BCCI has fired arguably India’s best cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle, just days before he was about to begin his assignment with IPL 9. Harsha Bhogle’s flight tickets for the IPL season had been booked and he had also featured in the curtain raiser commercials for the tournament.
While Harsha Bhogle has not been told why he was terminated, a BCCI source told The Sunday Express that the decision was made after taking feedback from everyone. “We monitor social media reactions on commentators, and also take inputs from players,” the source added.
While there are no takers for these generalities, three theories are floating on why Harsha Bhogle was fired. One, a few players are said to have lobbied against him unhappy with his criticism of their game. For anyone to survive in BCCI, which is notoriously sensitive skinned, the omerta code needs to be followed. Harsha Bhogle, has worked with BCCI for three decades and knows where the lines lie. There is also nothing on record to show that he has been excessively critical of any player or game strategy, recently. Two, after the India-Bangladesh T20 World Cup match, Amitabh Bachchan complained that commentators were not India-centric enough. Harsha Bhogle responded saying he was being telecast for a worldwide audience and could not be seen supporting any particular team.
Bachchan is being blamed by some for Harsha Bhogle’s dismissal. But those in the know say BCCI never goes by the opinion of those outside the system unless they are in a position to coerce them.
Third and most plausible theory blames it on the spat Harsha Bhogle had with a Vidharbha Cricket Association official at a recent match in Nagpur. At the Nagpur stadium, Harsha Bhogle wanted the door that connected the Hindi and English commentary boxes to be opened. As the door that runs through the President’s box was shut, bilingual commentators had to run down and climb up several steps to change boxes. Harsha Bhogle got into a confrontation with a Vidharbha cricket official on the issue, report The Sunday Express. And someone perhaps thought he was getting too big for his boots and decided to rest him for a season or two.
So, how did Vidharbha Cricket Association get so much clout to get a popular commentator fired.
The Nagpur-based BCCI president Shashank Manohar was the head of Vidharbha Cricket Association before he became the BCCI president. That possibly gives Vidharbha a disproportionate influence in BCCI as Harsha Bhogle found a little too late.
Another commentator, Gavaskar is also said to be on his way out. His high fees seems to be the stated issue, while inside talk say he and Shashank Manohar have never got along.
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