Hyderabad-based Srinivas and Radhika Reddy make a mark with Telugu commentary for Pro Kabaddi League Season 9
Telugu commentary for sports is gradually gaining ground, especially on television. But, how often do we see a married couple commentating? Meet L Srinivas and Radhika Reddy — both former kabaddi players — who are winning hearts with their Telugu commentary for Season 9 Vivo Pro Kabaddi League (PKL).
Radhika started her PKL commentary in 2015 and has analysed more than 320 matches. Srinivas, as a kabaddi player-turned-coach, began his commentary with season 8 in 2021. Srinivas calls his wife a mentor as she shared many tips on the art of commentary, They are both expert commentators for Season 9 of PKL, talking about the positives and negatives of a 40-minute match. As PKL norms dictate that one show cannot have two experts, both Radhika and Srinivas are not together in the commentary box. The regional commentary happens live from the stadium and the duo operate mostly from the studio in Mumbai.
As he digs out new Telugu words for the semi-final on December 15, Srinivas, a former India and Pro kabaddi team coach says over a video call, “I never imagined that I would be on the other side speaking about my favourite game. I am enjoying my game more right now.”
The regional commentary happens live from the stadium and majorly from the studio in Mumbai. “I never imagined that I would be on the other side speaking about my favourite game,” says Srinivas over a video call. Calling his wife, a mentor, who shared many tips on the art of commentary, he adds with a smile, “I am enjoying my game more right now.”
Unlike the lead commentator, who leads the show, Srinivas and Radhika are expert commentators talking about the positives and and negatives of a 40-minute match. As per PKL norms, two experts cannot be in one show hence both are not seen together in a commentary box.
Srinivas laughs recalling his first attempt at commentary. “I was so nervous that my legs and hands were trembling during the rehearsals; I could hardly utter a word.” However, the 45-year-old took it up as a challenge. With the advantage of knowing multiple languages, he listened to regional broadcasts in Hindi and Tamil and compared them with commentaries in English, to get familiar with the sports terminology, and went on to create his own style.
His background as a coach helps Srinivas understand the players. Narrating their personal stories has been a high point of his commentary. The story of Deepak Niwas Hooda of Bengal Warriors is one such story that struck a chord with viewers. “Deepak comes from a poor family. His father passed away when he was a child. . He struggled a lot to come to this level and now he is married to Saweety Bora, a gold medalist in boxing. Their stories are truly inspirational.”
Besides kabaddi, Radhika also does commentary on badminton, kho kho and various sporting events. One of the things that she has worked on is controlling her emotions. Workshops at Star Sports helped her work on her tone and language and laid the foundation of her career as a commentator. “If you have been a player, it is natural to react to another player’s move and say, “ Emi aadutunnadu (how well he is playing), or you might be tempted to use a few cuss words too. It is a proud moment to arrive at this platform but every day is a learning experience, we look confident but we do feel nervous before the commentary begins.”
Citing an example of how the duo’s perspectives differ, Radhika says, “He might find fault with the defensive skill of the player but I focus on the smartness of a raider (who goes to the opponent’s court), who has analysed the move, escaped and got points.”
Finally, do they discuss their commentary at home? “He keeps himself busy, so there is commentary happening between me and my teenaged daughter,” Radhika laughs.