We all watch cricket. In fact we are a much bigger cricket fans than our national sport, hockey. Some of us love watching football too. For such a nation full of sport lovers, commentary becomes a very booming and essential part of the sport. These are the ones who love the game and love talking about it too.!
Though in this article, we would majorly ne considering cricket. With so many matches (test & one day) and charity matches being held all over the world, the job of a Cricket Commentator is very much in demand. And will rise further, with the way the cricket rage is spreading and gaining momentum commercially.
We all watch and listen to the commentators with so much focus. We love watching a six or an out again and again and the ones who speak for those reviews and other play-by-play actions. They have to have a very deep knowledge of that particular sport and almost about every team, its members, their strengths, etc.
This occupation can be stressful when deadlines hover nearby or scheduling becomes tight.
Many retired cricketers take being commentators and are usually a huge hit, but there are popular and immensely successful commentators without a cricketing background like Harsha Bhogale & Charu Sharma.
You’ll keep your audience engaged by commentating with excitement, enthusiasm and passion. The other most important thing is you’ll need to stay impartial and give balanced commentary. This is what we see a lot in many India-Pakistan matches that many Indian cricketers who become commentators do a very partial commentary before the matches and at many times, those heavy become heavier on you.
There are many things that you have to be specialized in, such as speaking, writing, listening and interpersonal skills, research abilities, media production skills, an appealing and well-groomed appearance. You have to keep audience engaged.
Times come when match starts late due to rain or any serious injury, commentator is the one who has to take a lead. Then there times when match ends a bit too early (cricket especially) maybe because one team chases the score with a very minimum time or the opposition team sends all chasing team batsmen to pavilion.
Some famous names in this field
Harsha works for ESPN STAR Sports and is a Chemical Engineer and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad. He has worked with advertising agencies for various prestigious companies like Colgate, Halo shampoo, Palmolive and Charmis.
He began his commenting career at the early age of 19 for All India Radio. In 1991-92, he became the first Indian commentator to be invited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during India’s cricket series before the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Since 1995, he has been presenting live cricket from all around the world for ESPN STAR Sports. He has covered more than 80 Test Matches and almost 300 One Day Internationals. He has also covered the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April/May 2009.
He has also penned down two books titled, Azhar – The Authorized Biography of Mohammad Azharuddin and Harsha: Out of the Box – Watching the Game We Love.
2. Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri , a popular Indian cricketer made his debut as TV commentator with World Masters tournament in 1995. He is the commentator with the Indian Premier League for 7 years, being broadcasted by Sony Max. His famous words –‘down the ground’, ‘that all over’s’, ‘we are here for toss’ makes him special. His voice is so strong that it attracts the audience. His personality and influence shows on the Indian players. He was commentating on the matches in India and also outside India. Since he was appointed as the director of the Indian cricket team until 2015 World cup we miss his commentary.
Wife of Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Stuart Binny, Mayanti Langer has anchored cricket shows in the India-South Africa Test series on Ten Cricket channel. She was also part of commentary team of Star Sports during recently ended World Cup tournament. She has earlier worked with ESPN as well and is one of the well-known faces in cricket commentary.
Steve Bower serves as a soccer play-by-play announcer for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Based in the United Kingdom, Bower currently calls select Premier League games for NBC Sports Group and contributes to Premier League Live, NBC Sports Group’s pre- and post-match studio show. Bower has been a part of the BBC commentary team at the World Cup, European championships, Olympics and Women’s European championships, and provided live commentary from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Bower went on to become a senior commentator and presenter at Manchester United Television, where he worked from 1998 to 2007, calling Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup matches. After leaving Manchester United Television, he worked at Setanta Sports as a commentator and presenter.
Requirements to enter into this career
You can get into this career:
- by training as a journalist and then specialising in sports
- by commentating on sports at a local level with or without a degree or background in journalism
- after having a career as a sports professional
To build a network of industry contacts and to get experience, you could also:
- volunteer to commentate on charity events like fun runs
- commentate for amateur matches at schools, college or for local teams
- record commentary for websites or internet radio stations
- volunteer for community, hospital or student radio, or TV
- get a placement or internship