Dubai: A Dubai boy, 9, has been melting hearts with his TV commentary on Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches, taking place in the UAE.
Arjan Singh, who also has his own YouTube cricket channel, first went viral in 2018 when he was spotted by TV cameras crying as a key India-Afghanistan match ended in a tie in the Asia Cup in Dubai. Recently, seeing his natural talent, leading Indian news channel NDTV approached Arjan to comment on IPL 2020 matches, making him an immediate hit with cricket fans.
Arjan, a grade five student at GEMS Wellington Primary School in Dubai, can be seen on NDTV — and ‘Arjan’s Cricket Reviews’ channel on YouTube — sharing his analysis of the IPL matches and players, as well as his humour that leaves the show host and co-panellists smiling ear to ear. Earphones on, the young commentator, who is from the Indian capital New Delhi, is mostly spotted in the yellow T-shirt of his favourite IPL team, Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
What’s it like to be on TV?
“I will not deny it feels amazing to be on television. To know that hundreds and thousands of people may be watching me, is both a great feeling but also a big responsibility. I enjoy every session and take it as something normal. I have participated across media platforms, from YouTube to radio to live television to Instagram. It gives me an opportunity to share my feelings, thoughts and opinions and when I am doing so, it doesn’t really matter how many people are watching. It’s been fun and I hope it remains so ahead as well,” Arjan told Gulf News, crediting his communication skills to his schoolteachers.
Keeping it natural
Arjan — who likes maths at school, watching science and history shows, and discussing international politics, especially US elections with his dad — said he prepares somewhat for his TV commentary, but is mostly led by “true passion”. “It’s a mix of preparation and what comes natural to one self. When you have to discuss a match, one needs to prepare in terms of how each player has performed, look at prematch and post-match statistics and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the teams but once you are on live television, it is your natural self that comes out. It is the true passion you have for the team and the game which eventually reflects when you are live giving your response,” he added.
Of course, watching as many matches as possible also helps. “I watch as much my parents would allow. Jokes apart, I have watched quite a bit of the tournament this year especially CSK and Mumbai Indians’ matches. In terms of my favourite team, as I have said before, I love the concept of IPL and how every franchise has a Team India player making each one of them special. But if I have to pick one, it is surely Chennai Super Kings. They may have had a bad season but they remain the biggest team in the IPL. I also like Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.”
However, he is quick to name his favourite player — MS Dhoni, a former Indian international cricketer who has captained the Indian national team. “His achievements of winning … are well known, but what makes him stand out is how he plays on the field. He is extremely calm in all circumstances and knows how to keep his team one step ahead at all times. Like [cartoon character] Popeye gets his energy from spinach, Dhoni gets his mojo whenever his team is under pressure. When he is on the field, it is a different feeling for the spectators. You can trust him to win any match and when he does that, it feels awesome,” Arjan said.
When asked if he can see himself as a full-time professional cricket commentator when he grows up, Arjan said “one cannot predict the future”, adding that he would like to “set a strong educational base before I experiment with something like full time commentary. In the meanwhile, I am enjoying these small assignments and look forward to similar fun opportunities while balancing my studies along with it”. Although he is, “to be fair, too small to be certain what I want to study eight or nine years down the line, I think I would like to study engineering at [US university] MIT”.
Arjan started playing cricket when he was just two years old. He started following cricket on TV when he was four. Later, when he was seven, he took formal coaching and was represented by his school at an interschool Under-9 cricket tournament in 2019.