Cricket's Cursed Names

Goutham ChakravarthiCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka bowls during the ICC World Twenty20 Final between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Lord's on June 21, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

There are some peculiar cricket names that are generally mispronounced. Mostly, they happen to be those from the Indian sub-continent.

Let’s take a small tour of cricketing names from around the world.


G. McGrath

Now, the legend goes something like this: Experts/commentators and fans alike around the world went about getting the pronunciation of his name right the moment he announced himself to be a great bowling talent. People were going crazy chanting "MAGRAA...MAGRAA...MAGRAA!!!"

So what’s wrong, you might ask? Nothing wrong; in fact, well done! But I’d only want at least the experts of the cricketing world, as they are the ones calling the action on TV, to get the names of the Asian/African players sounding correctly from their vocal chords as well.

Let’s look at some of the famous cricket names and how they are commonly mis-pronounced, even by the players of their own era.





Sachin Tendulkar

It’s SUCH-IN and not SASH-IN, as a certain Tony Greig prefers it. And the "T" in Tendulkar takes the sound of "T" in Thomas, and not as the "T" in numerical "ten."


It’s not MEW-RA-LI-THA-RUN; it is MU-RA-LI-DA-RUN.



Stop calling him HAA-BAH-JAAN. If you thought it was only non-Indians calling him that, check out how L. Sivaramakrishnan voices his name next time in a match. It is HER-BHA-JAN.


This is an interesting name. We have Jacques kallis and Jacques Rudolph of South Africa. And then, there is Phil Jaques of Australia. While both the South Africans prefer JAAK for the pronunciation, the Aussie prefers to be called JAY-KS. And you thought this was difficult, but all the commentators tend to get the pronunciation right! There is another European alternate for this: YAA-KO-WAYS!


Let's revist McGrath. There’s the English all-rounder A. McGrath, who prefers MAG-RAATH (in rhyme with WRATH). Of course, we get the pronunciation right based on whether it is the Englishman or the Australian in action. Commentators easily go on “It’s MAGRAA to MAG-RAATH from the Pavilion end...”

And then there are names like Wasim (pronounced VA-SEEM and not VAA-SIM), Sehwag (pronounced SAY-WAAG and not SEE-VAG) that are commonly ill-voiced.

Well, most of the sub-continental and African last names face this ill treatment. We’ll see more on the Srilankan and African names in the posts to follow. Till then, try Mpumelelo MbhangwaEverton MotambanatzoNkala and Kalpage

I'm certain that you have many more such "cursed" names' examples. Would like you to share them here with the correct pronunciation as well? If not the experts, let us make an effort as say the names of the cricketers we like/dislike the way it was meant to be.