Popular commentator Harsha Bhogle, who was unduly removed from the commentary panel for the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday, has thanked his well-wishers for standing by him during this time.
In a post on his Facebook page, Bhogle added that he was simply a cricket commentator, and that he was the story teller, and not the story itself.
"I am just a cricket commentator. I tell the story, I am not the story," Bhogle wrote in the Facebook post.
Bhogle was part of the commentary panel for Star Sports during the ICC World T20 2016. He was not given an official reason for his removal from the commentary panel by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which holds the production rights for the tournament.
While several news publications and fans have been speculating his ouster to be the result of his disagreements with certain actors, or due to a recent fallout with a match official during a World T20 game, Bhogle said that he sincerely hoped his removal was not the result of "cricketers complaining about what he had to say."
"I still don't know why I am not doing the IPL. I haven't been told. I can accept the fact that people don't like me. But I genuinely hope it isn't because cricketers have complained about what I have to say," Bhogle was quoted as saying in a Facebook post.
"I tell every young cricketer who cares to listen that we will never agree on everything but I will always desire that they do well; that I cannot stop them from scoring a run, or taking a wicket or holding a catch.
"Doing that is their job, telling the story of what they did, or didn't, is mine. Our paths will be strewn with admiration and disagreement. It is the nature of the job whether you are a university level cricketer or among the best there has been. And, for heaven's sake, my greatest criticism is that I don't do enough of it," he wrote further.
Bhogle added that he currently has a solid deal with Indian sports broadcaster Star Sports, due to which he did not need an IPL commentary contract but did it nevertheless to satisfy his passion for the sport.
"I have a contract with Star Sports with whom I share an excellent relationship. It is the reason why I don't have to do the IPL. I do it because I genuinely like the cricket on offer, I want to be part of cricket's laboratory to see what is brewing," added Bhogle.
According to a recent report in The Indian Express, Bhogle was part of the commentators' duty chart for the entire duration of the cash-rich Twenty20 league, and his flight tickets for the match were also reportedly booked.
Bhogle has been a prominent commentator for over two decades now and has been part of the league since its inception. The above report further mentions that he had not been given a formal reason for his exit, and that it was ‘it is a BCCI management decision’.