Just after the World T20 ended and a day before IPL-9 began last year, Harsha Bhogle was abruptly dropped by the BCCI from their commentary panel.
There were multiple reports of how cricketers and celebrities were behind the ouster – apparently, Bhogle wasn’t praising the Indian team enough.
The board had conveniently forgotten that the commentator’s job is not to appraise just one side – but describe and pass judgement from a neutral point of view.
T 2184 – With all due respects, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time.— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
At the time of his ouster, MS Dhoni had said ‘nothing to add’ to a tweet from Amitabh Bachchan on Bhogle’s commentary.
Because of this, cricket fans now aren’t able to experience Bhogle’s expertise behind the mic in this year’s IPL.
Even though Harsha Bhogle is a part of the discussion panel in the pre-match and the post-match analysis, it just doesn’t feel the same without hearing his voice during the events of the match.
And honestly, how many of us actually watch the analysis?
While I’m watching the match, I have to make do with the sub-par commentary by retired cricketers who were great at playing the sport but do nothing at all to add to the experience of watching cricket. This is exactly what Bhogle does!
Here are a few examples of what we are missing out on:
On a Tendulkar straight drive against Ishant Sharma in the IPL.
Or when Kieron Pollard could not take a catch…
The best commentator is Danny Morrison who is more of a light-hearted fun loving guy who is definitely having a lot of fun at this job. But among Indians, Ravi Shastri is the best bet right now.
Yes. Ravi Shastri, the man who is beyond parody at this point, is the best Indian commentator.
The jokes have become so popular that his producers are now joining in on the fun. In one of the earlier Test series, to pass the duller moments, they started something called the “tracer-bullet-challenge”.
The rest of the commentary team were judged on their ability to repeat Ravi Shastri’s favourite phrase – “it went to the boundary like a tracer bullet!” – as Ravi watched over them beaming.
Bhogle was always neutral when he was commentating matches involving India. He neither criticized India much when they lost nor did he praise the team too much after their wins. There were times when his co-commentators would laud the Indian cricketers but Bhogle would not jump to conclusions too soon.
He would wait for the player to achieve a milestone and then he would appreciate the efforts in his own unique style. He also treated each team as equal and therefore would never take sides.
While other commentators are ex-cricketers who have made the move from the pitch to the commentary booth, Bhogle is an outsider.
While other commentators read the game because they’ve played it, Bhogle is different because apart from a very deep understanding of the game, he also has the soul of a cricket romantic. Add to that, his unique way with words and his quick wit and you have the perfect commentator!
Cricket is an important thread that ties the social fabric of the country together. Right now, tensions are high when there are so many things that are doing the rounds in our collective psyche. This is the time where a little romanticism will help us.
This is the time when Harsha Bhogle’s commentary will help the cricket fans feel at ‘home’ again.