HIL, the English primary
SMATTERINGS of English can be heard in most conversations in the locker rooms of Indian sporting teams, which bring together athletes from different regions of the country speaking diverse languages.
Besides Hindi, the country’s most widely spoken language, sports stars speak more than a dozen other prominent languages and diverse dialects.
Intermittent English and Hindi are often the tools of communication, but not all are comfortable conversing in English, while foreign accents complicate things further.
Watching signals from teammates has helped the Indian players, especially youngsters, overcome the hesitancy of using English.
“Conversing with the English-speaking team-mates in the HIL has improved our language skills. Earlier, we couldn’t communicate to international umpires when asking for a video referral,” Indian striker Mandeep Singh said.
“We had to rely on someone who knew English in the team or who could explain it to our captain. [Now] the hesitancy in trying to converse in England has gone.”
Mandeep recalled an incident a few seasons ago when his roommate Floris Evers asked him to set the alarm for 7.30am as the team had a morning flight. “I could barely manage broken English and it made things difficult for us,” he said.
“I assumed that Floris was informing me he had set the alarm and will wake me up. In this confusion, both of us kept sleeping while the entire team sat in the bus waiting for us.”
Apparently, the manager’s phone call to the room was not music to their ears, but the team-mates understood the comedy of errors.