54-year-old former India cricket player turned cricket broadcaster Sanjay Manjrekar has been axed by BCCI from the commentary panel, according to a report by Mumbai Mirror. The middle-order batsmen, infamous for his rather controversial style of commentary which routinely draws the ire of listeners has been finally shown the door.
Though he has been a regular feature in the commentary box in India’s home games, Manjrekar is likely to be left out of the panel for the IPL, which has now been postponed and is set to begin on April 15. The premier T20 tournament was initially scheduled to begin from March 29 but had to be pushed due to the coronavirus scare.
Manjrekar was not present in Dharamsala during the first ODI between India and South Africa, which was washed out without a ball being bowled on Thursday.
While there is no clarity yet on the reason behind dropping Manjrekar, the report added that the authorities were not happy with his work.
If Manjrekar has been ousted, it is only because of his own doings in recent months. During the quadrennial event of the World Cup in 2019, he called all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in a rather nocuous way, a ‘bits and pieces’ cricketer. “I am not a big fan of bits and pieces players which Jadeja is at this point of his career in 50-over cricket. In Test matches, he is a pure bowler. But in 50-over cricket, I would rather have a batsman and a spinner.” Manjrekar had said on-air.
However, Jadeja, being the sword/bat-wielding aggressive player he is on the field took the attack to Manjrekar’s camp and slammed him for his negative thoughts. “Still I have played twice the number of matches you have played and I m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved. I have heard enough of your verbal diarrhea .@sanjaymanjrekar” he tweeted,
The verbal tirade of the Mumbai born commentator did not stop here when a few months later he questioned the credentials of Harsha Bhogle during the historic Pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata.
The Day-night test was a monumental moment for Indian cricket setup and naturally, it captured the imagination of the entire cricketing community and commentators alike. The pink ball was debated and talked about all through the test match. Harsha Bhogle, a seasoned commentator and often termed as ‘voice of cricket’, suggested a post-mortem and reckoned India’s cricketers needed to be asked about the visibility of the pink ball under twilight.
Bhogle had suggested “Well a post-mortem should be done of this game. Visibility of that ball will be a big factor against the big white sight-screen.” To which Manjrekar replied “Don’t think so. Because when you see the slip catchers, the way they have taken catches, I don’t think visibility is an issue at all. The texture of the ball is the issue.”
The discussion was all fun and games up until this point but it turned ugly when Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs for India very arrogantly reminded Bhogle, who was the more established cricket expert by saying, “You need to ask; for those who have played cricket, it’s evident it (the ball) can be seen well.”
Reflecting on his behavior on-air Sanjay Manjrekar later came up with an apology. “Of course. It was wrong and I say that because it was unprofessional and the first thing that I did was I had apologized to the producer that I was working for that it was wrong”, Manjrekar had said, adding it was his worst year as a commentator.
Manjrekar had also tried to muscle his way with the now BCCI President Sourav Ganguly when in a tweet he launched a veiled attack on Dada and said that he does not let others speak much during commentary.
Always happy when Sourav Ganguly is in commentary. You get to relax not just in between commentary stints but during it too.😋
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) June 9, 2019
To which Dada came up with a cryptic tweet which by all means was aimed at Sanjay Manjrekar without naming him.
His comments on Twitter is a bit like his batting meaningless and and lack of ideas .. may be just an attention seeker…in the negative way 😂
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) June 9, 2019
With numerous controversies under his belt, the writing was on the wall for Sanjay and his departure from the BCCI’s roster of commentators. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that he has been shown the doors for his unprofessional behavior.