Take my greetings from Bangladesh. I am not sure if you will ever get a chance to read this. If ever, I just hope you will take this in good spirit. I have been following cricket for years and am quite familiar with your style both as a player and commentator. I must admit you speak good English but I have reasons to doubt whether your commentary is as good as your English.
I know you are not a great fan of the Bangladesh cricket team. For years you have ridiculed Bangladeshi players knowingly or unknowingly. I don’t want to go into the details. You are perhaps aware of your effigies being burnt in many parts of Bangladesh after your sarcastic comments over Bangladesh in general and Bangladesh cricket team in particular during the World Cup 2015.
I am not sitting in judgment if the fans did the right thing or wrong by taking some of your comments seriously. I was in the press box in Canberra during Bangladesh’s opening World Cup match against Afghanistan. From the very beginning of match, you, as a commentator, tried to give an impression that Bangladesh were scared of facing Afghanistan.
In the press box we were not allowed to listen to commentary. So I could not get a first hand idea of what you were saying. I came to know about your disparaging remarks only after seeing the overwhelming reaction of fans on social media.
However, this is not the case in the ongoing Pakistan Super League. I am watching it from a distance like many other Bangladeshi fans. I am enjoying the matches thoroughly. Part of the reason is of course our own players doing well. Frankly speaking, if the tournament has any real weakness, it is you.
I was appalled to see the way you treated two Bangladeshi players in the post match awards ceremony on successive days. On Friday, after giving Lendl Simmons an award, you asked him to wait, apparently for collecting his man-of-the-match cheque, when the award actually went to Shakib Al Hasan.
I was ready to accept it as a human error. After all, we all do mistakes. In a normal scenario, we try to correct our mistake/s when the next opportunity presents itself. But after watching you again on Saturday, I am confused if your treatment to Shakib was a deliberate attempt.
When Tamim Iqbal came to collect his man of the match award, you told him, ‘Tamim: I can’t speak your language. What then? English?’ It was unbecoming of a man of your stature who has been involved in commentary for years.
I know many players are not comfortable with English and they prefer their own language on such occasions. There is no harm in it. But as a commentator, before taking the podium you should have known if they are comfortable in English or not. There is no set rule in this regard and it’s all about individual choice.
But it was your duty to do your homework and you get paid for this. Tamim Iqbal is one of the few cricketers in Bangladesh who speaks very good English. He has been playing international cricket for nearly a decade. You, being a commentator, following the Bangladesh team over many matches, should have known this. Or you should not have taken the microphone.
These are players who defied many odds to join the Pakistan Super League and they deserve some respect. If you cannot do this, please leave the commentary box and take up a seat in the gallery. Nobody in Bangladesh will then bother about you.
Daily New Age
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this letter are entirely of the author)
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