Tariq Saeed, the man reviving Urdu cricket commentary in Pakistan | Cricket News

When Tarek Saeed was hit by a cricket ball just above his right eye, the life of a college student at the time underwent a remarkable change.

Until then, Saeed wanted to play cricket, do well and maybe one day represent Pakistan, a dream of millions in the country but only a few achieved.

But the guard left a deep cut above his eye and left his life goals flat on the ground.

“After that incident, I quit cricket completely. I used to be afraid of the ball. Every time I hit, I would see two of these bowlers running towards me,” Saeed told Al Jazeera.

Saeed added that those with a passion for the game find an excuse to stay involved, and a way for the strong bond to develop into a career – or a lesser one – in cricket.

“Growing up, I loved listening to some of the commentators on the Pakistan matches – Iftikhar Ahmed, Hassan Jalil, Omar Qureshi to name a few.

“After I quit playing, a friend of mine took me to an exhibition match at FC College [in Lahore] And he made me do some comments.

“There, I received a lot of applause. Later on, a nationally lit tournament was also held in Lahore with first-class national cricketers. I made some comments there on the PA system and Abdul Qadir [former Pakistan cricketer] The Cibra franchise [sports writer] He came to congratulate me then.”

Saeed refers to that incident as a turning point, as he embarked on a journey that not only brought him many glories and journeys, but also Urdu commentaries in Pakistan gave him new life.

Tariq Saeed (right) shares a comment box with former Pakistan captain Waseem Akram [Courtesy of Tariq Saeed]

Born in Montgomery District (now known as Sahiwal District), about 112 kilometers (70 miles) from Lahore, Saeed grew up in a culture revolving around sports. Named after Sir Robert Montgomery during the British rule of India before partition, the area has produced many cricket and hockey players.

“My cousin was very interested in hockey and cricket and I would go and watch him play. My father used to tell me stories about Syed Muhammad Jafar [former India hockey player and Olympian] Being born here made me interested in sports as well.”

Fast-forward a few decades and Saeed is now one of the most popular cricket followers in the country.

As Pakistan currently lacks quality cricket commentators, Saeed has also ensured that cricket lovers’ love affair with Urdu commentaries has been rekindled.

“Before 1970, Urdu commentary on cricket matches wasn’t even popular. Even on the radio, she was getting a five-minute slot. Since the 1970s, it has been given 50 percent of airtime.

But after the explosion of Lahore [on Sri Lankan team bus in 2009]No one paid any attention to him.

“Revival of Urdu commentary is very important for Pakistan international matches. People missed it. Pakistan Cricket Board made Urdu commentary on Pakistan Super League [domestic T20 league featuring international players] Which is good.

“If you look at India, you will find comments in eight languages.”

Saeed’s journey from standing on the microphone at that lit-up tournament in Lahore to international matches has not been easy. When he was 18 years old, he was told that he was too young when he called Radio Pakistan for an audition and a chance to be part of the popular commentary team.

But when Said tried his luck again two years later, with a responsible new product, the result was much better.

“Someone told me that the sports producer had changed on Radio Pakistan so I thought I would meet him. He was Khaled Waqar, the best radio producer ever. He did my audition and the rest is history. He is my teacher and my mentor and everything I learned after that was through him.”

In addition to commenting on cricket, Saeed has worked as a reporter for local Urdu newspapers and is the correspondent for Deutsche Welle in Pakistan. He has also commented on the hockey matches and the Kabaddi World Cup Final between India and Pakistan which made him realize how in some parts of the country cricket was not the most popular sport.

But like athletes, Saeed said commentators need to take care of their minds, their bodies, and most importantly their throat, which supplies them with bread and butter.

“During busy season, I don’t drink cold water or sodas. No ice cream for me either. On match days I drink tea before every spell. I gargle with hot water frequently. You need to take care of your throat and make sure you don’t eat anything sour or greasy.” .

“I also make sure I don’t eat too much while commenting because it makes me sleepy which is not a good thing when you’re on a mic. You have to be very focused and focused on what’s going on in the middle. If you miss a ball or related events from previous transgressions, it becomes It’s tough as the game progresses.”

Saeed adds that just focusing and reporting on what is happening is not enough to keep listeners and viewers engaged.

“If it’s a long match, like tests or first-class matches, you need to create a storyboard to keep the audience interested. In Twenty20 it’s all business so there’s no time or need for that. But in the longer format, you need to focus more, maybe as The players do, not just to ensure you don’t get out of the zone.”

While Saeed celebrates the return of cricket – internationals and PSL – to Pakistan after a long drought, he remains content with the path his life has taken after that injury over his eye.

“Nearly 95 per cent of the individuals you see associated with cricket off the pitch are those who once wanted to become cricketers but couldn’t achieve their dreams. I am happy to be one of those.”

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