You are on page 1of 17

LiveScores

MATCHES

ENGvsSLPreview

Schedule

Archives

SCOvsAFGWon

News

Series

TKRvsJTPreview

Teams

Videos

SNPvsSTZSNPWon

Photos

Rankings

ENGWvsPAKWPrevi

HarshaBhogleThenonstriker
AayushPuthran

Share

Tweet

Share

Fromradiotowritingtocommentaryandmotivationalspeeches,HarshaBhoglehascomealongwayHarshaBhogle

"IfyouhavetheTenofClubs,thatistheTenofClubs,right?Thatisthecard.So
ifyouhavethevictimcard,andifthatistheonlycardinyourhand,youhaveto
takeacallonifyouhavetoplayit."HarshaBhogleseemedruedfortheonly
timeduringthecourseofanhourlongconversationonthecriticismsagainst
him.Thisonebeingfromacertainsectionthatbelievedheplayedthevictim
cardafterbeingsackedfromtheIPL2016commentaryteam.Silencedawnedin
theroomasItooktimeouttoipafewpagestogothroughthequestionswhen

More
ALL

herepeatedtohimselfinasulkedtone,"Victimcard?Wow,that'snew!"
Whileadmittingthatthisisalowphaseinhiscareer,hegoesontoconsole
himselfbysaying,"I'vealwaysbelievedthatsomegoodwillcomeoutofit.I
remembersayingthatwhenViratKohlifailedinEngland,thatitwillbethe
bestthingtohappentohiscareer.Maybethisisthebestthingthatwill
happentome."
OnlyinaUtopianworldwillacelebritywalkinwithonlybouquetssansthe
bricks.Sowhiletherewasanoutpouringofempathyandlovethatcamehis
way,asignicantlylowernumberofobservationstooweremadethatwere
criticalofhisreaction.
"IthoughtIhandleditwithtremendousrestraint.ThereareveryfewthingsI'm
proudof,andI'mproudofthewayIhandledit,"hedefendshimself."Imade
onestatement.Imadeonemistake,Ishouldn'thaveretweetedacoupleof
tweets.Buteverybodyintheworldretweets.Mr(Amitabh)Bachchan,Barkha
(Dutt),Rajdeep(Sardesai),everybodyretweetsandnobodysaysanything."
Hewasn'twronginthefactsofhisdefense.Therewerethreeretweetsandone
postonFacebookbyhim."I'venotaskedasinglepersontosayanythingforme".
HeignoredwhatAndreAgassikeptharpingtohimselfforlong,'Imageis
everything,everythingisimage',ataglinefromCanon.Harshahadbecomea
victimofhisownimage,ofbeingthegoodguy,the'nonstriker'.
*****
Thereasonwhyhissackingcreatedsuchafurorewasbecauseheisfarfroman
averagetelevisionpresenter.Inaeldprimarilydominatedbyformercricketers,
hehaswalkedinwithapairofspectacles,arecedinghairlineandnotthemost
competentCVasacricketplayertocarveanicheforhimselfasarguablythe
nestsportscommentator/presenterinIndiaandafollowingofclosetofour
milliononTwitter.FormanyinIndia,whenthedreamofbecomingaSachin
Tendulkarfadesaway,theaspirationtobecomeaHarshaBhoglerises.
"Andyettoday,yourchancesofbecomingaTendulkararebetterthanbecoming
aHarshaBhogle,becausethereisnevergoingtobeanotherone."Thereare
shadesofhurtanddisappointmentasheexplainshimself,"Therewillneverever
beanother,becauseyouwon'tgetachance.Youwillnevergetanopportunityto
doagame.IwouldliketobelievethatinIndiathereareatleastathousand
peoplemoregiftedthanIam.Otherwiseasacountry,wearepoor.Ireallyhope
theydogetachance,buttheywon't".
Thereisaboardannouncinghimas'FriendofAustralia',giftedbyTourism

Thereisaboardannouncinghimas'FriendofAustralia',giftedbyTourism
Australia,nailedabovehisstudytable."I'mfarmorerespectedasabroadcaster
inAustralia,"hestatesforthethirdtimeinthecourseoftheconversation.
AformerStarSportsproducerwhohasworkedfornearlyadecadewithhim,has
aninterestingincidentthatsupportsBhogle'sstatement."Inoneoftheodays,
wehadgonetowatchanAustralianOpenmatch.AnAustraliangirlsittingnear
usturnedtowardsHarshaandasked,'AreyouHarshaBhogle?'Thewordspread
aroundinnotimeandhewashoundedforautographs.Itwassurprising
becauseinAustraliahewasonlyavoice,notaface,byvirtueofbeingaradio
commentatorwithABC.Itshowedjusthowpopularandlovedhewasasaradio
commentator."

