Harsha Bhogle takes a stand, clarifies the role commentators to Amitabh Bachchan and co.

The nail-biting encounter between India and Bangladesh at Bangalore on Wednesday night attracted enormous attention when Amitabh Bachchan took to his Twitter handle accusing Indian commentators not giving enough credit to Indian players. According to him, during a live match, commentators speak more about other team players rather than Indian players.

Even Indian skipper MS Dhoni retweeted the great actor, writing, “Nothing to add.” India’s widely renowned commentator Harsha Bhogle responded to this gesture by Bachchan through his Facebook account, where he wrote detailed information. At first, Bhogle confessed of being a bit taken by the tweet from Amitabh and also said that he admired the star actor for the way he conducted himself. Bhogle in his post wrote, “I must confess to being a bit taken aback by the intensity of the criticism yesterday over the question of focussing more on Indian players during the telecast. It emerged after a tweet from Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, someone I admire enormously for the dignified way in which he has always conducted himself.”

Further, he gave a clarification saying that there are two kinds of broadcasts available to Indian viewers, the one available on Star Sports 1 is focused towards audience across the globe. And there is a rare chance of a commentator being biased on this platform.

Bhogle wrote, “There are two kinds of broadcasts available to Indian viewers. One, on Star Sports 1 is the world feed. That is the telecast, and commentary that goes to everyone around the world. That includes passionate fans in Bangladesh and Pakistan, in South Africa, Australia, England, the USA, everywhere. That broadcast must necessarily be an objective, balanced portrayal of events. Making that excessively India-centric means being unfair to other teams playing and to viewers from their countries who have the right to be as passionately involved as Indian supporters. And so, talking more about India, in a game like yesterday’s, would be letting down viewers in, say, Bangladesh. But the viewer must get insights into either team and so producers have commentators from each country who can draw a better picture of the players, and of the sentiments of their land.

Later he describes the role of Hindi commentary, which is mostly concentrated towards the geographical area which speaks that language. On this he wrote, “Then there is the Hindi feed that you watch on Star Sports 3. The pictures are largely the same but the telecast goes to a fairly well defined geographical zone. And, obviously, to people who understand Hindi. There the commentary can be India-centric, not biased but India-centric.”

Further, Bhogle also made it clear saying a role of a commentator is just to guide the viewer and not influence them. He termed a commentator as ‘storytellers’. Hopefully, the fuss is soon over and the tide is calmed down in the cricket fraternity.

Here is Bhogle’s full post: