One of the most influential Cricketing Personalities, Richie Benaud, who after his retirement turned out to be an extensively revered and legendary commentator, had once opined about the role of a commentator during a cricket match that, “Put your brain into gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up”. The comment of this legendary commentator about commentary can’t be considered to be feckless and futile and thus in this context the Indian Cricket commentator Mr. Harsha Bhogle entirely misfits within Benaud’s aforesaid parameter as he meaninglessly and biasedly keeps blabbering where he is required to be completely shut up. One can only expect from the commentator like Harsha Bhogle to keep his mouth completely sealed if he can’t appreciate the appreciable, because he has developed a tendency of unreasonably censuring and dispiriting ‘Team India’ and invigorating opponents through his commentary and tweets during a match in which ‘Team India’ is one of the participants.
Harsh Bhogle, who considers, inter alia, NDTV’s co-founder Pranoy Roy as one of the idols of his life, was born and brought up in Hyderabad and is a product of ‘Osmania University’. He is an Indian Cricket Commentator and journalist and has no Cricketing background. His immediate tweet after ‘Team India’ defeated Bangladesh in a nerve-wracking match on M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, has received opprobrium over his commentary style on social media from the epitome of serenity and legendary actor Amitabh Bachhan who responded in an indirect reference or subtle hint to Harsha Bhogle. The matter didn’t stop here as the Indian captain widely referred to as ‘Captain Cool’ immediately endorsed Sr. Bachhan’s view by re-tweeting him. So, if the two celebrated and distinguished Indian personalities of their respective fields, having a complete record of keeping themselves aloof from the controversies, lambast at some happenings, the scenario simply can’t be avoided or dismissed. Those who hardly opine on something, if opine, then their opinion can’t considered to be a tittle-tattle and certainly carries huge weight. Therefore, in the light of this fact, it becomes imperative to deeply analyse the situations which compelled Sr. Bachhan and ‘Captain Cool’ to be disgruntled with the Commentary style of Harsha Bhogle.
So here goes the blow by blow account of the comments by Harsha Bhogle, invigorating Bangladesh and dispiriting ‘Team India’, during India-Bangladesh Cricket Match at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. While the Match was going on, Mr. Bhogle apart from the one-sided talk he was doing in the Commentary box, posted several tweets indicative of his candid sympathy for Bangladesh and antipathy for India. Some of his tweets are:
- Bangladesh have used the conditions beautifully. Have to say they are ahead at this stage.
- India have defended this total with some spirit. But the catches dropped will hurt them.
- Mahmudullah holds the key. That boundary of the last ball of the 18th huge.
- I said it on air and I will say it again. This is the best group of players I have seen from Bangladesh.
These pathetic tweets by Harsha Bhogle stand in itself as a clear indication of his sympathy for Bangladesh during the match.
If you look at the language used by him that “The catches dropped ‘will’ hurt them”, the picture becomes clear. He could have used it in the manner “The catches dropped ‘may ‘hurt them” which he didn’t. How can a commentator go on to predict the outcome in a game like Cricket which until the last ball carries a great uncertainty. A commentator, how much he claims himself to be experienced, is not supposed to be a predictor of the game and if he does so it certainly hides in itself some meaning attached to it
Mr. Amitabh Bachhan, in an obvious indication to Mr. Bhogle’s tweets and his style of commentary responded on Tweeter by saying that, “With all due respects, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time.” A Twitter user replied to this tweet of Sr. Bachhan to which he responded “cool but I mean it’s the limit yaar….the way our players and our team always gets the wrong end….this is just not on …”. A second Twitter user also replied to Mr. Bachhan’s tweet endorsing his view to which he immediately responded, “thank you….I mean it’s just so annoying and frustrating…just watch how other commentators of their own team commentate.” Interestingly the Indian Captain M.S Dhoni who is undemonstrative by his nature and who prefers himself to be reticent on disputable issues, retweeted Sr. Bachhan with the word that “Nothing to add” thus clearly supporting Sr. Bachhan’s stand.
Harsha Bhogle has attempted to defend himself on this issue in one of his Facebook Posts by writing “There are two kinds of broadcasts available to Indian viewers. One, on Star Sports 1 is the world feed. That is the telecast, and commentary that goes to everyone around the world. That includes, passionate fans in Bangladesh and Pakistan, in South Africa, Australia, England, and the USA, everywhere. That broadcast must necessarily be an objective, balanced portrayal of events. Making that excessively India-centric means being unfair to other teams playing and to viewers from their countries who have the right to be as passionately involved as Indian supporters. And so, talking more about India, in a game like yesterday’s, would be letting down viewers in, say, Bangladesh.”
Now, one needs to ask Harsha Bhogle that how certifying the Bangladeshis players as the best group of players he has seen, immediately after their defeat is a ‘balanced portrayal of events’? To not being India-centric can’t mean to become Bangladesh-centric. I think that audience are the best judges and hence I entirely leave it to their wisdom to decide how a team can be considered as the best group of players which couldn’t score 2 runs in last 3 balls with 4 wickets in hand? I mean, Harsha Bhogle must have his own peculiar concept of ‘best players’ while opining so or something hidden inside his heart about his antipathy towards Indian team which he must spill to the Indian citizenry.
http://www.thehindu.com/…/03/31/stories/2004033100840400.htm (Pranoy Roy as his idol)