"Veryfewpeoplethinkthatcricketisaboutemotions.Eventually,allsportisaboutemotionsof
winningandlosing,ofjoysanddisappointments,abouttheaspirationsthataredashed."
HarshaBhogle

TheaspirationtostepintoHarshaBhogle'sshoesisupheldbymany.Fromthe
outsideitseemsaglamorousjobjettingaroundtheworldtosomeofthemost
famouscricketvenues,beingattouchingdistancetocricketstarswhoare
idolisedandthefamethatcomeswithit.AndsoRaymondLeslieHume,ESPN's
formerDirectorofCricketandIndianproductions,intheyear2005decidedto
marketandmonetisethataspiration."Itwas7AMwhenRaycalled,allexcited.
'I'vegotanideaforashowandI'vebeenupsincefourwritingnotes'.Fromthere
cameuptheshow'DreamJob:HarshakiKhoj'."Thequesttounearththenext
HarshaBhoglebeganandtheresponsewasbetterthanexpected."EvenSundar
Ramanhadauditionedforit,"Bhogleaddswithacheekygrin.
However,whilethebestfromtheshowgotaplatform,similarfameremains
elusive.Theirstrugglehasalsoexposedthefactthattherewasmoretobeingthe
masterthantherosypictureBhogle'sprofessionalwayspainted.

NishantMajithia,whohadparticipatedinthatshowasa18yearoldthen,
recounts,"IhadsailedthroughthelivecommentaryroundinDhakabutwas
exposedtounchartedterritoryofbeingasportspresenter.Ihadtoedita
bulletin,writeascriptandpresentitaswell.Iwasundertremendouspressure,
andcouldbarelysmile.Harshawastheanchorofthequarternalsandduring
thebreakhesawmepacingthecorridorofthestudio.Hecameuptome,
ashedasmileandasked,'Nishant!Areyougoingtoawar?'Icouldbarely
manageahalfheartednodwhenhespokeagain,'Iknowyoucan'tbenervous.
You'rejustoverexcited.AndtrustmeI'velearntinlifethatitisbettertobeover
thanunder.'MysmilewasbackandIfeltalotlighter."
TobeHarshaBhoglehasforlongbeenseenasaneasierrouteforaboynext
doortoachievetheGreatIndianCricketingDream.Likeeveryprotagonistina
dreamnarrative,strugglehasn'tevadedhim.It'sataleofapathlesstravelled.
Andyoubegintoquestionhowmanypeoplewouldbeabletoputthemselves
throughwhatHarshahasdonetogetthere.
*****
Asa19yearold,HarshawalkedtothestationdirectoratAllIndiaRadioin
Hyderabadwithanaudiorecordingofhiscommentarythathehaddoneforhis
collegematch."Myfatheraskedmetogoandshowittothestationdirector.I
don'tknowwhetherhesetitup,becauseinHyderabadeveryoneknows
everyonebeyondapoint,"hesayswithaknowinglynotorioussmile.
Nonetheless,hegothisrststintasacommentatorin1981foraRanjiTrophy
match,followedbyhisrstOneDayInternational(ODI)in1983andhis
maidenTestayearafterthat.
AftergraduatingasachemicalengineerfromOsmaniaUniversity,wherehe
playedalongsidethelikesofMohammadAzharuddin,ArshadAyubandKiran
Reddy,hedidhismanagementstudiesfromIndianInstituteofManagementin
AhmedabadandwentontojoinRediusion,anadvertisementagency."My
secondloveisadvertising,"Harshaquips.
Whileworkingthere,duetoreasonsbeyondhiscontrol,helostthechancetodo
commentaryforthe1987WorldCup."Thatsortofhurtmesomewhere,because
Ithoughtthe'87WorldCupwouldhavebeengoodforme."Afterhequitthead
agency,hehadabriefstintwithProfessionalManagementGroup(asports
syndicationcompany),beforedecidingtogoonhisown.
"Anita(Harsha'swife)hadajob,shehadahouse.Soourexpenseswerelow,and
itisalwaysagoodideatolivewithinyourmeans.Slightlyunfashionable,but
stillveryrelevant,"Bhoglepointsout.

Ifsomeoneelsemakesamistake,

Ifsomeoneelsemakesamistake,
theyhavescored5000Testruns,so
it'sokay.Idon'thavetheoptionto
notbegoodHarshaBhogle
Inhindsight,hebelievesthatgoingtoAustraliain1991'wasthebiggestthingto
havehappened'tohim.However,backthenhehadgonethereasanoverseas
broadcaster,whichmeanthewasn'tgettingpaid.
"Tofundmytrip,Iwaswritingonearticleinthelunchbreakforthe Afternoon
DespatchandCourier,onearticleforIndianExpressatthecloseofplay,while
doingcommentaryalldaylong.WhileeveryonewashavinglunchattheLunch
break,Iwasquicklywritingthisarticle,runningacross,faxingitandcoming
backtodocommentary.Attheendoftheday,Iwaswritingthewholearticle
again.IwaswritingforSportsWorldmagazineinbetweenTestmatches,two
articlesaweek.ThatwouldalsogotoaMarathimagazine.Thereusedtobe
videomagazinesinthosedays.IwouldopenYellowPages,hireacrew,go
around,goshoot,takeshots,dointerviews,dofeatures,dowhateverandsendit
acrossviaDHLoracourierservice,thendoacolumnforAzharuddin,doa
columnforAllanBorder,doacolumnforRichieRichardson.Iwasdoingallthat
ononetour."
Theearlystrugglelastedalittlelonger.In1993,alongwithSureshSaraiya,he
wenttoSouthAfricatodocommentaryforAIR.Sincetherewereonlytwo
commentatorsforthetour,theyhadtomanagebythemselvesalldaylong.In
ordertocoverhiscoststhere,hewoulddeliverbriefreportsvetosixtimesa
daytoBBCWorldService."Thetwoofuswouldworkoutaroster.Sowhenever
theBBCWorldServicewouldcomeup,SureshSaraiyawoulddocommentary
andIwouldpopout,domyBBCWorldServicereportandcome,becausethey
wouldbepayingalmost50percentofmyentirecost.
"Afterthegamegotover,westillhadsixsevenminutesbeforewewentoair,
butthemediacentreinSouthAfricawouldshut3040minutesafterthegame
wasover.SoIhadto,assoonasthegamegotover,writemymatchreportandit
hastogotosixorsevenplaces.Ithastogoonfax.
"Thethingaboutfaxmachinewasthatthesloweritwasgoing,themoreyou
werepaying.Ifthelineattheotherendwasnotgood,itwastakingalonger
timetogo.Therehadtobeapinkstamponthepaper.Ifitwasnotthere,you
hadtosenditagainandpayforit.Ithadtogosixorseventimesbeforethe
mediacentreshut."
HiswifeAnitawouldthengotoanoce,thatwaskeptopenonrequest,to
collectthefax,ndashopthatwasopentogetphotocopieswithdarkprint,

