All international cricket and most of the other leagues barring the Pakistan Super League (PSL) are called off or cancelled. And has been a huge talking point. But there has been another significant talking amidst this COVID-19 issue.
Reports say that former India cricketer and Sanjay Manjrekar was ousted from the commentary panel by the BCCI. The reports suggest that the 54-year-old Mumbaikar wasn’t on the commentary panel for the India-South Africa series and he may not be included for the 2020 season of the IPL as well. A source revealed that the BCCI was not happy with his work.
Social media went berserk after the news broke out. Over the last couple of years, he has received a lot of flak from the fans. However, people deem his ouster may have been due to political reasons as well. Manjrekar was very vocal about CAA and also expressed his support for JNU. The cricketer turned commentator had given his thumbs up to Mumbai who protested and were standing with JNU.
Well done Mumbai! https://t.co/IpVWhpd3A9
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 7, 2020
However, there might be a few other reasons. Thus, here are three reasons why Manjrekar faced the axe.
1. The ‘bits and pieces cricketer’ comment
During the 2019 World Cup, Ravindra Jadeja played just one league game and that was against Sri Lanka. He returned with figures of 1/40. But before that, Sanjay Manjrekar who was on the World Cup commentary panel said that he is not a fan of a ‘bits and pieces cricketer’ like Ravindra Jadeja.
It didn’t go down well with the Saurashtra all-rounder who took to Twitter to express his displeasure. Jadeja was agitated and said that he had enough of Manjrekar’s ‘verbal diarrhoea’. Jadeja was the standout player in the semi-final for India. Be it in the field, with the ball or with the bat, the left-handed all-rounder was simply brilliant.
Still i have played twice the number of matches you have played and i m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved.i have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea.@sanjaymanjrekar
— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) July 3, 2019
In fact, after Jadeja’s fifty, he was seen gesturing to Manjrekar in the commentary box as well. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan tried trolling the Indian commentator during the semi-final but ended up being blocked by Manjrekar.
Hence, this situation blew up quite a bit and Manjrekar received a lot of flak for this. However, he did admit in the post-show after the semi-final that ‘By bits ‘n’ pieces of sheer brilliance, he’s [Jadeja] ripped me apart on all fronts.’
2. The duel with Harsha Bhogle
Harsha Bhogle is one of the very few commentators going around in world cricket who has not played any international or even domestic cricket at the highest level for that matter. He is highly respected in the cricketing fraternity. However, there was a duel he had with Sanjay Manjrekar during the pink-ball Test in Kolkata.
Harsha Bhogle thought that it would be a good idea to ask the players on what they feel about the visibility factor and was conveying his thoughts on air. However, Manjrekar who was also on air with him at that moment argued against it and said that those who’ve played the game have a fair idea of what’s happening.
Bhogle tried to explain and give an in-depth analysis of his point. But Manjrekar didn’t agree to it at all. Here is a gist of how the conversation went along on air.
Harsha Bhogle: When there’s a post-mortem done on this game, and there should be a post-mortem done on this game, visibility of that ball will be factor against the white sightscreen.
Sanjay Manjrekar: Don’t think so. Because when you see the slip catchers, the way they have taken catches, I don’t think visibility is an issue at all. The texture of the ball is the issue.
Harsha Bhogle: Definitely ask batsmen on both sides.
Sanjay Manjrekar: Do you think Virat Kohli wasn’t seeing the ball properly?
Harsha Bhogle: Or Ajinkya Rahane, or Cheteshwar Pujara. Ask all of them, just ask them, ‘what do you think?'”. Because if pink-ball cricket is going to be a regular feature, then you want to make sure everything’s working.
Sanjay Manjrekar: Don’t we get an indication watching from the outside whether the batsman is seeing the ball properly or not?
Harsha Bhogle: Doesn’t cost anything to ask. Always good to know everything around you. If I was doing a post-mortem, I’d ask everything because I want to know everything about the pink-ball game. To see, if everything’s working, why are so many batsmen getting hit.
Sanjay Manjrekar: You need to ask, Harsha. For us, who have played the game, we get a fair idea of what’s happening out there. Have been watching two-and-a-half days, three days of cricket, I don’t think visibility is an issue. We’ve seen some terrific catches taken in the slips, on the boundary as well.
Harsha Bhogle: When you have played the game, you get a very good idea of what’s happening, what the conditions are. But it cannot be a limitation to learning. If you’d never asked players, you’d never have got T20 cricket, you’d never have got day-night cricket. So sometimes it’s best to ask everybody what they think and justify your hypothesis rather than rolling it out before asking. That’s the only point I’m making.
Sanjay Manjrekar: Point taken, but don’t agree.
Manjrekar did apologize for his action later on. But it may have well been one of the reasons why he was ousted as he didn’t respect the views of his fellow commentator.
3. Because of his Mumbai bias
There have been plenty of question marks over Sanjay Manjrekar’s quality of commentary. But one of the often criticisms that he’s received is his bais towards cricketer hailing from Mumbai and even Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL for that matter. He’s often heard favouring MI in the IPL or talking up Mumbai cricketers on air.
In fact, last year during the IPL, he even bluntly supported MI in the final. MS Dhoni was involved in a controversial run-out decision. The third umpire was taking a long time to give his verdict which was OUT in the end. Manjrekar later admitted that throughout the course of the review when the third umpire was having a look, he was hoping that the TV umpire would rule it out.
“I was hoping all the time during the review that Dhoni should be out,” was what he said on air. There were multiple trolls and Twitter slammed him for his MI bias and even called him a Mumbai Indians cheerleader. Hence, his biased commentary could’ve also been one of the reasons.
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