The man of his stature needs no introduction.But it would be too naive on my part if I don’t say a couple of sentences.
Without an iota of doubt Harsha Bhogle is the best English cricket commentator in the world right now. The way he talks, portrays an altogether different image of our nation- India. I’ve grown up listening to his commentary right from 1992 world cup when I was two and I can admit the fact that till date I haven’t seen anyone speaking with such wisdom and chivalry. He is my role model and is amongst very few people who have actually inspired me in my life.
I have this dream, the day I retire from my profession(whatever I do) I wish to depart either with the kind of respect what Rahul Dravid or Harsha Bhogle have attained from the cricketing fraternity.
Let me take some pride in sharing some of my all time favourite quotes of Mr. Harsha Bhogle –
- ” Well we let you rule our nation for so many years. I believe that’s the least you can do for us. “- This was quoted to Nasser Hussain when the English curator provided the Indians a turning track in the 2014 champions league final against England and when India went on to lift the cup in the post match presentation Harsha applauded the young Indian team’s effort and presented this rhetorical statement “The sun is setting down in England and now maybe the sun is rising in Indian Cricket”.
- This was in conversation with Ian Chappell. India’s 9th wicket fell, the No.11, Narendra Hirwani came out to bat. The commentator (Ian Chappell) asked Harsha whether Hirwani could bat. Harsha replied:”If you make a team with all the number 11s of all the teams, Hirwani would still come at No.11 in the line up“.
- After Anil Kumble scored his maiden ton, this is what Harsha had to say:”This is the most romantic moment in Indian Cricket!”In the same match Ricky Ponting had set a much unfurled field for Kumble allowing him to take a single with a only a couple of men in the circle. Harsha said-”Kumble would take a photograph of this and show to his grand children and say that this was the field that Brett Lee had for me when I was 37!”
- Once, Chris Gayle was demolishing the opposition in the Indian Premier League. Every other ball had to be brought back to the park and at that moment Harsha responded in his canny manner “6 and 4 seems to have become the new Binary Code for this man.“
- Geoffrey Boycott during one of the lunch breaks: Sachin maybe a great batsman but he has never been on the Lords honours boards! Harsha Bhogle snapped: So whose loss is it more, Sachin’s or the honours boards?
- In one of the games, Dravid left an unplayable delivery while batting. To this Gavaskar, who was commenting alongside Harsha got impressed (which seemed to be Sunny’s favourite shot, considering his slow and defensive style of playing back then) and went on appreciating Rahul for a long time. Then Harsha replied, “Sunny, you nearly got an orgasm of happiness, didn’t you!” after that both went berserk laughing.
- Harsha Bhogle during the commentary on Rahul Dravid, in his first and last T20 international game, said this masterpiece quote “Ask him to walk on Water today!! He’ll say OK. Ask him to jump off a cliff with the form he is in with a parachute and he’ll say I don’t need it” This is one of my personal favourite as he whacked 3 consecutive sixes in that game and retired from that format like a boss.
- After seeing a splendid straight drive from the Little Master Harsha said, “Suddenly the world looks like a better place “and I can remember another one on Sachin. Well, Harsha used to like him to the core. It was like, once India lost two early wickets in a crucial game and to the contrary the crowd went frenzied (as they saw the Master blaster arriving). To that, he said “Eruption of joy at the fall of an Indian wicket can only mean one thing”.
- Once Dhoni had bowled Suresh Raina before the lunch Geoffrey Boycott during the lunch: What kind of a bowler he is? Even my grandmother could hit him out of the park!Harsha Bhogle: Your grandmother was the greatest batsman known to mankind! She could come down on a sticky wicket and score a hundred before lunch.
- India versus. England 2002: When Sachin once got out on a dolly facing a part time spinner Harsha said, “Oh what a shame. It was reminiscent of a soldier who survived the war when all the bullets were flying by his nose and then got run over by a bicycle in his native town.
- This one is from the Ind -Aus test at Chennai when Ashwin joined Dhoni at the crease – “Dhoni is extremely quick between the wickets, and Ashwin, let us just say he has other skills”. In a match against England, he mocked Ashwin again. That time Ashwin had just come to the crease and he started playing some playing unconventional cricket shots. To that, he told “Ashwin has just played 3 shots that no father will ever teach to his child.”