collectthefax,ndashopthatwasopentogetphotocopieswithdarkprint,
comebacktotheoceandfaxitagaintothevariousnewspaperocesacross
thecountry.Shewouldreturnhomewiththekidat11inthenight.
Merrierdays,nonetheless,camewithinafewyears.Withhisworkgetting
instantrecognition,moreprotableopportunitieskeptcominghisway.Therst
bigtransitionhappenedfromradiototelevision.ButwithTV,aeldthatwas
theefdomofexcricketers,alsocametherstbarbs.

LeftOsmaniaUniversityteamcap.RightAnnouncementofhavingmadetheuniversityteam
fortheallIndiainteruniversitytournamentHarshaBhogle

AsmuchasBhoglehasstayedrelevantasaradiocommentator,awriteranda
publicspeaker,thefactthatTVgothimclosertospellboundmassescannotbe
denied.Inaeldthatwaslargelydominatedbycricketers,barringTonyCozier,
hislackofcredentialsasacricketeroftenovershadowedhisworkasa
broadcaster.
"Iwasn'tplayingcricketwiththem,Ididn'thavetoworryhowfasttheybowl,"
hesays,whileansweringwhetherhewasintimidatedbythepresenceof
cricketersaroundhimduringhisinitialdays."Iknewmyrolefromdayone.I
knewmyroleasabroadcaster,Iknewmyroleasaballbyballcommentator.I
knewIhadplayedenoughcrickettounderstandtheemotionsofthesport.
"IhaveplayedforCombinedCollegesandCombinedUniversitiesinthe
RohintanBariatournament,butIguessthat(qualication)isnotrequiredfor
thosewhoare..."It'safactthatHarshaBhoglekeepsremindingeverytimethe
questionofhiscricketingcredentialscomesup.Despitealltheaccoladesthat
havecomehiswayoverthelastthreedecadesforhisworkasabroadcaster,his
lackofachievementsasacricketerisafactthatheisconstantlyremindedof.
"Alotofpeoplethinkcricketcommentaryisabouttechnique,andtheyare

partlycorrect.Alotofpeoplethinkcricketcommentaryisaboutstats,andthey
arepartlycorrect.Veryfewpeoplethinkthatcricketisaboutemotions.
Eventually,allsportisaboutemotionsofwinningandlosing,ofjoysand
disappointments,abouttheaspirationsthataredashed.It'saboutunexpected
thingsthathappentoyou,andithappensthroughtheprocessofscoringruns
andtakingwickets.
"Iknowwhatitistoloseabigintercollegenalbecausemyteammatesweren't
ascommittedasIwas.IknowwhatitistoweepinadressingroombecauseI
thoughtweshould'vewonthatgame,andmyteammatesweren'tsure.Iknow
whatitistogoforacatchthatIhadnobusinesscatching.Iknewtheemotions
ofthesport,andsinceIwasthebestelderineverysidethatIplayed,Iknew
enoughtocreatethenarrative.Ididnotknowenoughwheretheleftelbow
shouldbe.AndwhenIdidknow,Igotsomeoneelsetosayit,Ididn'tsayit.SoI
madepeoplecomfortable."
Andit'snotanopinionofjustBhogleonhimself.AformerStarSportsproducer
testies:"Basedonthecontextofthegame,Harshawillaskthemostrelevant
questions.Hisknowledgeofcricketissecondtonone.But,whilehe
understandseverything,hewillaskaquestiontosomeoneelseandmakethat
persongiveananswertoit.Indoingso,hemakeshiscocommentatorsshine.
It'saspecialskilltohave."
Asperthedemandsofhisjob,hewassupposedto facilitateconversations,
allowingthecricketexpertstogivetheiropinion.Hedidthatwell,peppered
withhissenseofhumourandonelinersthathadwit,classandcreativity.Butin
doingwhathewassupposedtodo,hehasalsogoneontoovershadowthe
peoplehehadpushedtotheforefront.
*****
Inanagewhentherearecloseto20sportschannelsinthecountry,andaplatter
ofyounganchorstochoosefrom,Bhoglehasheldhisown.Thereasonsforthe
samearen'tquiteassurprisingperfectpracticemakesamanperfect.
AnothersourcefromStarSports,whocurrentlyworkswithhim,claimsthat
Bhogleis'faraheadofhispeers'intermsofthepreparationthathedoesbefore
amatch."Heisconstantlystudying,sittingwiththeanalyticsteam,gettingdata
andtheirinputs.Heisconstantlyupdatinghimself,unlikesomeoftheformer
cricketers.Therearetimeswhenhewillwakeyouupfrommiddleofthesleep
andaskforhelp."

