If Sachin is the ‘God’ of cricket, Harsha is the undisputed ‘Guru’
“The one thing we should all try to do in life is to convert a problem into an advantage, into an opportunity. Because I didn’t have much to start with, I tried much harder than anyone else, I was never afraid of learning.” – Harsha Bhogle
Who would have thought that that nerdy kid down the block would become one of the major faces of cricket? But this is exactly what happened to Harsha Bhogle, India’s finest cricket commentator and journalist. Turn on a cricket match, and you’ll find him wearing a neat suit and a shy smile as he holds the microphone and speaks into the camera, oblivious to the billion eyes boring into him from the multi-layered stands. With his deep insights into the game, Harsha is an internationally acclaimed name in the world of cricket.
Born into a Marathi-speaking family of two Professors in Hyderabad, Harsha spent his most of his growing years in the City of Nizams. Securing his degree in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, he turned to the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), where he completed his post-graduate program. After receiving his degree, he joined a non-descript advertising agency where he worked for two years. Following this, he moved along to work in a sports management company for another two years before he decided to jump headlong into the world of cricket.
Although Harsha had nurtured an avid interest in playing cricket as a teenager, he only went up to APCA levels and managed to make an impression at only small-level cricket. Despite realising that playing on the field wasn’t for him, he refused to be dissuaded. Rather, he was determined to be a part of the game in any way he could. He thus took to commentating.
Harsha’s stint with cricket commentary began quite early. He had received the opportunity to commentate for the All India Radio at 19, while he was still stationed in Hyderabad. Setting off from here, tides turned in his favour when he became the first Indian cricket commentator to be called by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1991-1992 for India’s series. This was his making point, and ever since, he has been working for ABC Radio Grandstand for Australian tours of India. On the Western Scale, Harsha worked for eight years with the BBC as a part of its commentary team, with noteworthy contributions in the 1996 and 1999 Cricket World Cups.
As the initial years wore off, Harsha became an intrinsic part of the game and a powerhouse in cricket commentary and writing. Adam Gilchrist called him “India’s Richie Benaud equivalent and the guru of cricket from India.” Sachin Tendulkar had said, “I have realised that speaking to him (Harsha) sometimes opens up completely different perspectives in addition to the ones I already have…”
Sachin Tendulkar had said, “I have realised that speaking to him (Harsha) sometimes opens up completely different perspectives in addition to the ones I already have…”
Harsha went on to become the face of ESPN from the day the channel was launched. His role expanded to Star Sports and Star Cricket, which hosted signature programs like ‘Harsha Unplugged’ and ‘Harsha On-line’, reigning in all the viewership.
Despite his rapid rise to success, Harsha had his share of mishaps and struggles. These, he said, helped him grow in his professional life. “Little failures are like potholes on a road. After a while, you know where not to drive. Also, you learn what not to do and it was thus that I learnt what I did about television. So if you fail, don’t think it is the end of the world. Ask yourself why you failed and promise yourself that you will never do it again. You will actually emerge tougher,” he says (as stated in his official blog).
When the controversy regarding his elimination from this year’s IPL commentary team reigned in, critics and fans were equally surprised and enraged with the Board’s decision. The man who had become the face of Indian cricket commentary was banned from relegating the tides of the country’s biggest annual sports league. However, Harsha did not let the humiliation or admonishment stall him from kicking back and brushing the crumbs off his sleeve. He continues to sparkle through the dark night as he rumbles through the mechanics of everyone’s favourite game.
Today, on his 55th Birthday, we wish him the best as he continues to win us over with those rounded glasses, clear-cut voice and shy smile.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)