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Harsha Bhogle discusses the early influences that shaped his commentary, censorship, unsavoury trysts on twitter and physical attributes in television presenting. Arun Venugopal of the Hindu has more.
You will find very few networks on cricket broadcast actually taking on matters of this sensitivity. So, for example, you won't find anyone talking about why a Pakistan player shouldn't be in the IPL. [These are] very sensitive matters that you have got to be careful not to inflame. In my case, I am very clear that my job here is not to be an opinion-maker, but to be a storyteller. I believe I am an opinion-maker on Twitter, in my articles. But, I have never ever been told, 'You will not say this'. I have just been told, 'Let's not say something that might offend.' That was a long time ago. In recent times, I haven't been told that.
#WeNeedit was the hashtag under which Wirral, a cricket club in north-west England, sent out pleas to cricketers Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff for a "few hours coaching" after they were bowled out for just three runs. Out of those three, only one run came off the bat, that too from the No. 11, as the first ten batsmen remarkably ended up earning ducks.
Australia legspinner, Fawad Ahmed's decision not to wear a beer-company sponsor's logo on his country shirt has sparked off a debate which has quickly moved beyond cricket and to touch upon larger issues of immigration and integration within the Australian society. A few have criticised Ahmed for his decision but as Malcolm Knox points out in the Sydney Morning Herald, the issue is not just about one player but about sport being open to changes within societies and cultures.
Whenever sports try to insulate themselves from change, they self-destruct. So let's imagine that a national symbol, such as the gold shirt Ahmed wears as an Australian one-day cricketer, does not impose a national character. Let's imagine that it's the wearer who changes the character of the shirt. In Ahmed's personal history, is there not the courage and durability we associate with a Hewitt (or a Dawn Fraser, a Herb Elliott, a Dennis Lillee, take your pick)? In his refusal to wear a VB logo, is there not something of that wilfulness that we like to call ''Australian''? In choosing to be here, rather than being born here, has he not already proved something?
Ahmed also finds support from Guardian writer, Joe Gorman who says his decision not wear the logo should be praised if Australia truly values moral conviction.
Most of you have probably heard several jokes about 'Sir' Ravindra Jadeja, in the Chuck Norris/Rajnikanth template, floating around. How about his one? "Sir Jadeja once wanted to make a silt mountain to play as a kid, now we all call it Mt Everest." That one's courtesy Jadeja's India and Chennai Super Kings' captain, MS Dhoni.
Jadeja had to put up with some serious ribbing from Dhoni and his Super Kings' team-mates on Tuesday, prior to their evening practice session in Mohali. Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, and even franchise official Gurunath Meiyappan, all got into the act, tweeting joke after joke about "Sir Jadeja". Among other things, Jadeja was credited with inventing something new every time he made an error, making the road move whenever he sat in his jeep with the intention of going for a drive, and making the ball come to him instead of running to claim a catch.
Jadeja's response? He tweeted Dhoni and Raina confirming he had no intention of being the next Rajnikanth, and went on to pose for photos in the team bus with Raina.
God realised RAJNI sir is getting old so he created sir ravindra jadeja— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) April 9, 2013
Sirr Jaddduuu Off to training lol twitter.com/ImRaina/status…— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) April 9, 2013
Suresh Raina has become the latest of a long list of cricketers who have got into trouble over their tweets - but his response might be the cue for future explanations. Minutes after Pakistan's semi-final loss to Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20, a tweet from his account mocked Pakistan for the manner of their defeat.
Expectedly, the tweet caused a furore over social media and it was several hours before Raina responded - by blaming his "nephew".
Smart phones r dangerous. Discovered it last night after my nephew posted random tweets. I'm a sportsman and would never disrespect.— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) October 5, 2012
Cue a host of re-tweets and even a "Raina's nephew" twitter handle with tweets about the "uncle's" exploits. Kevin Pietersen may well be wondering why he hadn't thought of something similar when asked about the controversial messages he allegedly sent to South African players.