I'venosenseofcolourandfashion.
Whoknowsallthesethings?Weare

Whoknowsallthesethings?Weare
middleclasspeoplewiththreet
shirtsandtwopairsoftrousers
HarshaBhogle
Hisprematchpreparation,infact,hasgonealongwayinaidingtheprocessof
liveshowsandcommentary.MohandasMenonmarksoutwhatmakesBhogle
'special':"Alotofstatsthatwegiveoutarelikellintheblanks.Harshahasthe
knacktounderstandthenumbersbetterthanmost.Hechallengesustopush
ourselvesmoreinwhatwedo,whichhelpstheoverallcontent.Whileheis
talkingtotheviewers,healsohastheproducerstalkingtohimonthetalkback,
apartfromstatisticianscomingtohimwithnumbers.Hemanageseverything
eortlesslyinaliveenvironment.Heisararekind."
Withthepaceatwhichnewtechnologyismakinginroadsinbroadcast,ithas
onlymadethefunctioningmoredynamic;orforthosewhotaketimetoadjust
tochange,morecomplicated.Inmanyways,technologyhasalsoundonealotof
opinionsofexperts.Harsha,nonetheless,doesn'tseemtoobotheredbyit."The
roleofstatsinbroadcasthaschangedunimaginablyinthelastveyears.Ithas
gonefromstatstoanalytics,whichiswonderful,"heexpresses,withasenseof
joy,indicatinghowwellhehasembracedchange."Theyoungpeopleinthe
professiondoinganalyticsareabsolutelytopclassandthatiswhatIhave
enjoyedmostatStarSportsinthelastcoupleofyears.
"Butitleavesalotofpeopleuncomfortable,becausehypothesisdon'twork
anymore.Ifyousaythisishowitis,theguywiththenumbersissaying,'Hang
onaminute,thenumbersaresayingsomethingelse'.Soalotofpeoplearenot
likingthenumbersthatyouhavebecauseitisprovingtheirhypothesiswrong.
Statsandanalyticsaremakinglifeuncomfortableforcommentators,whichis
somethingthatIlike.IfI'mnotgettinguncomfortable,thenI'mnotgrowing."
Inthewordsofoneofhislongtimecolleagues,"Therearedayswhenheisnot
keepingwell,butnotoncehashegiventhatasanexcuseorgivenlessthan100
percenttohiswork.Overthelast25years,neverhasthefactthatheisnot
keepingwellcomeacrossoncamera.That'shisbrilliance".
Thepraisesforhim,bizarrely,missoutonpointingthatwhileheisdoingall
that,healsopullsouttheoddoutoftheworldonelinerstimeandagain."I
don'tknowthatlinetillIsayit.Notoneofthoselinesareprepared.Iremember
aphasewhereIthoughtthat'Ohthisisagoodline,I'lluseit.'ThenIstarted
waitingforthatmomenttocometousethatline.ThenIrealisedthatisnot
whatbroadcastis,right?SoI'veneverpreparedforthat."
Havingnotfussedforsolong,todayhethinksheisagoodbettodo
commentaryinthelastveovers.Givenhisbodyofworkandyearsofservice,

commentaryinthelastveovers.Givenhisbodyofworkandyearsofservice,
hemakesastrongcaseforhimself.SpeakingaboutTendulkar'slapofhonourat
theWankhedeStadiuminhisfarewellTest,Bhoglesays,"Thatiswhatyoudo
commentaryfor."WhilemanyweretooengrossedinwatchingTendulkarinhis
nalact,thecommentaryhadbecomeasideshowthatwaspleasantlyignored.
ButBhoglewaspresentinganaptnarrationforanaptmoment.Somethingthat
hehimselfprofesses,heplayedaroundexcellentlywiththeemotionofchoked
upthroatsandwelledupeyes,withouttakingoverit.
Eventoday,ashejugglesbetweennumerouscorporatetalksacrossthecountry,
showsforStarSportsandwriting,hestillseemsdisturbedatnotbeingableto
docommentary.Thecommentaryboxhasbeenhiskingdomforlong,aplacehe
ruledwithsmile,banterandwords.
However,forallhisexcellenceasacommentatorandacolleague,heisn'talways
theeasygoingcoworker.Hehascertaindrawbacks,andthatoftenputafew
peopleo.

