'Jasdev Singh was Mohammad Rafi of Hindi commentary"
New Delhi, May 2, 2022
Former India cricket captain Kapil Dev feels that "the images of sportspersons are often built on their description by the commentators".
"Sometimes, we players sit back and even wonder if we are as good as projected by them," he said.
"We owe a lot to the TV commentators of that era who made the game so popular and made us stars," Kapil said while launching the autobiography of Hindi sports commentator, late Jasdev Singh, titled “On The Wings of Radio Waves – A Broadcaster’ Journey”.
The book is the English version of the autobiography in Hindi, “Main Jasdev Singh Bol Raha Hoon”, compiled, edited and transcribed by his son Gurdev Singh.
"Most of us owe it to late Jasdev Singh who with his Hindi commentary on radio and later on television took the sports to the remotest corners of the country and in the process made us household names," he said.
Kapil disclosed that he became G. R. Viswanath's fan after listening to radio commentary about the batting great’s exploits even before witnessing him ply his trade with his own eyes.
“Viswanath was my childhood cricket idol and his image was projected by the commentary I heard on the radio. It was several years before I saw him bat with my own eyes,” he added.
“It was listening to the running commentary in radio that I built the image of Viswanath in my mind. Taking clues from the way the commentators used to describe his personality and his batting made him the biggest player in world cricket for me,” Kapil said.
“Just like me, hundreds of youngsters began idolising sportsmen even before television pictures brought sport direct to their home.”
Speaking on the occasion, veteran commentator Narottam Puri described Jasdev Singh as a broadcaster. "Calling Jasdev a commentator will be an injustice. He was a broadcaster who gave a new dimension to Hindi broadcasting in the country," he said.
Another seasoned commentator Anupam Ghulati, who shared the mike with Jasdev Singh for over three decades said, "His command over language was simply awesome and his choice of words to describe the trickiest situation on the field was unmatched.
“He was God's gift to Indian Hindi commentary," he added.
Well-known journalist Vinod Sharma described Jasdev Singh as "Mohammad Rafi of his art".
"His language was what Mahatma Gandhi called Hindustani and his diction, choice of words was a study in the etiquette of communication," he said.
Olympian Aslam Sher Khan disclosed that Jasdev Singh did commentary on his marriage. “He was just phenomenal. I was amazed at his versatility," he said.
"Jasdev played a major role in popularizing hockey with his mellifous voice," Aslam added and former captain Zafar Iqbal agreed with that assessment.