Dean Du Plessis is a 35 year old cricket commentator in Zimbabwe. If that was all that distinguished him, his story wouldn't be that special. There are an uncountable number of announcers and commentators all over the world ranging from high school to college to professional, across sports, and across continents. But Dean Du Plessis may be the most unique announcer in the world for one simple reason.
Dean Du Plessis is blind.
That's right... a blind cricket commentator. Sure, we've all made jokes about a play by play person or an analyst being blind and not seeing what was happening in front of them. But, to really be blind? It's an extraordinary story that has to be seen to be believed. Who would think that a job which centers exclusively on relating what transpires in front of you to an audience could be done without seeing anything that happens in front of you? A 2010 UK Telegraph article claims Du Plessis rarely makes mistakes and listeners would never know of his blindness. Du Plessis has such adept hearing that he is able to follow a cricket match through the sounds of the game. He follows certain batsmen and bowlers through microphones at the stumps. Anything from words to grunts to footwork tell Du Plessis what is happening on the pitch. Watch in amazement in this news footage below...
Du Plessis works as a guest commentator on cricket matches providing analysis and also does radio work and sportswriting in Zimbabwe. In fact, Du Plessis wants to do more announcing according to IOL sport in South Africa and is willing to go outside Zimbabwe to do so:
“I love this country, it's where I grew up, it's where I was born,” he said. “But at the end of the day I have to look after myself as well and there's not enough cricket that is being played here at the moment.
“And, more importantly, there's not enough broadcasting opportunities for me because of that. So I'm quite prepared to settle down anywhere.
“I want to be a full-time cricket broadcaster for many years to come so, as they say in cricketing terms: if the ball is there and if you want to hit it, then hit it hard.”
Who knows if Du Plessis will ever get that chance, but even if he never gets an opportunity outside Zimbabwe, his story is one of the most incredible you will ever see in announcing.