“We watch batsmen and bowlers on the cricket field but we fail to see the human (being) behind the batsman or bowler. You realise that Sachin (Tendulkar) or (Rahul) Dravid have such unique personalities,” said Harsha Bhogle, cricket commentator, speaking at Gappa, a talk show organised by Loksatta.
Bhogle said every cricketer endures tremendous pressure not only related to playing the sport but also in their personal lives. “Tendulkar had a lot of support from his family. I remember when I had asked him what goes inside his mind before he goes onto the field, he told me that he does not think of anything and keeps his mind blank. However, due to vigorous training, all the techniques and aspects related to the game is programmed in his mind in such a way that he plays on instinct. So when you asked him why he played that way… that is instinct, an outcome of his prior programming in his mind. People call him a genius. He did not, however, attain his talent due to God’s grace only. We often forget the hard work behind it.”
When asked about the pressure young cricketers face, Bhogle said, “Each and every one of them have worked hard to reach where they are. Imagine having a failure in front of millions watching you on their television sets. The pressure becomes high. Additionally, most of them come from humble backgrounds wherein the sudden fame adds to this pressure.”
Speaking about Rahul Dravid, Bhogle said that he was always open to challenges — whether when asked to open the innings or when asked to keep wickets. “Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar…I was very lucky to have entered during their time. Their best time coincided with my time,” Bhogle said.
Commenting on when MS Dhoni will take a call on his retirement, Bhogle said: “Dhoni is a very private person so we might not know when he will take that decision. Some people dislike being in the limelight. We won the 2011 World Cup and Dhoni was not even in the pictures. He knows what his capability is and he also knows he cannot be the player he was before.”
On the spectator interest in Test matches in comparison to T20, he said Test matches will retain its charm among both the players as well as the audience since it is the only sport that offers a second innings to redeem the mistakes made in the first.
Answering a question about Imran Khan the captain versus Imran Khan the prime minister, Bhogle said, “He was brilliant as a captain. As far as his current position is concerned, it is surely difficult to cope with subjects like economy and defence. However, I stay away from politics in general.”