As the curtains to the fourth season of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) fall tonight, one of cricket’s most celebrated commentators Harsha Bhogle, 49, says he is not really glad the way this season has shaped up.
“We’ve not really seen that close matches this time,” he says before adding, “But it’s still very young (the series). It’ll take a little time. Any case to come out of a big emotional high after the world cup is not easy.”
Buzz or no buzz, the on-field action, however, has been hot, with regular PDA’s courtesy Siddhartha Mallaya-Deepika Padukone and Shane Warne-Liz Hurley.
“Oh don’t worry about that. Once Warne is bowling to a (Chris) Gayle, it doesn’t matter who’s travelling with him or where Gayle comes from,” says Harsha.
And what’s his take on the recent controversy, where an IPL team Mumbai Indian’s cheerleader was sacked after making accusations against players, sponsors and fellow cheerleaders, in a blog.
“I don’t care about it. It happens everywhere. They got their job to do. My job is to see what happens on the cricket field and I’m quite happy doing that,” he says.
Doesn’t that put a black spot on the game? “Black spot over the game comes when such things happen on the ground,” says Harsha, who denies that IPL has led to excess commercialisation of cricket.
“The problem is other sports are not commercialised,” says the commentator, who has turned an author for the fourth time with his book The Winning Way: Learnings from Sport for Managers.
“Using the metaphor of sports, the books is meant for practicing managers,” he says.
Harsha’s wife Anita, who has co-authored the book with him, adds, “The beauty of sports is that people can see winning and losing, and they are passionate about it. Anecdotes and stories from sports stick to the mind. Thus, it helps in building an immediate connect and people can easily relate to them,” says Anita.
The couple thought of putting together the paperback copy (priced at Rs.200) after doing 300 such corporate programmes across different segments.
“And we thought of putting it all in a book,” says Anita.
It talks about the pursuit of excellence by delving into case studies of real-life situations to point out qualities that go into the making of a winner.
“Sports is a very strong team activity which is what very much what people discover in corporate life,” says Harsha.
Considering his expertise in cricket, so does the book has metaphors only about the game or in general too?
“It’s largely cricket centric but not only cricket centric. Cricket is largely similar to what happens in real life than any other sport. But we have lots of examples from football, cycling and even ad world,” he says.
So any other book in the pipeline?
“Not right now. It took about two years to finish this book because of difference of schedule as Harsha’s calendar has cricket tours,” says Anita.
Adds Harsha: “Ya. To be honest Anita’s done about 70% of the book.”
But no biography in the offing like the one he did on Mohd. Azharuddin? “No. It would take a very long time to do,” says Harsha.
But on any other aspect of life apart from sport?
“Nothing like that we have to stick to something. Sport and corporate are inter related. Also it’s what we understand,” he says.
The couple has also started a digital library bizpunditz for the practitioners in the corporate world.