Bhogle Returns!

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Just after the World T20 ended and a day before IPL-9 began last year, Harsha Bhogle was abruptly dropped by the BCCI from their commentary panel. There were multiple reports of how cricketers and celebrities were behind the ouster – apparently, Bhogle wasn’t praising the Indian team enough. The board had conveniently forgotten that the commentator’s job is not to appraise just one side – but describe and pass judgement from a neutral point of view.

At the time of his outburst, Amitabh Bachchan had tweeted the following on Harsha Bhogle’s commentary.

This was retweeted by the skipper MS Dhoni which created a buzz in the social media.

However, times have changed and so has the BCCI and Team India. And it seems that Bhogle, who has been working with online portal Cricbuzz during his exile from the commentator’s box, will be back where he belongs come IPL 10.

According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, “the seasoned commentator will be back in the broadcast business ­ in the studio certainly if not on the ground exactly for live commentary.”

A lot of things have changed in Indian cricket in the last 12 months. One of the key changes was at the top of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) power equation. The office-bearer(s), who were opposed to him, are no longer in control. And those who are in control should have no problems if a television studio goes to him with an offer.

The other factor that is helping Harsha’s return is the sudden shortage of quality `experts’ in the studio.With Ramiz Raja, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar not available for this year’s IPL, because of the strained relations between India and Pakistan, there is an acute shortage of people with the gift of the gab and an eye for analysis. With all his experience, it is believed that Harsha can make up for a lot of that shortage, even if he were to be confined only to the studio.

Sony, which broadcasts the IPL, and Bhogle himself, have not commented on the report, but we are sure fans of the game would like nothing more than for this to be true.

Broadcasters Sony and Harsha have chosen not to comment on the expected development but this paper has information that talks have been going on between them for quite some time. The pen has obviously not been put on the paper over points of the contracts to be signed but it is understood that it would be more of a formality than serious negotiations.

One of the reasons why the concerned parties, that includes the BCCI also, are tight-lipped about it is that they don’t want any influential person coming into the picture and derailing the whole thing.

After all, Harsha’s sudden exit from the commentary scene is well documented. A tweet from Amitabh Bachchan, a retweet from MS Dhoni and a complaint from senior Indian players are believed to have gone against him last year.

It is learnt that Harsha wants to commentate than just do the chatting in the studio but with the BCCI producing the tournament (actually IMG does the production for the BCCI), the chances of him being taken for the commentary duties are remote for the time being. The BCCI, though, is unlikely to object if Sony offers him a studio contract. That said, he can still do commentary ­ that is in Hindi which is done from the studios.

For the record, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, L Sivaramakrishnan and Sanjay Manjrekar are among those who have been offered the commentary contract for this IPL.Barring the Pakistanis, the other usual suspects of the IPL will be there. Where exactly will Harsha come in is something that will be decided in the next few days.

 

 

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