Nagpur: Serious cricket critics and connoisseurs of the game are still to get over the fact that BCCI has not renewed Harsha Bhogle’s contract as IPL commentator for the 2016 games which are already underway.
Speculation is still on about why this abrupt action was taken though it is undisputed that it was sudden and most probably unplanned. Some are pointing to Dhoni’s aversion to him and also quoting Amitabh Bachan’s comments about the need of Indian critics to talk more about Indian players – which many think was aimed at Harsha, he himself seems to believe otherwise.
In an interview he gave to Indian Express immediately afterwards – a paper for whom he is official Cricket analyst – Harsha hinted at a tiff he had had with a VCA ( Vidarbha Cricket Association) office bearer being the main cause for his ouster.
This is what I.E. had reported right after news of Harsha Bhogle’s ouster became public:
‘ Board members talked about an incident which occurred during India’s opening WorldT20 game at Nagpur last month, where Bhogle is reported to have had a heated exchange with a Vidharbha Cricket Association official. They felt this could be the reason for his last-minute ouster.
Bhogle said he didn’t wish to speak on these issues, but he did talk about the Nagpur game where the Hindi and English commentary box was separated by the president’s enclosure. With the door of the VIP box shut, the bilingual commentators had to rush down several flights of stairs, and climb up again, after every stint. “Working on a tight deadline, because of running around, I was at times panting as I went on air. This was because of that shut door,” said Bhogle. Board officials said Bhogle had an angry exchange with a cricket official at the venue as he wanted him to open the door, and this reached the Nagpur-based BCCI president Shashank Manohar. Those in the know said this incident was the trigger that resulted in Bhogle losing out. “Even if it was the Nagpur incident, no one heard my part of the story,” said Bhogle.’ (I.E.)
Nagpur Today tried to piece together the story of what had happened exactly at Nagpur at the T 20 match.
We learnt from sources that one of the VCA office bearers Jaidev Kale, prominent city industrialist currently running a Travel Agency, was an eye witness to the whole episode.
When NT contacted him, Jaidev claimed that he was not physically present then, but this is what he knew had happened.
As stated by Harsha himself, the bone of contention was the shut door of the President’s enclosure that he wanted opened to pass through to the Commentator’s box.
When that door was not opened even on Harsha’s insistence, Jaidev reports that Harsha began kicking on it and lost his temper completely.
When NT asked how many steps would someone have to climb down and up to go from one Commentator box to another, Kale said it was merely one flight of steps.
“If someone has problems with a few stairs, he is not fit to be a Cricket commentator – or doing any Sports commentary for that matter.”
We all living in Nagpur know that the current BCCI President and the man credited with being the sole figure responsible for the magnificent Jamtha stadium in the city is a stickler for good behavior and etiquette. Some gentlemen who could not hold down their drinks and control their decibel levels after some sun downers have faced life time bans from the VCA clubhouse at the Jamtha stadium.
Though now Jaidev Kale and others at VCA categorically rule out the incident at Nagpur having anything to do with IPL discontinuing Bhogle’s services they do express shock and outrage at the way Bhogle lost his cool and acted.
So we are also constrained to ask – was it the kick that got Harsha kicked out of IPL?
…Sunita Mudliyar ( Associate Editor )