PreppinghimselfupaheadofashootduringtheICCWorldT20HarshaBhogle

Noteverybodyispleasedwithhis'nicky'naturewhenitcomestodressingup
anddoingmakeup.Bhogleacceptsthiscriticismwithoutreservationsand
admitsthatheisaweatthewaysomeoftheyoungeranchorsdress."Ithinkmy
onairlookisfarbetterthaniteverwas.Ididn'tunderstandfashion,Ididn't
understandcolour.Istilldon't.(NavjotSingh)Sidhuwouldtellme,'Ispeyeh
nahijaata(Itdoesn'tgowiththis)'.Whoknowsallthesethings?Wearemiddle
classpeoplewiththreetshirtsandtwopairsoftrousers.SoIusedtocarrytwo
tiestoacricketmatchandaskthecameraman.I'venosenseofcolourand
fashion.Idon'thaveit,sowhat?Butpeoplehelpmegetit.I'mhappybeingthe
AverageJoe.Ialwayssaythistofemaleanchors,'Ihaveoneadvantagethatyou
willneverhave.I'mundernopressuretolookgood.Youhavetolookgood.But
iflookinggoodisallthatyoucando,twoyearslaterthereisanothergirlcoming

iflookinggoodisallthatyoucando,twoyearslaterthereisanothergirlcoming
alongtotakeyourplace'."
"Ibelievethattheyoungeranchorslookreallysharp.IlookatthemandI'mlike
'Wow!thatishowImustlookontelevision,right?'ButIstillcan't.SoIaskJatin
(Sapru)'Doesthatgo,man?'I'mnotafraidofaskingayoungkidwhatworks,a
thingthatheknowsbetterthanIdo.WhatIwonderiswhethertheyfocusmore
ontheirlooksratherthanwhattheyaregoingtosayandhowtheyaregoingto
sayit."
Andhavingbeenanexpertbroadcasterfortwentyyears,thisisoneareawhere
hedoesn'tshyawayfrommakingcriticalcomments."Youwillndthatthe
worstanchorsinthehistoryoftelevisionaremodels,becausetheywanttoknow
wherethelightiscomingfrom,whatthecameraangleis.Ifyou'reonlyworried
aboutthat(andnotthecontent),howareyougoingtocarryaconversationfor
twohours?That'stheonlycomplaintIhavewiththeyoungeranchorswhoare
muchsharperandtalentedthanweeverwere."
Heraiseshisobjectionswithouthesitationwhilesayingthatifthenew
generationworksashardashim,hewouldbeproud.However,foralltheeort
thathetakes,thereisalsoasectionofpeoplewhoworkwithhimanddon't
enjoyhisoverinvolvementintheprocess."Toobadforthem.Eventually,it
makesmecomfortable,"hedefendshimself.
"Eventually,I'minfrontandforalltheworkthattheydo,I'mresponsiblefor
that.IfIhaveabadday,Idragallofthemdown.SoIhaveagreatresponsibility
asananchortomakesurethateveryoneelse'sworklooksgood.IfIfailasan
anchor,thenallofusarelookingbad.That'snotfaironthem.SoIhavetoknow
what'shappening."
Doesherealisethatalotofpeoplearegettingbotheredbyhisover
involvement?
"Ofcoursetheyare,"headmitsrightaway."Ifyou'reputtingoutsomething,you
havetoberigorous.Theproducerhastobethebestproducerintheworld.The
statspersonhastobethebeststatspersonintheworld.Otherwise,whyareyou
payingus?Ifyouaregoingonair,youmustknoweverythingaboutit.IfIbring
thatintensitytothetelecast,theneverybodyhastobringthatintensity.Because
withoutthatintensity,youhavenobusinessbeingthere.
"IknowIgetdistractedsometimes,Iswitchonvesecondsbeforegoingonair.
Ithappens.Igetveryworkedupbeforegoingonair.IfI'mwrong,therearealot
ofpeopleunhappythatI'mwrong.I'vecomefromabackgroundwhereIknowI
havetobethebest,becauseanythingapartfromthebest,Iknowalotofpeople
arenotgoingtobehappywiththat.SoIdon'twanttogivethemthatchance.If

arenotgoingtobehappywiththat.SoIdon'twanttogivethemthatchance.If
someoneelsemakesamistake,theyhavescored5000Testruns,soit'sokay.I
don'thavetheoptiontonotbegood."

Thewaypeoplereactedwhen
Harshawasdroppedfromthelist
ofcommentatorsfortheIPL,I
don'tthinkpeoplewouldhave
reactedlikethatevenifacricketer
wasdropped.Thatisafair
indicatorofwhatmakeshimso
specialVikramSathye
Thereweredayswhentheharshestofsunrayswerefallingstraightonhisface.
Hehasgotlightburnt,andhadhisskinpeelingoduetotheintensityofthe
light.Thereweredayswhen60,000peoplewerescreaminginfrontofthe
speakers,andhecouldn'thearwhattheproducersweresayingonthetalkback
oreventhepersonstandingthreefeetnexttohim.Thereweretimeswhenhis
legswerehurting;hisupperbodylookedrelaxed,buthislegsweresti.Yethe
hashadtolookintothecameraandsmile,likehewasenjoyingthediscussion,
andnotlettheviewersknowanyofthatwasgoingon.
TheinspirationtopushthroughcomesfromthelikesofRiaanMyburghand
JohnnydeVilliers,whomheobservedduringhisinitialdaysintelevision.
"WhenIstartedo,thegroupofpeopleIworkedwithinpropertelevision,not
Doordarshan,wererockstars,absoluterockstars.Withthosecameras,they
didn'tmissaball.AndI,asabroadcaster,wassupposedtobethevoice,tillthen
notaface.Meaning,Iwillbearibbononthecakethattheybaked.I'venever
lostsightofthatfact.Acommentatorisnotthestar,acommentatorisaribbon
onthecakethattheengineers,sound,camerasandthetechnologybake."
Agood20minutesoftheconversationrevolvesaroundhowthetechnicians
workedbehindthescenesin1990s,withalotofcomplicatedtechnological
processesandsetupinplace.Withmemoriesofpastcamethecriticalanalysis
ofsomemoderndaypractices.Speakingaboutsomeofthecurrentproducers,
hesays,"Theyareinaweofthecommentators,whichisalwayswrong.Suddenly,
ifKevinPietersenisdoingcommentarywithme,asaproducer,canyousay,
'Kevin,justpullbackabit'?Orasaproducerareyougoingtosay,'Welldone
KP'?Asaproducer,yougottobeabletodothat.Sometimestheyseemscaredto
sayit."
Butevenincriticism,therewassomeempathy."Thereisashiftfromwhat

