An Exclusive Interview with Harsha Bhogle

An Exclusive Interview with Harsha Bhogle

Harsha Bhogle

 

It was in 1990 that the Indian Institute of management-Ahmedabad alumnus by education and chemical engineer by training went, by chance, to cover India’s tour of England and astonishingly by the time the tour was over, he became one of the most sought-after bylines in Indian cricket writing. Cricket commentator, columnist and the face of Indian cricket commentary, Harsha Bhogle, talks with Journalist  Mansoor Parey about a wide range of things including a career as a TV Commentator.

 

Q1. Harsha ji you were on air on radio at the age of nineteen. How did that happen and then ABC {Australian Broadcasting Corporation}?

Harsha Bhogle: Yes, I did my first Ranji trophy match at nineteen. I did a demo tape for air Hyderabad on one of my league matches and they were kind enough to hear it. The station director, a big jovial man, said he liked it and was bold enough to put a kind on the air. I also started doing 2-minute reports. In 1991, I wanted to broadcast overseas. The ABC said they had a very strict quality adherence policy and would need to hear something. Luckily my father had recorded some commentary from an Irani trophy match and I had the cassette. I made a copy on one of those old two deck tape machines and sent it by registered post. Got a fax back sayings I was okay for one test, that they would take it from there but their policy was that the overseas broadcaster is paid by his station that was fine for me. Worked my backside of doing a lot of other stuff ghosting columns, writing two a day every day, shooting features, anything, so I could do commentary for which I wasn’t paid anything, but the ABC gave me a very nice testimonial that came in handy when TWI were looking for commentators in India.

Q2. Cricket, as I gather, is not the only sport you follow, I have personally heard you quoting records of football, tennis and even Carl Lewis. Were you always a sports freak? Have you commented other sports other than cricket?

Harsha Bhogle: Not exactly sports freak but since there was no television when we were growing up I read the entire sports page, played virtually every sport in our colony but was always more serious about cricket which I played at school, college and senior division in Hyderabad and for my university in all India inter-university. I try and watch as much of other sport as I can [watching a bit of Chelsea vs Tottenham at the moment! But I am not as much of a freak as many of others I know. I did commentary in a hockey match once and I promise that I would never do it again I think you must love the sport you work on.

Q3. Did your family ever find it odd. What did they say when you said you wanted to do something other than advertising?

Harsha Bhogle: Oh no! Not at all because the decision to freelance was took when I was 29. It wasn’t a risky decision because Anita worked and we had a house. Plus I knew that I could get a job in advertising again if it didn’t work out. In retrospect, I realised I did not think too much. But it would be very difficult now because the opportunity cost would be too high. Salaries are seriously good so giving it up would be tough.

Q4. Do you think your education at HPS, Osmania University and IIMA gave something different to you that helped you in becoming what you are?

Harsha Bhogle: School at HPS helped me enormously because that is where I started playing cricket. Had a good “PET SIR” and outstanding English and chemistry teachers and those are the three memories that I carry. College wasn’t a great learning experience. The biggest thing in its favour was that it was in Hyderabad and that allowed me to play a lot of cricket and do a lot of radio and television but by far the greatest influence was IIM-A. It gave me confidence and a different outlook on life. It also gave me the desire to excel. You see, I had to be aware of what my batch mates were doing and if I hadn’t made some progress early on I don’t know how long I would have done it. Even today, it isn’t the number of games I’ve covered that gets me as much respect as the fact that I’ve an unusual educational background.

Q5. Harsha, many youngsters want to be Commentators, your Suggestions for them?

Harsha Bhogle: A new trend has emerged that if you are a test Cricketer you could be a good commentator but it is all wrong and this logic lowers the standard of commentary. I think it is becoming very difficult to become a TV Commentator. You could work as a Reporter for any News Channel but if you want to cover Sports then you should be Sports Loving, your language should be fluent, you should not think you know everything, and should always be ready to Work.

Q6. What do you think, is your biggest achievement so far in your Career?

Harsha Bhogle: When I think of my achievements I find myself very lucky. I think presenting world cup final and hosting T20 world cup really are big achievements for me. Indian cricket has given a lot to me. I cannot even remember how much I have achieved in my 25 years of career.

Q7. Sir You Message for our Readers?

Harsha Bhogle: A Cricket is very Gentle game keep watching it like a gentleman. Itis not a war, we should enjoy each match as a good game of Cricket. We just tell stories but there are twenty-two players in the field who make these stories. After each match everyone goes home and next day we have another game.

Q8. Sir Who is your Favorite Cricketer?

Harsha Bhogle: I have many favorite cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble Rahul Dravid.

Q9. Sir, you have Visited Kashmir once. How did you Feel Here?.

Harsha Bhogle: Yes, absolutely right.  I have visited  Kashmir only once when I was with Discovery Channel. I went to Pahalgam and Gulmarg, and saw Dal Lake. These are amazing places that I want to see again and again. Politics is everywhere but I want to tell all those living outside the Kashmir valley to visit once. I am sure once you visit Kashmir you would not like to leave this place.

 

Sir, it was really pleasure to talk to you!

Pleasure is always mine. Thank You, Mansoor…

 

Interviewer Mansoor has already interviewed over 100 influential personalities throughout the world.

Feedback: parymansoor@gmail.com

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