For over a decade, Harsha Bhogle has been the voice of Indian cricket. I can’t remember a match without him behind the mic. Frankly, whenever I imagine Sachin dispatching a delivery to the boundary, Harsha’s voice always plays in the background. And no, he’s not proclaiming how the ball raced to the boundary like a ‘tracer bullet’ or reciting some weird couplet that none of us will ever understand. In fact, his words are just as classy as Sachin’s shot.
You will never hear Harsha say anything as preposterous as this…
Or as absurd as this…
But this… this line has class written all over it. It’s as majestic as Sachin’s straight drive!
Get what I mean? That’s the difference between a commentator trained to be a commentator and a cricketer trying really hard to be commentator.
A cricketer lets the bat and ball do the talking. And that’s what anyone would appreciate. Prove it on the pitch. Talking from behind the mic is a completely different ball game. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it, how well you can put it to the audience and, at the same time, how entertaining you can be without sounding stupid.
A Rahul Dravid or an MS Dhoni would have a very good understanding of the game. They can give valuable insights into various on-field decisions and strategies. It’s something we like listening to. They may not have the best voice or be masters of wordplay, but they know what to say.
And it’s a lot better than listening to something like this:
And of course, there are other players as well who do a good job when it comes to speaking about the game because they all have ‘been there, done that’.
But what sets Bhogle apart is that he’s not a former cricketer. He has always been a spectator. A romantic who reminds us with his words about why we love the sport so much. He feels what we feel. And he is able to express freely. Eloquently.
It isn’t easy to encapsulate the mood of the nation with just words. But he does it. He’s not brash or outspoken, but he has an opinion and he speaks his mind. Which, if you ask me, is his job. Someone has to state the reality of it all, despite what the people or the board “want” to hear.
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016