Harsha Bhogle, one of the most prominent Indian cricket commentators was recently removed from the IPL commentary roster by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Even Bhogle has taken to social media to admit that he is not sure about the reason for his removal but two plausible theories have emerged for his sudden ouster.
The first one is that Bhogle was removed as a reprisal against him for getting into a heated feud with a Vidharba Cricket Association official during the first India-New Zealand match in Nagpur during the recently concluded World T20 Cup. This theory has not been addressed by Bhogle but people familiar with the inner workings of the BCCI find this theory plausible due to the alleged nepotism and shadiness in the dealings of the BCCI.
The other and more interesting theory is that Bhogle was sacked due to the comment made by Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter which was later retweeted by Indian Team Captain M.S. Dhoni. Mr. Bachchan had tweeted his displeasure at what he perceived to be a lack of coverage of Indian players by Indian commentators during the thrilling India- Bangladesh match at the T20 World cup. Though no one was named, it was clear that Mr. Bachchan was targeting Harsha Bhogle’s commentary during the match.
M.S. Dhoni who snapped on a journalist during the press conference after India’s narrow win against Bangladesh retweeted Mr. Bachchan’s statement and seemed to support the sentiment. Dhoni who was once a media darling has been having a testy relationship with the press lately. Dhoni is being questioned about his captaincy more frequently after a lackluster World T20 performance by the Indian team and that seems to have soured the relationship between him and the media.
Bhogle responded to the tweet by Mr. Bachchan in a Facebook post and clarified the job of a commentator. Though the tone of the statement was polite, Bhogle made it clear that the job of a commentator was to be a neutral and objective storyteller of the match. He mentioned his dislike of partisan commentary while at the same time downplaying the role of commentator. Bhogle did not acknowledge Mr. Bachchan’s criticism as the reason for his departure but his response to the criticism seems to lend credence to the second theory.
Social media went abuzz after Bhogle’s Facebook response with the majority supporting the commentator and condemning the remarks of Mr. Bachchan. Bhogle is one of the most recognizable non-playing cricket personalities in the country and his seemingly high-handed removal by the authorities has not gone down well with both his fans and neutral supporters.