Mumbai: While there are many theories about his exit from IPL commentary team, Harsha Bhogle has maintained a dignified silence since his IPL contract for the ninth edition is terminated by the Indian cricket board.
The voice of Indian cricket, who has donned several hats in cricket broadcasting, was an integral part of cash-rich IPL since its first edition in 2008.
The 54-year-old was all set to provide his cricketing insights during this year’s IPL as well. In fact, his name was on the roster and flight tickets were also booked.
However, BCCI pulled the plug at the last moment and sidelined Bhogle from the commentary duties.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 9, 2016
While there is no clarity what led to his ouster, it is learnt that Bhogle had an argument with Vidarbha Cricket Association during the India versus New Zealand in ICC World Twenty20 game in Nagpur. This reportedly did not go down well with the national cricket board and the action was taken.
However, according to reports, Bhogle was shown the exit door following a feedback from social media and players.
‘The Indian Express’ quoted a BCCI official saying: “When deciding the commentators, we take feedback from everyone. We monitor social media reactions on commentators, and also take inputs from players.”
While no Indian cricketer has officially come on board to criticise Bhogle, a tweet from Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Team India’s limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni’s reply to the same may have set the ball rolling.
Bachchan, following India-Bangladesh game in Bengaluru on March 23, took to Twitter to express his disappointment towards “an Indian commentator”. Bachchan tweeted:
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
While the senior actor did not name anyone, it was speculated that he was referring to Bhogle.
@raj20k yes !! jab dekho unki tareef karte rehte hain .. out unka batsman, aur uske liye dukh vyakt kar rahe hain .. arre .. hamari bowling— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
@gauravchawla cool .. but I mean its the limit yaar .. the way our players and our team always gets the wrong end .. this is just not on ..— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
Bachchan’s tweet was followed by a reply from Dhoni. Considering he is not too active on social media, Dhoni’s tweet set tongues wagging.
Bhogle then went on to write a post to clarify his stand on the commentary style.
"I must confess to being a bit taken aback by the intensity of the criticism yesterday over the question of focussing more on Indian players during the telecast. It emerged after a tweet from Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, someone I admire enormously for the dignified way in which he has always conducted himself,” Bhogle wrote on his Facebook page.
However, it seems the things did not go as per the plan and Bhogle, who is renowned for his articulate comments and considered to be one of the nicest men, was not picked to commentate during IPL 9.
Since the incident came to light, Bhogle has found a lot of support from fans and his followers on social media.
IPL should get back Harsha Bhogle into the commentary box & drop Sidhu instead.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) April 10, 2016
Value will go up, and more importantly, volume will go down.
I was a nervous wreck while hosting IPL3, it was @bhogleharsha who dragged me to the commentary box to observe &learn. Miss u on the mic sir— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) April 10, 2016
It may just be the IPL.
But, @bhogleharsha works his butt off.
And, speaks reason.
In India - people in power need an excuse to quell that!— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) April 10, 2016
Bring back Harsha Bhogle!He is the only commentator who praises a single taken by a newcomer as if he has hit a boundary!Always encouraging!— Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) April 10, 2016
Harsha Bhogle talks only about Cricket If that is problem with BCCI then something seriously wrong with Administration..— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) April 10, 2016
Not sure if Bhogle's ouster has anything to do with either Dhoni or Big B, but if it is so, guys you're taking things too far.— Roflindian (@Roflindian) April 10, 2016
Bhogle, who received a lot of support. thanked his followers.
Thank you very much. I am deeply moved and overwhelmed.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 10, 2016