Harsha Bhogle has received more support for being dropped from the commentary team than any cricketer has probably received for being dropped from the Indian team. Industrialists, Bollywood stars and of course his fans on Twitter have all come out in support of him. Love him or hate him, the support he has received is an indication of the respect he has cultivated over the years.
What happened then? Who dropped the ball? Here are the theories, and possible explanations, on why he isn’t commentating in this year’s IPL.
The Big B Theory
Amitabh Bachchan tweeted that he wished that Indian commentators spoke more about Indian cricketers rather than foreign ones. And that was followed by the now-famous 'Nothing to add' comment from captain MS Dhoni. This theory says that if Harsha was committing such a “sin”, he must be let go.
Credibility of Theory: 1/10.
Throw this one out of the window. If Harsha was let go because of a tweet then hell has probably frozen over. I don’t agree with Mr. Bachchan’s view. I believe to maintain credibility a commentator must speak on the cricket being played and not on his country. Moreover, I don’t believe that Mr. Bachchan has that kind of influence on who commentates in the IPL.
The Players Theory
There is no doubt that the current crop of players react to criticism as peacefully as fuel reacts to fire. The theory here is that the players went after Harsha and forced his axing because of him voicing negative opinions on them. Harsha himself added bit of credence to this saying he 'genuinely hopes' that his ouster was not because players complained about him.
Credibility of Theory: 2/10.
This one is very thin and a stretch to say the least. I can’t recall anything explosive that Harsha has said or written recently that would warrant this. Moreover, when he criticizes a player, which is rarely, his words are always carefully camouflaged with chocolate, so we don’t really know if he is showering praise or criticism.
The Fight with BCCI Theory
This brings us to potentially the most plausible theory. The story goes that Harsha had a bit of a tiff with members of the Vidarbha Cricket Association during a match in Nagpur. The details are unknown but, safe to say, highly relevant. As of now, whether it was a full-blown tiff or just a discussion will depend on whose side you are on and whom you choose to believe. The theory here is that he rubbed someone powerful the wrong way and hence firing Harsha was extracting revenge.
Credibility of Theory: 9/10.
Lets assume there was a tiff and Harsha exchanged words with the board member. In which case it would not surprise me in the least bit that Harsha would be fired. Let me be clear -- I am not saying this is justifiable and Harsha should have been let go from the IPL, because we don’t know what happened in Nagpur. But try this on for size. Imagine you work for any of the well-known software companies. Now, picture yourself going to one of the major offices of that company, in another city, and having a fight with the head of that office or someone more senior than you in the administration. Would you be at risk of losing your job? More often than not, yes.
If such a thing happened to someone you know would your reaction be that the company is at fault or that the individual employee was naive enough to fight with a senior official?
On the flip side it wouldn’t surprise me that even a well-mannered Harsha Bhogle, without intention or inappropriate behavior, managed to “offend” an over egoistical board member who thinks they are too powerful to be questioned and hence Harsha became a victim for no fault of his own.
Again, we don’t know what happened in Nagpur. Was Harsha being a prima donna himself and is therefore not involved in the IPL or was an official just overly sensitive and being vindictive on Mr. Bhogle?
The “It Happens” Theory
The theory here is that there is no theory. I feel for Harsha, like most cricket fans do, but he didn’t get a contract this time. It happens. Was he screwed over by the board? Maybe, may be not. But this happens in life and may be there is no big conspiracy behind it.
Sometimes you don’t get a project that you are vying for, sometimes you get a cancellation at the last minute and sometimes employers go with someone else. It happens all the time in all industries and all walks off life.
We don’t see the same anchors and commentators every tour, they change from series to series. Sometimes players get dropped from a team. They don’t get on twitter and in the press saying they didn’t get an explanation. They just move on. Sometimes you don’t win the tender and sometimes you lose a client. Sometimes another actor gets the part. Sometimes, you don’t get the girl, the other guy does and sometimes there is no big conspiracy when all this unfolds.
More importantly when this happens you take it standing up. You don’t make a story out of it.
Creditability of theory: You decide. May be there isn’t a big conspiracy, may be he just didn’t get it this year. Safe to say, he will be back on air soon enough, as his contract is with Star Sports.
Whichever theory is the correct on will probably never come to light. (BCCI and complete transparency? Well, hell will definitely freeze over that day). We can only speculate what happened and the reasons behind it. But at the end of the day, it's time to move on from this saga. More importantly, it is time to focus on cricket. The winning margins in the first four IPL matches have been, 9 wickets, 9 wickets, 5 wickets (with 14 balls remaining) and 45 runs. To not have a single closely contested T20 game in the first four is putting viewers to sleep. Not even Harsha Bhogle's commentary could have made them watchable.