Waseem Khan And Sami Barni Brought A Whiff Of Fresh Air Into Pakistani Cricket Transmission
PTV Sports was launched with quite lofty expectations. It was hoped that it would usher in a whole new era of sports broadcasting in the country. Unfortunately, it lost its track very quickly as it fell into somewhat incompetent hands.
People installed at the helm of running the channel have drawn in sustained criticism for their handling of the channel since its inception. By the time Chairman PCB Najam Sethi awarded broadcasting rights to PTV Sports in 2015, it had almost entirely lost its popularity as people’s go-to place for sports coverage. Although Sethi urged PTV Sports authorities to improve their production quality, his advice fell on deaf ears as PTV bosses declined to budge from their outdated methods.
Recently Australian cricket journalist Dennis Freedman shared an old commentary clip from PTV Sports where a commentator is describing a spectacular catch in a quite (intentionally) humorous manner. Poor selection of crew and commentators ruined the coverage of the channel but regrettably, there was no one to take notice of the situation. Pakistan Cricket Board decided to start their own production after they realised that PTV Sports was not likely to improve, which would result in further dwindling of an already-low viewership of domestic matches
They had a plan, putting which into action certainly took its time. However, things stand in a much better situation today.
Waseem Khan was appointed to oversee affairs at PCB and this decision turned out to be a whiff of morning breeze for cricket followers who wanted HD quality production of Pakistan domestic tournaments. The icing on the cake in this regard was the inclusion of Samiul Hassan Barni in PCB as its media director. The duo took up the challenge of revolutionising the media department, including the coverage of various cricket tournaments, both national and international in the country. Mr Barni, well-educated, well-spoken and a man of integrity, was more than keen on modernising cricket coverage in Pakistan. Thus, the domestic season of 2020-21 ushered in a new era with the introduction of HD cameras and top-quality production.
Very wisely, PTV Sports was excluded from production as they neither have HD cameras nor the capacity to telecast top quality images. The blame for this lies squarely on PTV management’s shoulders as they have been calling the shots for nearly a decade now with no improvements whatsoever. Realising the lack of potential at PTV Sports, PCB decided to broadcast matches live on their YouTube channel. This increased the public interest manifold and the viewership of even domestic cricket skyrocketed overnight. On top of it all, the transmission was ads-free. They also introduced a panel of more professional and informed commentators, who are well aware that commentary makes half of the production.
One of the biggest achievements of this revamped mode of transmission was the production of the test series between Pakistan and South Africa. The coverage of the series was truly world-class and that too without any glitch or scar. The advancement in the quality of transmission is truly massive, as until only a few years ago, anyone would have classified it as the object of dreams.
In the end, I would like to say that if PTV Sports management feels left out and let down, they have only got themselves to blame. Barni, Waseem and their teams simply did what was in accordance with the aspirations of Pakistani cricket supporters.