producersareaskingfromcommentators,andtheyareaskingthatbecausethat
iswhatpeopleareincreasinglyaskingforfromthetelecast.Youhearalotof
peoplesay,'Oh!RichieBenaud!Heplayedthepauseperfectly.'Ofcoursehe
playedthepauseperfectly.IfIpaused,whowouldwanttoll?Becausetoday,
moreisthereincarnationofless.
"IwatchedaTestmatchplayedinEnglandlastweek.Itwas(David)Gowerand
probablyMichaelAtherton.Therewasnothing.Fortwodeliveries,notaword
wasspoken,andIsaid'Oh,that'seasy.'ButEnglandistheonlyplaceinthe
worldthatstillfollowstheminimaliststyleoftelevision.Allovertheworld,it
haschangedcompletely.Andthatiswhyourmaximumcriticismcomesfrom
England,becausetheythinkthatishowitshouldbe.Buttheworldischanging.
InIndia,wecannotdothat.InIndia,wehavetodomore.Australiaisdoing
that,SouthAfricaisdoingthat,everyone'sdoingthat.Wehavetodomoreifwe
havetobeup."
Muchlikecommentary,productionandbroadcast,eventheapproachof
cricketershaschangedovertheyears.

Theinitialyears:DoingcommentaryinSharjahin1990HarshaBhogle

"Thisnewgenerationisverydierent,"saysBhogle."Butit'salsodierent
becauseyouhavegonetoadierentgeneration.Somaybethegenerationbefore
methoughtthattheDravidTendulkargenerationwaswrong.
"Wealwayslookatthenextgenerationandthinkwhattheyaredoingiswrong.
Theymightjustturnaroundandthink,'We'rejustnormal.Whyarethey
thinkingthatwearenotright?'Thisgenerationisdierent.Theyaremore
condent,they'veseentheworld,they'vebecomerichmuchfaster.Theycarry
themselvesinacertainway,theyarehappytocarrythemselvesinacertainway,
whichisnotwhatweweredoing."

"ButI'mluckythatthroughoutmyyears,thereweresixseveniconsofIndian
cricketwhowereoutstandingpeople,andsowebenetedbyhavingthatgroup
aroundIndiancricketGanguly,Laxman,Tendulkar,Dravid,Kumble,Srinath
wereoutstandingpeople."
Whilehappilyplayingthe'nonstriker',ashelikestotermit,hehasgoneonto
createanidentityforhimself.Indoingso,ithasalsoovershadowedoneofhis
otherrichskillsetwriting.Theintensitythatmanywhohaveworkedclosely
withhimbelievehebringstobroadcastisn'tmissinginhiswritingeither.
Concedingthatheprefershimselfasabroadcaster,hetalksabouthiswriting
withgreatpride.Overtheyears,hiswritingsfor Wisden,SportsWorldand
IndianExpresshavebeenofthehigheststandard,buthehasremained
underrated."Notonearticlefor IndianExpresshasbeenwrittenwithouta
skeletonmadeoutofit,notone.NotoncehaveIsatonmylaptopandwritten
somethingfortheheckofitandsentitacross.
Creditinghisbackgroundinadvertising,hedrawsaparallelwithsubeditorsto
explainwhyhebroughtafresherapproachtowritingandstoodoutinaclutter
ofcricketwriters."Iremembermyfathertellingthistome'Yourrstlinehas
togetthereadertoreadtherest.'Otherwise,theonusofreadingyourarticleis
onthereader.Itisonyoutogetthereadertoread.Ifyoucan'tgetthereaderto
read,you'vefailed.SoIbelievealotofmyverygoodwritingwasdoneonthe
tourtoEnglandin1990,becauseIhadcomestraightoutofadvertisingatthat
time.
"IusedtowriteforMidDay(backthen,anafternoonnewspaper).Thegame
wouldgetoverat10PMthepreviousnightandthemorningpapershadcarried
everything.SoIwouldthink'whatdoIwritein MidDaythatisdierentfrom
theonesthathaveappearedinthemorningpapers,eventhoughI'mwritingthe
articleattheverysametimethatthe TimesofIndiaguyiswriting?'Thatiswhen
theadvertisingexperiencecamein.IntherstTest,forexample,atLord'swhen
AzharuddinwonthetossandputEnglandintobat,Istartedmyarticlewith,
'Azharuddinwonthetossandintypicaltehzeebsaid,"pehleaap"'."
Butbesidesbeingagoodwriter,itisalsoaspaceforhimtoexpresshisopinion
onthegame,aparthedoesn'tgettoplayasacommentator."Onair,Iwent
throughaphasewhenIsaidthatIwon'thaveanopinion.Inmywriting,Iwill.
TherearelotofpeoplearoundtheworldwhosaythatIdon'thaveanopinion.
Read'OutoftheBox'andI'dlovesomeofthesemodernrebrandwritersto
takeupsomeoftheissuesmentionedin'OutoftheBox'.Idon'tthinkanybody
hasbeenascriticalaboutIndiancricketasI'vebeenin'OutoftheBox'.
"I'malwaysinmyroleasafacilitatorandnotanopinionmaker.IfIgetcriticism
onthefactthatI'mnotanopinionmaker,I'monlyhappytoacceptthat.I'mnot

