THE TIMING could not have been better for Kass Naidoo to mark 20 years in broadcasting with a call-up to the ICC’s panel of commentators and lend her voice to the Men's Cricket World Cup that began in India on Thursday.
She had the opportunity to describe the action from behind the mic when defending champions England took on the 2019 runners-up New Zealand in the opening match played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad.
New Zealand ended as easy nine-wicket winners.
“Joining the ICC's panel of commentators for this tournament is undoubtedly one of the highest honours of my career. It is a dream come true and fitting way to mark my 20th year in cricket broadcasting,” Naidoo said.
At this stage, the ICC has made commentary appointments for the group stage fixtures only and Naidoo will get to share her thoughts in 16 matches.
That included doing duty in the Proteas emphatic win against Sri Lanka, yesterday.
“I'll be embarking on an extensive journey, immersing myself in the rich cricket culture across different cities and states in India.
“It's a whirlwind adventure that I'm eagerly anticipating.
“I'll be travelling to cities including Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, and Dharamshala,” she said.
Her quest to commentate began when she was 14-years old.
“I heard West Indian Donna Simmonds commentate on men’s international cricket for the first time. It inspired me to dream about becoming the first woman cricket commentator in South Africa. I achieved that dream in my twenties, debuting for SABC on the 2003 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and going on to host four World Cups for the public broadcaster.”
Since January 2022, Naidoo featured in two ICC Women’s World Cups.
Keeping abreast of all the on and off-field cricket happenings, statistics and stories swirling on media platforms are an intrinsic part of Naidoo readying herself to be razor-sharp for commentary duty.
“Preparation is paramount. Whether I'm in the commentary booth or immersed in the game, I'm committed to staying current with statistics, player form, and the latest cricket developments.
“It's a meticulous process.”
Naidoo welcomed the unwavering supply of information from the official ICC statisticians.
The games that she looked forward to in the group stages was South Africa’s encounter with Australia in Lucknow on Thursday, and the Proteas duel with Pakistan in Chennai on October 27.
“These promise to be intense and captivating encounters.”
Naidoo said it was always a deeply meaningful experience for her to cover Protea matches, given her profound connection to the team.
Each time she commentates on South African games, Naidoo said: “It can be an emotionally charged experience.
“Striking a balance between professional objectivity and my love for the team can be a challenge, but it's precisely what makes cricket commentary so dynamic and rewarding.”
While Naidoo appreciated the ring-side seat to the cricket action at the highest level, she said being away from her family was never easy, but their unwavering support is what fuelled her.
“We maintain regular communication, and knowing they're cheering me on from afar gives me the strength to give my all on the mic.
“I must acknowledge my husband, Ryk Meiring, whose continuous encouragement and support enable me to focus on the task at hand and give it my best.”
Once Naidoo’s commentary conquests are over she looks forward to “quality time with my family”.
“That is the ultimate recharge for me. There's nothing quite like being with them, savouring the simple joys of life. And, of course, being in the kitchen and whipping up tasty meals is what I miss most.”