Mumbai: Harsha Bhogle’s absence from the commentary box looks set to continue after he was overlooked for the upcoming Test series against Australia by the official broadcasters Star Sports.
Bhogle was dropped from the Star Sports commentary team about a year ago when some senior Indian cricketers allegedly objected to his criticism of them. Some of the big names like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay found some of his questions uncomfortable during interviews and there were also complaints about his commentary not being India centric during the World T20 last year.
There was an incident during the World T20 when Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "With all due respects, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time."
This was retweeted by Dhoni and Bhogle’s contract with Star Sports was not renewed after some of the Indian players reportedly told the BCCI that they will not speak to Bhogle on air.
However, a report in Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin said that even before this incident took place, Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay were not happy with Bhogle which did not help his case.
During an interview after the end of day’s play in the Australia-India Test series in 2014, Bhogle asked Murali Vijay whether he felt bad to not get a century on that wicket after getting out on 53. Vijay did not make his feelings known on the spot but vented his frustration later in the dressing room.
A second incident occurred during the 2016 Asia Cup in Bangladesh when Bhogle accused Kohli of playing more shots than what he was scoring. The then Indian vice-captain had been dismissed for a measly seven runs and after hearing Bhogle's comments, he asked the commentator, "Why did you make such comments?"
Bhogle and Kohli were on extremely good terms before this incident and according to the report, the former tried to pacify the batsman by contacting him on WhatsApp.
For now, Bhogle is anchoring videos for a website which are becoming quite popular on Facebook and seems to hardly be bothered about his exclusion from the commentary team.
While you would expect cricketers of an international level to show some sportsman’s spirit in such situations, but like Bhogle once said in an interview, today’s Team India is not like the Sachins, Souravs, Dravids and Laxmans who used to take criticism in a positive manner....