One of the most recognisable voices in Bangladesh radio and in its sporting arena, Chowdhury Jafarullah Sharafat has had a long and storied career as a commentator.
Loved by many, and scoffed at by some, he has often been a divisive figure among the public but it has been hard to ignore his voice and his contribution to sports in Bangladesh.
He spoke in-depth in a live video about his career highlights, how he started and how he's helping those financially affected by Covid-19.
"Nowadays there are a lot of people who do cricket commentary. But there was a time when probably two or three people used to do cricket commentary. I was one of them. I called the match where Bangladesh beat Kenya to become the ICC Trophy champions in 1997. I may not be a top-notch commentator but I was one of them who let people know about Bangladesh's achievements in cricket through radio. It is extremely disappointing that very few people acknowledge the contribution of the radio commentators who took the listeners through the journey of so many memorable matches. I would like to request our Prime Minister to look into that matter and give the commentators some kind of recognition."
Sharafat spoke about how he began his commentary and how football was the dominant sport in the country when he started.
"When I started my career as a commentator, football was the most popular sport in Bangladesh. The infrastructure was very good. There were regional football leagues all over the country and so many star footballers came through the ranks from these tournaments. But sadly at present, football in Bangladesh is heading towards the pangs of death. I don't think the exposure of cricket has anything to do with that. It's completely because of the failure of the organisers and the people who are running football in Bangladesh."
The veteran who has been commentating for close to four decades explained the challenges he faced as a commentator early on in his career.
"I have been commentating since 1982. I was a teenager back then. We used to face so many difficulties while commentating. We used to commentate sitting at the sidelines of Bangabandhu Stadium. There was no shed and we had to literally sweat under the sun. I hardly got time to take a nap as I had to travel across the country to commentate on league matches in different parts of the country. I have commentated in as many as 14 ICC events on the trot and I don't think any other commentator in the world has done so. I have announced the results of so many memorable matches and I have a dream that one day I will be able to see Bangladesh winning the World Cup."
The Bangladesh cricket team won their first international trophy, the ICC Trophy back in 1997 in Malaysia and Sharafat was the one commentating in the tournament - a tournament that remains a highlight in his career.
"I reached Kuala Lumpur a day before Bangladesh's opening game in the 1997 ICC Trophy. I landed in the evening. I found the T&T operator absent. Then I procured his address and rushed to his house. He told me that he did not know how to transmit the radio signals over the phone. Then I myself did what needed to be done. There was no commentary box in Malaysia. We had to make a makeshift one and we even used to sit on broken chairs. That's how difficult life was for us commentators."
He recalled one of the most dramatic matches Bangladesh won in the quarterfinal in that tournament, a rain-affected game against The Netherlands.
"I can clearly remember what happened in the quarterfinal of the 1997 ICC Trophy. Bangladesh had to win against Holland to stay in the competition. Bangladesh were in all sorts of trouble when rain interrupted play. When it stopped, the ground was flooded with water. I could not hold myself in the commentary box and joined the groundsmen in the drainage activity. All the players, commentators and organisers helped them sweep the water. I even used my shirt in the process. I forgot my identity as a commentator and behaved like a fan as I wanted Bangladesh to win like everyone."
Now with the country suffering financially from the Covid-19 pandemic, Sharafat has stepped up to help families that are in need.
"I have been helping distressed people during the Coronavirus crisis through my 'CJS Foundation' in association with the Bangladesh Sports Commentators Association. My door is wide open for everyone. Whoever needs any help can come to me. I don't really like to make these things public but I want vulnerable people to know that they can get financial help from me."
A man who many views as an icon, a celebrity, and a figure that divides opinion, Sharafat reveals that he is just another human being. He is willing to accept the criticism that comes his way but he remains humble and looks forward to continuing his love affair with commentary for many more years to come.