BCCI removes contract system for commentators

The Indian board has now decided to engage commentators on a per-match-day-fee basis and series by series.

Harsha Bhogle found himself surprisingly omitted from commentary service for IPL.   -  Bhagya Prakash K.

The BCCI has done away with the practice of awarding annual and series contracts to cricketers-turned-commentators — Indian and overseas — and also professional commentators. It has now decided to engage them on a per-match-day-fee basis and series by series.

After the ongoing IPL season, India is scheduled to play home internationals against Bangladesh (one-off Test in August), New Zealand (3 Tests and 5 ODIs, October-November), England (5 Tests, November-December), England (5 ODIs, 1 Twenty20, January 2017) and Australia (4 Tests, February-March 2017).

Recently-retired cricketers like Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were the new faces offering expert comments in Hindi and English during the ICC World Twenty20 and it’s possible that more cricketers with a fan following and the gift of the gab may get opportunities soon. The BCCI engages former first-class cricketers for its domestic tournaments.

It’s the prerogative of the BCCI — that runs the in-house production department and supplies live feed of home international/domestic matches to Star Sports and the IPL matches to Sony Six for broadcast — to engage commentators. It is believed that International Management Group (IMG), which coordinates the production work, has informed commentator Harsha Bhogle that, at the directive of the BCCI, he is not being engaged for the IPL-9 for any media role.

Though there has been a lot of speculation as to the reasons for Bhogle not being considered, sources have revealed that he has had a telephonic talk with the BCCI president Shashank Manohar.