9 Sep 2013

Post # 28:Parents of school kids panic on inclusion of Wasim Akram in the English commentary team

(This post was written for "The Unreal Times" and was published on June 12, 2013)

Like a Rohit Sharma innings, every summer vacation comes to an end just when you start enjoying it the most. Even as school kids reluctantly drag themselves to school with the same enthusiasm that Munaf Patel exhibits while marking his run up, parents are grappling with a far bigger headache: Wasim Akram’s English commentary for the ongoing Champion’s Trophy and its pernicious effect on their children’s life-long struggle to gain mastery over the English language.

Worried mothers have shot off letters to the Star Cricket broadcasting team, raising grave concerns over the repercussions of Akram’s commentary on their children’s linguistic skills. Speaking to The UnReal Times, a disturbed father of one school kid from Delhi said, “Struggling to speak in English as opposed to Hinglish is one thing, now kids will ape Wasim as well, who commands great influence over impressionable Indians. After all, he has more fans in Mumbai than in all of Pakistan.”
He recounted an incident in which Akram, during commentary, meant to say that the youngsters in the Indian team should put their hands up and be counted but ended up saying “If I was in their place, I would say ‘Hands up’” instead. A teacher from one of Mumbai’s prestigious schools showed us the answer sheets of her students, with answers such as “3 orange” and “5 apple”. She said that the students insisted that it was correct usage since they have often heard the former fast bowler say, “Pakistan is playing with 4 fast bowler (sic)”. On condition of anonymity, a parent from Hyderabad said that his kids have started spelling “here” as “hair” and “there” as “their”, arguing that this is the way Wasim bhai pronounces it.
To compound matters, Wasim has also forayed into the world of mathematics with comments like “three overs to go, after this two” leading to deteriorating arithmetic skills in fourth-graders. A delegation of parents has already approached the channel bosses who have agreed to shift Wasim to the time-slot when children are studying or sleeping, much like the directive of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to broadcast the movie “The Dirty Picture” during the 11pm slot.  In the interim, they have said that they have no alternative but to lock their children in their bedrooms while Wasim is on air.  Kapil Dev’s post-match analysis in Hindi has ensured strict curfews as well, with children being put to sleep since Kapil always speaks in English when he is asked any questions in Hindi, the sources added.
Meanwhile, the sales of TV sets with “channel locks” have shot up to record levels, said a beaming TV dealer in Delhi.

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