onthefactthatI'mnotanopinionmaker,I'monlyhappytoacceptthat.I'mnot
anopinionmakerontelevision,becausethatismyjob."
Hishabitofsugarcoatingcriticismhasoftenlefthisopinionambiguousand
createdmisunderstandings.Beitabouttheissueofparticipationofassociate
nationsinmajorICCeventsortheparallelrevenuestreamidea."PremPanicker
putitbest.Hesaid,whenI'mcriticisingsomeone,itseemsasifI'mcomingup
withamarriageproposal.ItcomesfrommybackgroundwhereI'mawareof
whatIdon'tknow.IfI'vetocomehardatsomepeopleI'mawareofthefactthat
Imaynotknoweverything.Soitisdisrespectfulandrudetocomeatpeople
withoutknowingeverything."
Hissilenceonthematchxingsagaonlymultipliedtheangst."Ididn'tknow
enoughaboutmatchxing,Istilldon'tknowenoughaboutmatchxing.SoI
can'thaveahardstanceonit.
"IagreewiththeBCCIontheDRS,butthenthathurtsalotofarmchair
warriorsaroundtheworld.ButIstronglybelievethattheDRSinitspresent
formisawed.SowhenIsaythat,peoplewillgetupset.After2014IPL,Ihada
verystrongpieceonIPL.
"It'salsobecauseI'mnotbynatureaconfrontationalperson,I'maromantic.I
justlovetowatchthegame,enjoythematch,tellthepeoplewhatfunwehad
andcomeback.It'salmostawed.
"MaybeIwasborn40yearstoolate."

Harsha(standing,extremeright)duringaphotoshootwithhisschool'sseniorcricketteam
HarshaBhogle

Harshahasplayedthegoodboyforalongtime,notwantingtodisturbtheegos
ofpeoplewithcricketingcredentialsaroundhim.However,indoingso,hehas

ofpeoplewithcricketingcredentialsaroundhim.However,indoingso,hehas
alsoearnedtheireofasectionofcricketfansfornotvoicinghisopinion,andhe
isn'ttoopleasedwithit."Peopledon'tappreciatethetightropeIhavewalked
overthelast25years.SoIgetbashedandtheydon'trealisethatI'mwalkingthe
tightropethatnobodyelseinthecricketworldtodayhastowalk.
"Soyou'reconstantlyawareofthefactthatyoucannotaordtoupsetthese
cricketerswithyourviews?"Iask.
"I'vebeentoldthatIhaven'tplayedcricket,"ishissimplereply.
Someofthepeoplewhohaveworkedcloselywithhimforoveradecadeclaim
thathisknowledgeofthegameandtechniqueisasgoodasanyoneinthe
commentarybox.Bhoglebrushesasidetheirviewsandsays,"Maybetheyare
beingtookind.Ihopethat'snottrue,becausethatwillshowotherpeoplein
poorlight."
Hegoesontojustifyhispoint:"SupposeI'msittingandchattingwithLaxman
andhesayssomething,Iwouldgolike,'thatdidn'tstrikeme'.Thathappens,but
therearetimeswhencertainformerplayerswiththeirknowledgeoftechnique
lullthemselvesintobelievingthatthereisonlythatmuchtoatelecast.Ido
understandtechnique,Iknowwhichshotlooksgood,whichshotdoesn't.I
understandtheaw,butIdon'thavetheCVtosayit.SoIdon't,asfaras
possible.IfI'mgettingintothatterritory,IknowthatI'mgettingintoabad
habit.
"ThefunniestpartisthatIdidn'tgodownthatpathtillSouravGangulyonce
toldmethatIshould.Weweredoingcommentaryonceandheaskedme'What
doyouthinkaboutthis?'.Itoldhim'Youtellme.You'retheonewhohasplayed
for20years'.Hesaid,'No,Iwanttohearfromyou'.SoIsaid'Peopledon'twant
tohearme'.Sohesaid,'ButIwantto.Whatdoyouthinkaboutthis?'.SoIgave
myopinionandhesaid"Oh,Ithinkso,too."
AsourcefromStarSportsstatesthatsomeoftheexcricketers,whoareactiveon
Twitter,getworkedupwhentherearemorepeoplesidingbyHarsha'sviews
thantheirs.Andonotherdays,Bhogletakesthecriticismonhimself.Inoneof
thetweetsbyAmitabhBachchanwhereheexpressedhisdesire,tonoonein
specicbutbackedbyMSDhoni,toseeIndiancommentatorsspeakinfavourof
theircountry,Bhogletooktheaccusationonhimselfandwentontodefendit.
Heexplainshisviewsagain:"Deepdowninside,youwantateamtowin,butif
thatfeelingsurfacesuptoyou,youmightappearbiased.Whilepeopleare
increasinglyacceptingthatitisokaytobebiased,Icanneveracceptthatitis
okaytobebiased.BecausethebroadcastthatyoudoisgoingtoBangladesh,
Pakistan,Australia;itisgoingeverywhere.Yourjobistotellthestoryofthe

