In the past few years, the hegemony of English commentary has been comprehensively broken with the success of commentators in regional languages. It all started way back in 2012 when Star Sports- Indian cricket’s host broadcaster- decided to push the envelope by introducing Hindi commentary along with its traditional English feed.
Since then, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has become the torchbearer of Hindi commentary. Chopra, courtesy his witted-pun, strong command in Hindi and subtle one-liners has carved out a niche for himself in this genre and has gradually become a rage among the fans. Chopra, a domestic veteran, made his Hindi commentary during India’s victorious 2013 Champions Trophy campaign in England.
Chopra is an equally brilliant English orator but the right-hander feels that since his first language is Hindi, it comes naturally to him as he can play around with words a lot more than in England. Chopra, in a recent interview to CricBuzz, also revealed that he never tried to imitate the likes of David Lloyd or Navjot Singh Sidhu, and his motto has always been to keep things simple.
Aakash Chopra reveals his favourite piece of commentary
“Hindi is my first language, it comes naturally to me. In Hindi, we got that kind of a freehand when it was re-invented by Star. Since I was a part of it from the beginning, I had the luxury of creating a new template. With English, I feel the template is already set in stone. The style is designed to be very sanitized, very white-collared. There are of course some outliers like Danny Morrison, but I’m no Danny,” Chopra said to CricBuzz.
He added: “I can’t be a Bumble because I don’t have that plethora of words to play with. So I will not go there, I would rather stick to my strengths. With Hindi also, I don’t go shaayari. I’m not Sidhu, I can’t do that. But I’ll play with words, whether it’s rhyming or it’s a pun, because with Hindi I know where I can use them. English is straight-jacketed.”
When asked about his favourite piece of commentary, Chopra was quick to point out Ravi Shastri calling Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in the 2007 T20 World Cup against England.
“Ravi Shastri calling those six sixes was one of my favorite pieces of commentary. Every six can’t be called the same way, but what else do you say when there were just sixes in the entire over? Every time you can’t just say it a ‘oh, it’s a six, what a great shot!’ That is where the theatre comes in,” Aakash Chopra said.
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