Charvi Bhatt: A Pioneering Voice that Brings Sports to Life

10 minutes
Image : Charvi scaled

In the realm of sports, the cheers of the crowd, the moves of athletes, and the thrill the competition brings are all essential parts of the viewing experience. But what enhances the beauty of these games and amalgamates these elements is the voice of the commentator.

Charvi Bhatt is among those renowned voices for all the ardent sports followers in the UAE.

In 2016, Charvi’s voyage into cricket commentary began as a blessing. At the time, she was working as a coach for a cricket academy when an opportunity arose. A radio station broadcasting the IPL was seeking a fresh perspective and was keen to bring in a female voice. Charvi was sent for an audition, where she was given the chance to commentate for an over. Her performance impressed the station, and the rest as they say is history.

Charvi’s true inspiration to continue in commentary was driven by her love for the game and her desire to give back to cricket. She aimed to set a benchmark, demonstrating that women can achieve anything they wish. Once considered a gentlemen’s game, cricket has evolved into “Everyone’s Game,” a transformation to which Charvi Bhatt has significantly contributed.

Advocating Gender Equality

Charvi acknowledges the importance of social media and its rising influence on the younger generation. Through social media, she aims to inspire young women to not only embrace the game of cricket but to also ensure that they embrace sports as a career as it is a worthy venture that has the potentiality to yield success.

Coming from a slightly influential position, and also being somewhat recognized in the region, she often makes use of the broadcasting platform to promote gender equality. For instance, cricket ground curators who prepare the pitch in many tournaments are women, and not many know who is behind preparing such state-of-the-art facilities. In golf, many women are now grass experts who prepare the course. Their efforts go unnoticed and hence, Charvi finds it important to mention such achievements of women by using the available broadcasting platforms.

Charvi believes one of the biggest challenges for women in her field is gaining acceptance. She emphasizes that women can broadcast just as well as men, and in some situations, even better.

Below are the major challenges according to her:

  1. Cultural and Societal Norms: Traditional gender roles and societal expectations can limit opportunities for women in sports broadcasting, as sports is often perceived as a male-dominated field.
  2. Limited Representation: There is a noticeable lack of female role models in sports broadcasting in the UAE, which can discourage young women from pursuing careers in this area.
  3. Stereotyping and Bias: Women in sports broadcasting may face stereotypes and biases, questioning their knowledge and expertise compared to their male counterparts.
  4. Work-Life Balance: The demanding nature of broadcasting, with irregular hours and extensive travel, can make it challenging for women, especially those with family responsibilities.
  5. Access to Training and Development: There may be fewer opportunities for women to receive the necessary training and mentorship in sports broadcasting.

She suggests following strategies to overcome these challenges

  1. Promoting Gender Diversity and Inclusion: Media organizations and sports networks should actively promote gender diversity by hiring and supporting more women in sports broadcasting roles. This can be achieved through diversity policies and inclusive hiring practices.
  2. Education and Training Programs: Establishing dedicated training and development programs for women interested in sports broadcasting can help them acquire the necessary skills and confidence. Partnerships with universities and media institutions can be beneficial.
  3. Mentorship and Networking Opportunities: Creating mentorship programs where aspiring female broadcasters can learn from experienced professionals can provide guidance and support. Networking events and industry forums specifically for women can also help build connections and share experiences.
  4. Challenging Stereotypes: Media campaigns and public awareness initiatives can challenge stereotypes and highlight the achievements of women in sports broadcasting. Showcasing successful female sports commentators and journalists can inspire others.
  5. Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible hours, can help women balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.
  6. Creating Safe Work Environments: Ensuring a safe and supportive work environment free from harassment and discrimination is crucial. Clear policies and reporting mechanisms should be in place to address any issues that arise.
  7. Government and Organizational Support: Government initiatives and support from sports organizations can play a significant role in promoting gender equality in sports broadcasting. Grants, scholarships, and awards for women in this field can encourage more participation.

Feathers in Her Cap

The moment Charvi and Muttiah Muralidharan shared on the air during the World Cup 2023 final has been one of the highlights of her career. Her ability to call the game off the television while making sure she got the fielding placements and cricket terminology perfect impressed Muralidharan. He said, “I’m very impressed by her, not many women do radio commentary…because radio is hard; she is aware of the technical cricketing terms.”

Uplifting the Upcoming Generations

Charvi envisions to see more women in sports broadcasting and cricket commentary in the Middle East and abroad. She also hopes to see them challenge gender stereotypes and advance professionally. Charvi sees this as a well-balanced sector in which women are just as common and powerful as men, and where they have access to extensive training programs that give them the confidence and abilities they need. Her goal is to mentor and uplift the next generation by creating a community of support via networking events and mentorship. In her opinion, encouraging young girls and women to pursue jobs in sports media by showcasing and applauding their accomplishments will make the profession more diverse and inclusive.

