New Delhi, Apr 11: Cricketing fans were taken aback when BCCI 'suddenly' terminated the IPL contract of senior India commentator Harsha Bhogle, just ahead of the ninth edition of the cash-rich league.
Harsha Bhogle, one of India's most popular commentators, was shocked to learn about his termination because he had booked his flight tickets for the tournament.
Sony Network holds the telecast rights for the cash-rich league, but it is the BCCI that controls the tournament's production.
When asked about Bhogle's sudden ouster BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur and IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla refused to comment.
However, the experienced commentator, a respected voice in world cricket with 3.66 million Twitter followers, was quoted as saying, "I still don't know the reason."
However as per an Indian Express report, a senior BCCI official, on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying, "When deciding the commentators, we take feedback from everyone. We monitor social media reactions on commentators, and also take inputs from players."
The report further added that a heated argument between the 54-year-old commentator and Vidharbha Cricket Association official during India's opening World T20 game at Nagpur last month, could also be a reason for Bhogle's ouster.
"No one told me anything. I have not been formally told of the reason even now. All I have been told is 'it is a BCCI management decision'," the report quoted Bhogle.
Besides, reports also claim that Harsha Bhogle was accused by veteran Bollywood actor and India skipper MS Dhoni of being too critical of the Indian players during the World T20.
Amitabh Bachchan tweeted during the World T20, "With all due respect, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time."
T 2184 - With all due respects, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time.— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
That tweet was later retweeted by India's limited-overs captain MS Dhoni.
"Nothing to add," MS Dhoni said quoting Amitabh on his timeline.
Nothing to add https://t.co/8rBel3vw4o— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) March 23, 2016
Even Bhogle wrote a post on his facebook account saying, "The assumption among some people was that he (Bachchan) was referring to me and while I don't know if that is true, it did strike me that there seems to be a slight misconception about the role of a commentator in a telecast. I will try and clarify here."
"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, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, England, 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," he said.
There has been instances when senior players were seen unhappy with the commentators whenever criticised.
Meanwhile, no sooner than news of Bhogle's termination of contract for the IPL broke, social media went abuzz. Bhogle's admirers criticised the board's decision and expressed their anger over Twitter.
I was a nervous wreck while hosting IPL3, it was @bhogleharsha who dragged me to the commentary box to observe &learn. Miss u on the mic sir— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) April 10, 2016
IPL should get back Harsha Bhogle into the commentary box & drop Sidhu instead.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) April 10, 2016
Value will go up, and more importantly, volume will go down.
Ugly attack on FoE by Republic of BCCI/IPL as @bhogleharsha our best prof commentator, given out: ct Dhoni, bowled Big-B. Hope fans protest— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) April 10, 2016