game,notwhatyouwouldlikeittobe.Thoughthat'schanging.Eventhough
someveryfamouspeopledon'tunderstandthat,itischanging.
"Butifyou'redoingaHinditelecast,thenitisgoingonlytoIndia.Eventhen,I
cannotbebiased,IcanbeIndiacentric.Icanfocusallmystats,allmyanalysis,
allmyanecdotesontheside,whichisstillokay.Onaworldfeed,Istillcannot
dothat."
Withchangingtimes,camenewchallenges.

HarshaBhoglewithhiswife,Anita,whohasbeenapillarofstrengthforhimHarshaBhogle

OneofthenestachievementsofBhoglehasbeenhisabilitytoadaptsmoothly
tothedemandsofradio,broadcast,newspaper,magazineandsocialmedia,and
garnerfameineachofthemediums.Eveninthecricketingworld,peoplefar
morerenownedfortheircricketingskills,haven'tbeenabletoadapttothe
virtualworldwithasmuchease."Socialmediaisayoungplatform.Ifthis
generationhasacceptedyou,whatmoredoyouwant?"hesayswithasenseof
comfort.
However,socialmediaisalsoaneasyspaceforanonymouspeopletogetinto
confrontationsandhavetheiregosmassagedatthecostofsomeoneelse's
misery.Oftenatthereceivingendoftheirtrollsarecelebrities.Bhogle,too,isn't
unfamiliartothetroublesofit,havinggonethroughfrustratingtimesinthe
virtualworld.
"I'mactiveonTwitter,notasmuchonFacebook,becauseIwasn'tsureaboutmy
privacyonFacebook.Ididn'twantsomeonetocomeandmakesomesnide
remarkonmypoststhatisbeingreadbyall.OnTwitteraswellthereisalotof
crap.Iusedtogetdisturbedbyalotofcomments,Iusedtostrugglealotwith
theabuse.

"Inthelastoneyear,I'velearnthowtohandleit,nowI'malright.Itisgood
whenyou'vegotgrownupchildren.Astagehascomewheretheyareadvising
meratherthantheotherwayround.Mysonwouldtellme'thesepeoplehaveno
stakeinyourlife.Peoplewhohavestakeinyourlife,iftheycriticiseyou,youget
workedup.Butthesepeoplehavenostakeinyourlife,thenwhyareyougetting
workedup?Yougetupsetbysomeguywith200followerswhothinksheis
something'."
Thefactthatheis54alreadyisonlyrealisedwhenyoustoptothinkthatthe
manandhisvoicehavebeenomnipresentincricketfornearly25years.Even
today,helookstandaszestful."Ilovecricketwithoutreservations.Crickethas
givenmeeverythingintheworld."
Whilehecontinuestoharpontheimportanceof'beingthebestasyoucanbe',
hefeelsthatnoteveryoneknowstheirpeak."EachtimeIgotapeak,itwasRay
whoshowedmeapeak.ThatiswhypeoplelikeJohnBuchananwereimportant
forAustralia.ShaneWarnedidn'tneedtobeshownapeak,becauseShane
Warneknewhispeak.ButeveryoneisnotasgoodasShaneWarne.Alotof
otherpeoplewerehardworking,butdidn'tknowhowgoodtheywere.Itwashis
jobtoshowthat.Youdon'tknowhowgoodyouare,youjustdoyourbestevery
dayandseehowgoodareyouatit.
"'Tobethebestthatyoucanbe'isafantasticline.Youdon'tknowityourself.It
isverytoughtoknowhowgoodyouare.Myentirelifehasbeendenedbywho
Iamnot.AllmylifeI'vebeentoldwhoI'mnot,notwhoIam.Soitisdicultto
knowhowgoodyouare.Thatisacallthatsomebodyelsehastotake.DidAnil
Kumblebecomethebestthathecould?Hedoesn'tknowthat,ShaneWarne
thinksso.IfsomeonetoldmethatwhenIretiredthatIbecamethebestthatI
could,thatwouldbetheultimatehonourforme."
Cricbuzz

Share

Tweet

Share

ALSOONSPOTLIGHT
COMMENTS
24Comments

Addacomment...

MehulGala
WonderfulArticle!!
LikeReply3July201623:01

SakshamSaxenaEngineeratStudy(chess)

Sortby Oldest