- In a test match in England, Umpire Rudi Koertzen was spotted grinning due to some fielding fiascos. On that he whipped “Oh, Rudi Koertzen is smiling, last time he smiled, there was peace in west Asia.“
- This is from the NatWest trophy final, July 13, 2002 Lord’s. When the callow Yuvraj got out chasing England’s 326 Harsha said “Yuvraj Singh will realize that this will be his longest walk back to the pavilion “. In the same match after Nasser’s lucky (which resulted after a lot of miss timed shots and edges here and there) ton he told “Nasser Hussain is trying desperately hard to find innovative ways of getting himself out. At last when Kaif was cruising India’s ship to victory the expert commented “if you are not watching this segment of play, don’t ever call yourself a cricket lover any more.You are watching cricket of a very high order here”.
- Here’s an old one. At Perth Adam Gilchrist took a blinder and he described Gilly’s dive as – “Some of the sea-gulls flying here are going to get a complex.“
- Once Smith dropped Sachin in a Test match at a vital stage that actually costed them the game. To that he responded “Graeme Smith would be hoping that the world under his feet opens up and he would find a crevice large enough for him to slip through.”
- In a SL-Aus game when Harsha said this to Ian Chappell, “I am sure you’ll never become a lawyer, I understand everything you say “he was left dumbstruck.
- Once he was hosting the ICC Awards before the T20 World Cup and he called on Jonty Rhodes to present an award. As Rhodes began walking down the stairs, Harsha exclaimed, ”it’s pretty unusual to see Jonty walk down the stairs, I thought he might slide down them!”
- In one of the T20 games in Australia, wickets started to fall like a pack of cards. To that he said -” This series is sponsored by KFC and the wickets are falling faster than their deliveries.”
- Once Gambhir was dropped twice on consecutive deliveries, – “We should conduct a dream job in Australia & the winner will get to stand in the slip region.“
- Dhoni was batting and Kumble was at the non striker’s end. Dhoni called for a tight single, and what Harsha told still cracks me up.” Dhoni scrambles for a single and causes Anil Kumble and all of his 37 years to rush to the other end.”
- After Shaun Tait did not live up to the hype Australian media had created around him, punter took him off the attack. Harsha, in his own inimitable style: ‘Shaun Tait should go up to Ricky Ponting and say ” Hello Mr Ponting, my name is Shaun Tait, and I am supposed to take 45 wickets in this test match “and I think in the same game when Michael Clarke was caught at slip off Kumble, he was still waiting for the decision, over this he taunted,” I think he is waiting for tomorrow’s newspaper to declare him out”
- Once Laxman was fighting for a game with the Indian tail.RP Singh was his partner. Aussies wanted Laxman to go off strike so that they could attack RP. Thus, they spread out the field completely, with only the keeper, one slip and one gully inside the 30 yards circle. But Laxman went on shielding RP for so many overs and when RP came on strike Harsha laughed and said “Now suddenly, Don Bradman is batting out there in the middle.”
- During the 2014 Ind-Eng series, when Matt Prior was constantly chirping from behind, to that he said,” This guy must have swallowed a dictionary”
- When the Indian skipper Dhoni lost the toss on a trot Harsha remarked, “MS DHONI has yet again called for heads to the coin which has two tails”
- “Robin Uthappa will write in his CV – Played for India as batsman at No 8 when Irfan Pathan was prompted at 3 “, this was quoted in the Melbourne ODI.
- I just wonder can Zaheer write a letter to BCCI, can I get fielders who can take catches” after 2 catches were dropped in one Zaheer Khan’s over (England 2007)
- In an IPL match when Dwayne Smith very luckily survived 3 times, Harsha said “After the match I am taking Smith to a Casino”
- Admiring Sachin “The greatness of a batsman is not measured by the number of big innings he has played, its measured by the standard deviation of his scores from his average. That is the hallmark of a consistent batsman and that’s what makes Sachin Tendulkar the greatest batsman on Earth”.
- India doesn’t have a set fast bowling attack, describes about some bowlers and our Pravin Kumar has vanished. To that Sunil Gavaskar asked, “Vanished or banished”? In his legendary style Harsha replied “Well if you are from Bengal, both mean the same. He actually vanished though!”
- In one of the IPL games seeing a lot of slow stuff from Rajat Bhatia, “Any bowler has three pace variations- fast, medium slow but this guy has slow, slower and slowest.”
- After his recent sparkling performance against India in the test series, “Stuart Broad is the kind of player we all love to hate, but secretly admire.”
Finally I shall sum up the post with something that I relate the most to “If you really want something, you will get it and there is no scientific explanation for this.”
The fact that he is a chemical Engineer; I strongly feel he is that sort of a chemist who,with every game makes the world of cricket a healthy and fun place through his delightful insights just like an experienced chemist would contribute to the field of medical sciences.
Thank you for everything Harsha.