very sad – that Urdu cricket commentary has disappeared, at least from the television screens. I think this is a terrible loss. Here is why.

Urdu cricket commentary is like reading an Urdu newspaper: First, it has more masalla; call it sensationalism, but it can be fun. Second, there are some phrases and comments that are simply not translatable to English and add so much spice. And, third, the Urdu commentators (much like Urdu news anchors) don’t even try to hide their biases, which makes even the boring moments less boring!

For example, this is what I heard just this week in the Hindi commentary after the first 10 overs of West Indies innings:

“Pakistan nay West Indies paar Shikanja Kuss Diya…”

Now, tell me please, even if you can translate these words into English, could you ever translate the sense the listener gets from “shikanja kuss daina”?

Pakistan has produced some extraordinary Urdu cricket commentator – indeed, Paksitan has also produced some amazing English commentators from Omar Qureshi to Iftikhar Ahmed to Rameez Raja. (The picture at the top shows some of the great cricket journalists and commentators of the past, including Iftikhar Ahmed, Munir Hussain, Farooq Mazhar, Omer Kureshi and Khalid Hassan).

The top-line Urdu commentators have included Munir Hussain, Hasan Jalil, and late Tasleem Arif. Munir Hussain still lives in Karachi but we don’t see him quite even on TV talk shows on cricket; I wonder why? Hasan Jalil moved to USA and does often write for Pakistani newspapers.

Here are some of the memorable lines from these commentators that I still remember after all these years:

“Javed Miandad nay aik Chowway kay leeaye mara aur gaind hawa mein gai; taizi she boundary ki taraf jaa rahee hai…. aur yeh aik run!”

“Pakistani team fatah key qareeb laikin abhi aik khilari baaqi hai jo abhi tak jam kar khel raha hai”

“Inzimam ul Haque aaiy baray promising player hain, aur yeh bowler nay gaind karaee aur yeh out! Pehli gaind paar!”

“Saleem Malik nay aaj apni shandaar karkerdegi sey Pakistan ki yaqeeni Shikast ko fatah main tabdeel kar diya. Yehan Eden Gardens Calcutta kay ground main” (This was the famous innings by Salim Malik in the 1987 tour of India)

You may have your own memorable phrases and turn of phrases from these Urdu commentators. If so, do please share.

I do think following a Pakistan cricket match with Urdu commentary can add “char chaand” to the game itself. I wish someone could add these “four moons” to the forthcoming Semi-Final against India this Wednesday!

On a more serious note, I wish the media moguls would bring back Urdu cricket commentary because it would be good for cricket as well as for Urdu. Most Pakistanis do not understand English. And even for those who do, Urdu cricket commentary just might improve their Urdu and at least somewhat stall the decline of the national language which continues to suffer from national apathy.

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36 responses to “Bring Back Cricket Commentary in Urdu”

  1. dear webmaster i was searching profile on a pakistani commentator. mr omer qureshi, sorry these pages doesnot mention about umer queshi, any thing, it was more or less abouturdu commentary, any way keep website most update in futurehope users enjoy surfing these pages good luck
    naseem ahmed khan, karachi/pakistan,email addpk7@hotmail.com

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