Sport halt hurts commentators

Samiur Rahman | Published: 22:03, Jun 28,2020


A file photo shows two of Bangladesh’s most famous cricket commentators Athar Ali Khan (R) and Shamim Ashraf Chowdhury commentating during a match. — Twitter photo

Bangladeshi sports commentators are going through a rough time financially due to the sporting shutdown in the country and are fearing more hardships in the near future with resumption of sports still looking distant.

Commentating on sports hasn’t developed into a reliable profession in Bangladesh yet, but still a good number of people are engaged in this profession in the country, working for different television networks, Bangladesh Betar and other private FM stations.

Athar Ali Khan, the often lone Bangladeshi presence in the commentary box during the Tiger’s international tours and in ICC events, was expecting to spend a busy year but was now sitting idle at home as almost all of Bangladesh’s series were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.

The former Bangladesh opener said that he was not struggling money-wise but also said that every penny had its worth.

‘When you are professionally doing something, you aren’t doing it for free. So, yes I am suffering some setbacks as there is no incoming, only outgoing,’ Athar told New Age on Sunday.

Athar also revealed how many of his assignments got cancelled due to COVID-19 situation.

‘I had an agreement that I will be commentating in the ODI and the Test match in Pakistan; then in the Ireland series.

‘Normally what happens, after a series is scheduled then broadcasters align production team, commentators everything. So for the Australia and New Zealand series, I don’t know if I would have been taken aboard or not. But now there is no point in talking as series is postponed.’

Athar’s fellow cricket commentator Shamim Ashraf Chowdhury, who regularly commentated in home series and also worked as an expert analyst, revealed that his monthly income took a hit due to the pandemic.

‘I am financially very much effected as the series are getting postponed one after one. I used to receive a substantial amount from media engagements which has stopped coming. Everyone has devised their own lifestyle according to the income, so for me my income has fallen drastically.’

Popular radio and on-field commentator Kumar Kalyan was financially hit hard due to the absence of all sporting activities.

Kumar, who commentates professionally on a number of sports and runs a sports-based event management company, has left the capital and is currently staying at his hometown in Jessore.

‘After the government declared general holiday, I came to my hometown as there was no sporting activity. Luckily, the house-owner was a nice person and he has exempted the rent, so I don’t have to think about that.

‘I have a school-going daughter, her school’s authority has not asked for fees yet. Don’t know what is waiting for me in coming days.’

Radio commentator Jamilur Rahman said that he lost out on many engagements and was relying on the income from his job at a private firm to survive.

‘In Mujib year, were various sports events were planned and I had verbal assurance that I will do commentary in many of them. But as all the sporting activities are stopped, I also suffered some financial loss.’

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