Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Other Side of Harsha Bhogle

He started off being an advertiser with Rediffusion DY&R and merely at the age of 19 he stepped into the commentary box to become the First Indian to be invited by the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation during India’s cricket series before the 1992 Cricket World Cup and till date dominates the commentary box. Harsha Bhogle gets candid with Dhairya Ingle.

1. Harsha, Tell us about your background and your early life?

I come from a Marathi speaking family in Hyderabad attended Hyderabad Public School. After completing my school I studied Chemical Engineering at Osmania University and later I did my post graduation from IIM A.

2. How is it sharing the commentary box with some of the experienced ex cricketers and then a commentator? As in can you really be yourself in the commentary box not playing a single Ranji match

I would have had a problem if I was playing cricket with them. Being a cricketer is an advantage with some but not a necessary condition since a commentator has to be able to communicate to his audience. Sometimes being a cricketer is a disadvantage because you get too text-booky and ignore the viewer. If playing cricket was the only consideration then we wouldn't have so many ordinary former player-commentators! You will notice that the really good player commentators are those that can communicate well with their audience.

3. Also tell our readers about your pre match preparations as in how does Harsha prepare himself before going for any of the matches?

I don't prepare specifically now, unless there is a particular issue but i read cricket everyday.

4. In your previous interview you said that the Australians have an opinion for everything so do you deal with it in the commentary box

I love doing commentary with most Aussies because if find they talk straight; give hard but take it as well. And a lot of them are extremely civil. In a commentary box you must have opinions otherwise you are letting your viewer down.

5. Also tell us if you’ve faced any incident of racism in commentary box

I have never, ever faced any element of racism. But remember, racism isn't only about white men calling brown people brown but also about brown people making fun of whites. It is time we accepted that form of racism as well and asked ourselves if we too are guilty of it.

6. People say Harsha is become extremely predictable, how do you bring a variation or spice up your commentary?

Has he? Haven’t yet heard of the predictable bit. You don't search for variations to commentary; essentially you react to situations as they happen.

7. People also say that Harsha speaks really fast to be understood

I completely agree to the speaking fast sometimes but I am very different from the way I used to be.

8. What is your opinion on T20 cricket endangering the future of the longer version of the game?

You cannot stop people from demanding what they want. These are changing times. We all hope test cricket survives, and i think it will in one form or another, but many many icons of a more traditional era have gone with lifestyle changes. It is the way of the world. We must try and protect test cricket but in the end it is the cricket lovers who will decide.

9. How crucial was your role during the Harbhajan Shreesanth slapping case, being a manager of Mumbai Indians. we saw Priety Zinta being extremely vocal about her player but no one from the Mumbai Indians camp rose up to save Bhajji, why was that

I had no role at all. I merely accompanied him to the hearing in case something unexpected came up. That didn't happen. And it is a misconception to say that no one from the Mumbai Indians looked after Bhajji. What you see is not necessarily the whole truth, sometimes the most significant things are not necessarily in the public domain.

10. Lastly about your life after retirement and dreams for your sons

Haven’t thought about it. I suspect it is a little too early to do so. I hope the boys are happy in whatever they do. I hope they do it honestly and as well as they can. Nobody can ask for more.

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