Listening to Harsha Bhogle !

I had an opportunity to listen to Harsha Bhogle at a conference. And it was an insightful discussion. Harsha threw open the floor to questions in sometime, and as much as i marveled at the spontaneity and ease of his answers, i couldn’t help but notice the depth of some questions that came from the audience. Young minds and their passion exhibited best through and innate understanding of cricket and its nuances.
I found this on ABC’s website : “Harsha is regarded as Indian cricket’s first non-player celebrity. He hosts television programs such as Harsha Online and Harsha Unplugged and refreshingly combines the talents of Oprah Winfrey and Richie Benaud in the roles of presenter, quizmaster, interviewer, panellist and commentator.” After listening to him, i cant help agree more !

The IIM-A grad metamorphising into the cricket commentator that we all know of, was quite insightful to understand. So were some of the vagaries of cricket,from somebody who is up-close and personal to the pitch of the game! As i sat listening to him respond & push the audience to think and keep the conversation relevant to context, i couldn’t help but notice that Harsh has grown & evolved as well.

He talked of Ravi Shastri as somebody who grew into a commentator. I would imagine that Harsha himself has unlearnt and relearnt quite a few things to be where he is : a household name in Indian cricket. Yet not surrounded by talks of retirement or the odd controversy that seems to invariably tag players!

When asked about some of the best times and people that he had worked with, he talked about his liking of working with people who ‘provoke’ him, that caused him to be ‘on gaurd’ and ‘better prepared’ ! Naturally, its the aussies that he loves working with ! And it is ‘earnest’ cricketers like Anil Kumble that he admires quite a bit.

To me, the most enjoyable parts of his presentation were the quips that flew like a water from half closed hose pipe ! Some his and some quoted. Here are a few :

‘Bowling to Azhar would be like bowling to a revolving door. You never knew where the ball was going to be despatched to’

Laxman treats the ball with a certain degree of kindness. A kindness that the bat talks through a friendly caressing of the ball, to the boundary !

Sehwag’s reported comment : “Am playing the ball. Not the bowler’ If you dont grow, your standing actually comes down !

Shane Warne comes up with lines on his SMS that he perhaps cant come up with a ball !

McGrath’s reported comment after turning up, tired for a game : “I dont have petrol in the tank. I am running on fumes”

The learning was metaphorical. And extremely relevant and impactful ! Some parts of the interaction with him stay with me. Here is a small sprinking.

  • Humility wins & how the real champions are proud of who they play for, yet very humble.
  • Champions staying respectful of the opposition, yet being fiercely competitive.
  • On how important it is set big targets and go towards them.
  • On how the real champions let their game do all the talking.
  • On why trying too hard sometimes can be our undoing.
  • And how different times require different leaders.

These are universal truths. But the fact that it came packaged in the guise of a chap who comments on a game that the nation follows, has impact. The fact that he has got me think and reflect on broad connects is in itself an indication that the pathway to learning has been well created.

The cherry on the cake was this quip, that cracked me up so much that i had a hard time stopping myself from rolling on the floor !

“Siddhu cant do commentary anymore, because in commentary you have to pause” !!!!

I am still laughing !

9 thoughts on “Listening to Harsha Bhogle !

  1. HOBO says:

    Harsha got unlimited memory slot.

  2. Lekhni says:

    Harsha Bhogle is very good, no doubt. But how much of his early success, do you think, was due to the “IIM-A” brand and that he is articulate and made-for-TV. With time, of course, he has grown in expertise as well!

  3. Carnic says:

    Household name yes but his dominance is coming down given he’s aligned to ESS network….the rate at which its going he may vanish from our TV screens unless he does something soon…

  4. manuscrypts says:

    lol@ the sidhu barb 🙂

  5. Yes. Sidhu can no longer do commentary. He has been paused. Not by peers but by a court verdict. He is in jail. 🙂

  6. //he talked about his liking of working with people who ‘provoke’ him, that caused him to be ‘on gaurd’ and ‘better prepared’ ! //

    man this is so true. probe and poke and turn the stones and you find the gold. hemm or if you dont, you know where not to look again?

    //On why trying too hard sometimes can be our undoing. //

    excellent post.

  7. Kavi says:

    Hobo: Oh yes ! He has !!

    Lekhni: I guess there was a combination of many things. Including his degree and articulation! Whats more important is that he has evolved over time !

    Carnic: yOu have a point there. But he is far too highly regarded, dont you think ?

    manu: :))

    Kamal: Really ? I didnt know that. so he has paused indeed !

  8. Carnic says:

    he is…but the way the channel domination is swinging he may soon shrink to yesteryears cricket commentator / celebrity. shastri & gavaskar made smart moves to ipl that way!!!

  9. Shiva says:

    Though I dont follow cricket, I enjoyed reading this post.

    I thought Sidhu is a sitting MP and had glimpses of him yesterday in the proceedings….May be got bailed to cast his vote..

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