Leena vows to pursue commentary as career

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At a time when the domestic structure of cricket in Pakistan is at its lowest, the international competition on the Pakistani soil is not possible courtesy the terror threat looming across the country. As a result, the cricket fanatics are slowly but surely transforming their interests to other sports and recreational activities, given the fact that the star young cricketers also are behind the bars after being convicted in a betting scam. But Leena Moin Aziz, a young commentator, is the one who is still optimist about the revival of cricket and media coverage in the country.
Leena, the first Asian female and perhaps the second in the world on the International scene, is committed to continue her cricket commentary as a profession in future. She has already earned worldwide fame as being a pioneer female in commentary and believed that there is no dearth of cricketing talent in Pakistan, but the commentators are not encouraged by sports channels, public sector organisations or the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Leena, 37, started cricket commentary about seven years ago for the PTV on the Pakistan-A versus Sri Lanka-A match at Faisalabad and earned a name in the cricket circle. After a successful experience she had a brief stint for Ten Sports at Rawalpindi when Bangladesh toured Pakistan in 2003. But the people with obvious vested interests discouraged her.
At 8, she saw her first live match – Pakistan versus its long-time rival India. A year later, the wilful Pakistani insisted successfully that her educational institution Islamabad College for Girls F-6/2 and FG College F-7/2, Islamabad introduced cricket into the sports curriculum. “I was very fanatic about sports and in particular my passion for cricket was soaring. Everyone called me ‘Captain’ for my love for cricket as I used to play this game with my male cousins,” she said, while recalling her old days in the federal capital. And now, she has taken her passion for the game to the nation, becoming Pakistan’s first-ever female sports commentator. “For seven years, I wrote over 200 freelance articles and did post-game analysis, but always in the back of my mind the dream I was pursuing was to commentate on an international match,” said the affable jeans-and-sneaker-clad young Leena, while talking to Pakistan Today at her residence in Sector F-8.
“All I have ever wanted was to be involved in the game and now over 50 matched including test, ODI and T-20 are on my credit,” she said.
“I am the first Asian woman commentator but vulnerably speaking future of commentary in Pakistan is bleak unless or until the high-ups of the quarter concerned do not pay attention to the issue before it’s too late,” Leena said, adding that professionals must be taken on board and the PCB should do something for maximum fixtures on the Pakistani soil. Leena regrettably said had she been doing this job in India or some other cricket playing nation, they could have been erected her billboards and encouragement to least. “In recent past, no international cricket rubber has been organised, but in the past whenever a home series started, I wrote a number of letters to the PCB high-ups, sports channels and political leadership to encourage local commentators for the series but none of them reacted seriously,” she stated melancholy.
When asked what the future of cricket commentary in Pakistan is, she replied, “It’s in the hands of those who either make it or break it.”
In our neighbouring country India, Harsha Bholgle, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar and Navjot Sidhu are established commentators, while new comers Shivarama Krishna, Arun Lal and Sourav Gaguly are encouraged by their cricket board and respective organisations; that’s why they emerged on the international cricket scene but here we just have Ramiz Raja who has earned name and fame. It’s just pathetic,” she said. “I like Iftikhar Ahmed, Ehtesham-ul-Haq, Chishii Mujahid and Ramiz Raja, while David Lloyd, also known as ‘Bumble’, is my all time favourite English commentator along with David Gower, Ian Chappell, Tony Greig, Nasir Hussain and Mike Atherton.” “Watching Ashes is my all-time best pastime,” she added. Talking about the prerequisite of a good commentator, Leena said she was surprised about the certain pattern set by the concerned high-ups that a former player could be a good commentator. “There are hundreds of notable commentators sitting in commentary box, who are not players but doing great,” she noted. “There are some good people holding the posts in PTV, Radio Pakistan and other private sports channels but majority of them are the leg pullers, who do not want this profession to flourish rather they are happy with young females of 18-20 years age bracket for their sinister motives but they hate to hire the services of professionals with in-depth knowledge,” Leena said, that adding the a private sports TV channel was also not encouraging, as they were biased and promoted only those belonging to Karachi. “These non-professionals, who don’t know anything about sports, not only ruin the organisation but also bring a bad name and damage the image of genuine professionals in the field,” Leena claimed.
Talking about her leisure time, Leena said she was busy in many projects but whenever she got some free time she spent it listening ghazals by Tina Sani, Jagjit Singh, Nayarra Noor, Lata and Kishore, while she liked Phill Collins in English music. When asked about any interest in politics, she said her family members had been staunch supporters of the PPP but they were no more so, while she was inclined towards the PTI. “I am of the opinion that as a woman commentator I should have been encouraged but I was wrong as I was discouraged at every level,” she said. Leena, however, is thankful to the Radio Pakistan and PTV for her comeback in the field. Leena is committed to work as a cricket commentator and analyst and has refused many lucrative job offers.
“Cricket is my first love and passion and I understand the technicalities of the games as well. I only need meritorious backing”, she concluded.

11 COMMENTS

  1. We r all proud of u….and pray with all oir heart that u see the ladder of success to the utmost….love ya

  2. I feel sorry that in our country such exceptional talent of yours,still hasnt got the recognition it deserved.We r a coutry with slow reflexes,hopefully we'll wake from our slumber and give u the meritorious backing which u deserve.Untill then best of luck!

  3. feel proud on u !!!!!!!!! LEENA !!!! u did great n inshallah u got a place in ur field !!!!

  4. I am 82 yrs old watching, listening and reading Pakistan and world cricket from UK for
    60 years. Totay I saw Leena first time on Tonight with FAHD discussing reasons for Pakistani defeat in the T20 world cup semi-final. I must say I was very pleased to see her comments and have no hessitation in saying that I find her the most knowlegeable
    Pakistani cricket commentator. And strongly feel this young lady should be sitting at the most influential spots of Pakistani cricket. Listening to John Arlott 's commentary on BBC was music to my ears for many years and reading his match reports in The Guardian the following day was a source of great pleasure to me. Leena darling you have similar traits God bless.

  5. i am an english cricket commmentator .dear how i can become madia commentator in pakistan
    shafeeq hussain frm swabi

  6. I am so proud of you, have seen you many times in Local Cinema as a movie goer but was not aware of your talents,after reading about you here, i got so much inspired from you ,kindly tell me what should i do to become a cricket analysis i am in love with cricket and computers and this passion drives me crazy but as usual same old story lack finance to pursue my dreams kindly guide me with the right pathway for this field will love to hear your advice.God bless u……….

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