Sanjay Manjrekar’s axe from BCCI commentary panel has certainly evoked a debate across the Cricket World for quite some days now. There is news that the 54-year-old has also been dropped from the Board of Control for Cricket’s commentary panel and he might not be the part of Indian Premier League commentary panel also.
In 2019 ICC World Cup, his comments on Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and then the question marks– he drew over the credibility of renowned cricket expert and fellow commentator Harsha Bhogle– fetch several criticisms from the world over. In addition to all that, his support for CAA protestors and Mumbai bias while doing commentary have not come his good as well.
I have always considered commentary as a great privilege, but never an entitlement. It is up to my employers whether they choose to have me or not & I will always respect that. Maybe BCCI has not been happy with my performance of late. I accept that as a professional.
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 15, 2020
While the original reasons are still unknown, these could be the possible reasons for his exile.
In the last year’s World Cup in England, When Jadeja was not getting a game in the league stages before the famous Semi-Final and a league game before Sri Lanka. During a match, Sanjay Manjrekar called Jadeja a ‘bits and pieces’ player in the commentary box.
Jadeja furiously reacted to the statement from the former cricketer and replied, “Still I have played twice the number of matches you have played and I mstill playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved. i have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea.”
Jadeja had a good world cup last year as he came up with a stunning innings in the semi-final against New Zealand albeit in a losing cause and since than he has been regular in India’s limited over set-up.
In India’s only pink ball Test in Kolkata, he has worst kind of duel that you will ever see in commentary box. Harsha Bhogle is one of the best cricket analysts of current time. Though Bhogle has not played any international or domestic cricket at the highest level, yet he has a high regard in Cricket fraternity.
In a Pink ball test, there is always an issue of not watching the ball properly especially in lights due to its colour. On the same, Harsha tried to discuss the same thing with the players.
Sanjay Manjrekar, who was also with him in commentary box, however, make fun of Harsha’s inexperience as Cricketer. Majrekar said that those who’ve played the game have a fair idea of what’s happening.
This is what took place at the scene –
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 sight screen.
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, though, did apologize later. But the argument was a certain blemish on his career.
A commentator is supposed to be an ardent fan of good game instead of making bias statements. But Manjrekar was quite obvious that he was biased towards Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL. Both MI and Sanjay Manjrekar also received criticism for that matter later.
In last year’s IPL final, he was spotted supporting MI quite clearly. When CSK skipper MS Dhoni was being adjudged in a controversial run-out decision, Sanjay Manjrekar was heard supporting Mumbai Indians, while the third umpire was still having a look at the replays. “I was hoping all the time during the review that Dhoni should be out,” was what he said on air.
Well done Mumbai! https://t.co/IpVWhpd3A9
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 7, 2020