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.

36 responses to “Bring Back Cricket Commentary in Urdu”

  1. papji says:

    Arre commentary punjabi vich changee lagdi hai.
    Chakke chuday ditte
    gilli udh gayee
    bhutni bhul gayee

  2. sls says:

    A lot of people at a site like this don’t realize the background of poverty that many cricketers come from (just like Football for Brazil). Mushtaq Ahmad grew up in a house in Sahiwal in which all 8 brothers and sisters slept in the same room. Here is a look at the house Mohammad Asif came of age in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwVyQz-f8S8

    To not provide at least Urdu commentary for the vast majority of people is elitism at its worst. There could even be a business angle as Urdu ads can be targeted at an audience that won’t be tuned in to commentary of Rameez Raja and Wasim Akram (who as I recall spoke in Urdu on a NZ TV studio in 1984 and had to rely on Javed Miandad to do the translation back and forth).

  3. Yahya says:

    Urdu commentary is fun, but usually not that good.

  4. Raheem Abidi says:

    I miss Urdu commentary, but more for nostalgia and fun. It was really never very good. None of them were. Certainly not Munir Hussain who was a pain in teh neck and it seems he had a constant pain in his own neck teh way he spoke :-)

  5. Owais Mughal says:

    @Aijaz. Wasn’t M Idrees the one who used to use the term ‘RunzeN’ in commentary e.g.

    ‘acha shot aur 2 runzeN’

    I may be wrong on M Idrees but there was definitely a radio commentator who used to create this “double plural” of the word Run in urdu as ‘runzen’ :)

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