When It Is About Sports, Jatin Sapru Is One Of The Most Loved Hosts
“Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up”
Jatin Sapru lives by this quote and his life shows that he has worked to be that champion. India’s love for cricket is as incomprehensible as its feverish intensity. One can find kids playing cricket in every locality and aspires to be a cricketer. Most of us who follows watching cricket knows this incredible sports speaker. Jatin Sapru is seen as a presenter for most of the international cricket matches and will now be hosting the Indian Premier League (IPL). He is often seen in the cricket commentary box and has even presented the London 2012 Olympic Games, ESPN’s Sportscenter and the F.A.Cup. Jatin Sapru shares some experiences and piece of advice with BananiVista. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
BV: An engineering student to one of the most popular Sports Presenters! What was that one incident that made you change the track? Was it difficult convincing your parents?
Jatin: There wasn’t any one incident in particular. I was always inclined towards professions related to media (Journalism, Psephology, Advertising). Our parents come from a generation where success was limited to a few set professions – engineers, doctors, bureaucrats. They were accustomed to the safety-first approach. So while my mother was always by my side, it was tough to convince my dad at first. I didn’t have marks good enough to crack a good college for English Hons. even after I jumped out of engineering. I then cleared my journalism entrance and started to enjoy what I studied. From being a poor performer in my engineering exams, I was suddenly a class topper. I enjoyed everything I was studying, my confidence was back and steadily I had dad on my side too.
BV: Your life before being an anchor!
Jatin: I never planned to be an anchor. I latched onto every opportunity I got to work, right from the second year of college. From working for a Food & Beverage print publication to being a production assistant at a start-up news channel to being an event coordinator – I enjoyed and learned from them all. I once even distributed pamphlets in a parking lot to earn money quickly. I tried to apply for a few big ticket news channels but nothing worked as I literally had no contacts in that field. Then came an opportunity to work for a platform which was to produce digital sports content for mobile service providers and that was my first paid job. I was not afraid to experiment. And all these roles have shaped up my career.
And that is what I tell all those who ask me ‘How do I become a Cricket Presenter’? There is no set formula and you need to take smaller steps. Maybe get into a local print publication, a small news channel or a digital startup. Also, learn how content is written and produced and experience the technical aspects of a broadcast. Just don’t sit at home thinking of yourself on T.V. I was never fascinated with myself becoming famous or to be on television. Though I have worked for a sports channel for ten years, I was just a reporter for the first six. Good things happen to those who wait. I am just happy to be around sports and make a living out of it.
BV: You address yourself as #ThatCricketGuy; what is the reason behind this?
Jatin: If anyone recognizes me and does not remember the name (which happens a lot) I usually hear them go – Oye, he’s that cricket guy na! So instead of being upset at them not knowing my name, I spun it around to make it my hashtag.
BV: Please tell our readers something about Dream Job Season 2 and how it changed your life!
Jatin: I will share two secrets regarding my experience at that reality show.
1) I was not going to apply for Dream Job but was forced by one of my dearest friends and colleagues in the field to do so. Funnily, the first city auditions were in Delhi and I was the first contestant to get selected for the next round.
2) I met my now wife at those auditions. Lara made it to the top 18 too. She is one of the craziest sports fans I have come across. She plays cricket for a club in the U.K and she keeps me grounded.
So, it was Dream Job + Dream Girl.
BV: What are the biggest challenges in your job as a Sports Presenter?
Jatin: Lots! But it will be boring without challenges. Live TV always throws up googlies. From content to technical aspects, you are always on the edge. We do not use teleprompters or have time to rehearse shows. It’s all on the go so prep is very important. I work with some incredibly talented producers who are the unsung heroes of any broadcast. Besides this, long hours, extremely hectic travel schedules, etc add to the challenges.
BV: What do you think of sports during the earlier days of your life?
Jatin: I was a chubby kid. So sports was my inlet into getting fitter. I took up cricket like almost everyone else in our times. But my heavier built was also advantageous in sports like shot put, javelin and discus throw. I captained my school team into Delhi zonal and then later played at the university level. But I didn’t get enough support to carry on beyond that. But I always say – Life is best learned through sports.
BV: You must have faced criticism at some points of time in your career! How do you handle it?
Jatin: Every now and then it’s important to have a reality check, it’s important to fail. Such moments teach you a lot. I hate watching my own recorded shows because I am constantly criticising my own presentation. There is always room for improvement. I take note of constructive criticism, discuss it with people who understand what I do and then take corrective measures.
BV: A message for our readers!
Jatin: Be ambitious but also practical. There are no shortcuts, there is no one formula to be successful. Whatever you do, give your best shot!
Ending the interview with a Rapid Fire about cricketers for our readers! Only someone who is around them can answer these.
Funniest one at parties – Nehra ji
The silent one – Zaheer Khan
The most sophisticated – Rahul Dravid
Biggest prankster – Shoaib Akhtar
The one whom you enjoy interviewing the most – Virat Kohli
The wittiest – Virender Sehwag
Hardest to decipher – MS Dhoni
The entertainer – Yuzi Chahal, Hardik Pandya
The laziest one off the field – Yuvraj Singh
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