The grunt of a bowler’s supply, the shuffle of the batsman’s ft and the crunch of willow placing leather-based.
These sounds – which regularly go unnoticed by cricket followers – are all which might be wanted for commentator Dean du Plessis to relay what is going on to his viewers.
The 44-year-old Zimbabwean, who was born with tumours behind each retinas, is the first visually impaired commentator to cover international cricket.
“Commentating by sound is nothing spectacular,” he modestly says.
“I have a feed from the stump microphone, no other technology, and just listen very, very carefully; as much as sighted people pay close attention to what they’re seeing, that’s what I do.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, Du Plessis explains the origins of his love for cricket, his journey into the commentary field and the strategies he makes use of when calling the motion.
Falling in love via the sound of cricket
Du Plessis is true cricket aficionado, whose commentary is commonly complemented with probably the most obscure statistics from years passed by.
But he was not at all times a fan of the game.
“My brother Gary was a very, very good cricketer but I didn’t understand the game when I was young,” he says.
“Nobody really took time out to explain cricket to me and I actually hated and loathed that with a passion.”
Born in Harare, Du Plessis later went to examine at boarding faculty in South Africa which is the place his attachment to cricket first surfaced.
In 1991, South Africa travelled to India in what was their readmission to international cricket with the nation’s apartheid regime coming to an finish.
“I was listening to the third match of the series on Radio 2000, South Africa’s equivalent to Test Match Special,” Du Plessis says.
“All I heard was noise, that’s all I can describe, it was just a sound of about 60 or 70,000 Indian fanatics cheering and also continuously letting off fireworks.
“And vaguely via the noise of cheering and fireworks far-off, you would hear a commentator making an attempt to let you know what was occurring and I did not perceive what he was saying.
“It was something like ‘in comes Donald to Tendulkar, through square leg, past the umpire, down to backward square leg, the fielder picks up and they run through for a single’.
“I knew little bits about cricket however I did not learn about backward sq. leg and issues like that.
“But I started to listen and really enjoy it. I don’t know why because I didn’t understand what they were saying, but every time it went for four or a six, I could feel the excitement building.”
Phoning cricket stars and ‘being a pest’
As Du Plessis’ affection for the sport grew, he set off on a mission to attain out to his new-found heroes.
While the fashionable sports activities fan might direct message Ben Stokes or tag Jofra Archer, Du Plessis would fairly merely seek for Zimbabwe cricketers within the native phone listing.
“I would then have their number and phone using a call box from school, hoping my money wouldn’t run out and just wanting to talk cricket with these players,” he says.
“I was a real pest and the main poor victim was bowler Eddo Brandes, he was a chicken farmer and sometimes I would call him after I had finished school at 8pm and he had to literally be up with the chickens at three or four o’clock in the morning.
“He’d be a bit grumpy at first however as soon as he was up and awake he was very, very keen to chat. I additionally used to telephone Alastair Campbell who was very variety to me as had been each the Flower brothers, Grant and Andy.”
But it was former Zimbabwe batsman David Houghton – now head coach at Derbyshire – who Du Plessis really struck up a friendship with.
“Dave was only a fountain of information, however what I actually recognize was he did not simply reply my questions however he would ask all about me too,” provides Du Plessis.
“Once my cash was about to run out and he requested for my quantity to name me again, and we spoke for a very good 20 minutes.”
From fan to commentator
Having finished his studies, Du Plessis returned to Zimbabwe with a network of superstar cricket friends.
“It was the cricketers – the Flower brothers, Houghton, Campbell, Brandes – that made me really feel very, very welcome and would invite me to come watch them play,” he says.
Du Plessis soon became a regular at national grounds and, having been given the freedom to walk around the media centres, was rubbing shoulders with broadcasters and cricket press.
During an international triangular series between Zimbabwe, India and West Indies in 2001, he was invited to join journalist Neil Manthorp, who was on old school friend, and former India batsman Ravi Shastri for a 15 minute chat on the Cricinfo website’s online radio broadcast.
Du Plessis’ knowledge and enthusiasm impressed both the broadcast team and those back at headquarters.
“It was meant to simply be a brief dialog on my enjoyment of cricket however Neil obtained an e-mail from the workplace midway via,” he says.
“The producers wished to maintain me on for the total half-hour and ensure I used to be part of the remainder of the sequence.
“And that’s pretty much how my commentary started. I then got my first television gig two years.”
How does he do it?
Du Plessis is commonly requested how he manages to determine what is going on on the sector.
“Well, I don’t have any extra technology or extra stump mic or anybody telling me what’s going on,” he solutions.
“I can tell you who the different bowlers are by the way they approach the crease.
“With Stuart Broad, for instance, there is a little bit of a dragging sound because the ball is delivered he offers an explosive grunt as he will get to the wicket.
“Some approach the crease very quietly, like Freddie Flintoff who hardly made a sound, whereas Shane Warne, as a leg-spinner, had a huge grunt.”
Du Plessis may also decide which batter is on strike via the sound of their voice, and the route wherein the ball is hit by the noise it makes off the bat.
“In terms of batting you just listen very carefully to how the batters communicate with each other,” he says.
“When Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick used to bat together, Trescothick would always just say “run” when he hit the ball whereas Strauss would say “Yeah come on, come on, come on”.
“And when the ball is hit via the off aspect, it has a really sharp, crack sound, as opposed to the ball being performed via the leg aspect.
“I can also tell when sweep shots are being played because you can hear the bat hitting the ground with a scraping sound.”
‘I believe I’ve discovered my area of interest’
A lifetime of listening to cricket coupled with the power to recognise individuals by sound, contact and scent has enabled to Du Plessis to forge a profitable profession as a broadcaster.
A presenter of his personal cricket podcast, he says his commentary work might have to take a again seat due to well being causes.
“I think I will have to do less of the commentary and that’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve lost quite a bit of my hearing, especially in my left ear,” he explains.
“Apparently that’s a common thing with blind people because we use our ears so enthusiastically.
“But I believe I’ve discovered my area of interest in internet hosting, presenting and doing podcasts. I’d love to progress my broadcasting profession and maybe to migrate from Zimbabwe, ideally to a cricket-playing nation.”