Working together with academic institutions and forming industry alliances will be essential to achieving these objectives. She highlights the necessity of creating internship and job placement programs specifically for women, as well as specialized courses. Recognition and awards programs will honor the services and accomplishments of women in sports broadcasting, while advocacy and awareness initiatives will assist highlight the value of gender diversity and dispel preconceived notions. Moreover, setting up forums, gatherings, and online communities will help women in sports media create a network of support. These tactics can be used to establish an inclusive media environment where success is mostly determined by skill and hard work, regardless of gender.

Approaching Sports with a Unique Lens

 Charvi’s approach to sports broadcasting and analysis is greatly influenced by her academic background and teaching experience, which have given her a strong foundation in research, communication, and audience engagement. She has excellent research abilities from her academic studies that enable her to delve thoroughly into the sports she covers, guaranteeing her analysis is comprehensive and perceptive. It’s essential to comprehend the tactics, statistics, and background of each game or match in order to provide in-depth commentary that appeals to both casual viewers and ardent supporters. This breadth of expertise enables Charvi to add a complex viewpoint to her broadcasts, enhancing the audience’s experience.

Her ability to clearly and compellingly communicate complicated ideas has been further refined via her work as a university professor. She has developed the ability to simplify complex ideas in the classroom so that a wide range of learners can find them engaging. This ability is directly applicable to sports broadcasting, as it is crucial to communicate the subtleties of the game in a way that is understandable to all viewers. Charvi’s background in education has further highlighted the value of flexibility and ongoing learning. It’s critical to keep up with the most recent trends, advancements, and innovations in the fast-paced world of sports media.

Charvi’s background in teaching has equipped her with the flexibility to quickly adapt to new information and changing circumstances, ensuring that her commentary remains relevant and insightful.

Additionally, Charvi’s teaching experience has taught her the importance of connecting with the audience. Just as she strives to engage her students and make learning enjoyable, she aims to make sports commentary exciting and relatable for viewers. This involves not only sharing knowledge but also telling stories, highlighting personal anecdotes, and bringing out the human side of sports. By combining the analytical rigor from her academic background with the communication skills honed through teaching, Charvis creates a well-rounded and compelling broadcast that captures the essence of the sport and keeps the audience engaged.

Incorporating Authenticity in Education

Charvi’s aim in her lectures is to not sugar coat anything that she shares, the content she delivers is as real as it can be. She believes teaching business & sport is an enriching experience, sport is life and being able to share the life lessons and experiences with the students which perhaps would help them make better decisions in their own lives is inspirational in its own ways.

Active learning, industry visits, case studies, experiential learning, and encouraging critical thinking are some strategies that Charvi actively uses during her lectures. The nature of all the jobs have changed over the course of time. Organizations now require versatile personalities who are industry ready, and can adapt to the dynamic business environments quickly and hence she believes in incorporating such strategies that enhance the learning experiences of new age students.

One of the profoundly rewarding experience for Charvi was to supervise over 30 MBA dissertation students. This experience has significantly deepened her understanding of student needs and enhanced her mentorship abilities. This journey has improved her skills in providing tailored guidance, recognizing that each student has unique research interests and learning styles, which has enabled Charvi to offer more targeted and effective support.

Charvi’s academic viewpoint has been widened by working with a diverse set of students on a variety of sports management and business themes. It has also kept abreast of new trends and research areas, enhancing her expertise and instructional materials. Helping students with their dissertations has strengthened the value of strict research procedures and academic integrity, fostering their growth as competent researchers and critical thinkers. In addition to fostering enduring professional relationships with her students—many of whom have gone on to have prosperous careers in the sports industry—Charvi’s supervising job has also allowed her to forge mutually advantageous professional contacts. According to Charvi, it has been very satisfying to watch students finish their dissertations and reach their academic and professional objectives.

Helping Individuals Thrive in a Changing Landscape

Charvi desires to make scholarly contributions and to positively influence students in the Middle East and elsewhere. Her objective is to perform outstanding research on the unique opportunities and issues found in the fields of business and sports management, particularly with regard to the Middle East, in order to make a significant contribution to the academic community. She will collaborate with professionals in the field, publish in reputable publications, and give talks at international conferences to ensure that her work is rigorously scholarly and has real-world applications. She also hopes to develop innovative curricula that give kids the tools they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving environment.

Charvi aims to close the knowledge gap between theory and practice by including practical learning opportunities like internships, field trips, and industrial projects. This will provide students with the abilities and self-assurance they need to thrive in the workplace. One of Charvi’s key objectives is still mentoring. She wants to use individualized support and involvement to help students become inspired and guided while encouraging a culture of critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong learning. Her ultimate goal is to enable students to take the lead and effect change in their areas, so improving the socioeconomic conditions in their communities and beyond. Charvi aspires to cultivate a new generation of knowledgeable, competent, and moral professionals by making a significant and long-lasting contribution to the academic and professional spheres.

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