Former India cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was sacked for the India-South Africa ODI series in March, which was unfortunately postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Five months after the sacking, Manjrekar has written to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and the apex council requesting to be reinstated.
He has written an e-mail to the BCCI, which was leaked online, saying that he is offering to apologize “if I have offended anyone.” The former right-handed batsman stated that he would be “happy to apologize” and that the sacking has “shaken my confidence” and was a “big jolt”. He also noted that a BCCI official called him and told him that he was let go because “some players had an issue with me as a commentator”.
Manjrekar has said that he would abide by the BCCI rules and would like to be included in the panel for the upcoming IPL 2020, to be held in UAE.
“You are already in receipt of the email I sent to explain my position as a commentator. With the IPL dates announced, bcci.tv will pick its commentary panel soon. I will be happy to work as per the guidelines laid by you. After all, we are working on what is essentially your production. Last time, maybe there was not enough clarity on this issue,” he wrote.
Manjrekar had caused quite an uproar after calling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja a “bits-and-pieces player” during the 2019 World Cup. He was attacked by the Indian cricket fans on Twitter and even Jadeja replied to Manjrekar calling his comments ‘verbal diarrhea’.
Jadeja then went onto play a memorable inning in the semi-final loss against New Zealand and Manjrekar had to eat his words saying “By bits and by pieces, he just ripped me apart today.”
In his e-mail to BCCI, Manjrekar pointed out problems faced by the commentators today saying, “Anyone who has followed my career as a commentator would know that I have no malicious agenda against anyone and that my opinions come from a very pure place that I hold sacred. It’s cricket we are talking about, a sport that’s given to me and my father so much.”
“I was greatly hurt! Especially because this came as a real shock!” he added.
“So, really, this sacking for whatever reason has shaken my confidence as a professional. If unwittingly, I have offended anyone I would be happy to apologize to the concerned party,” Manjrekar said.
He also said that the Jadeja episode should now be put to rest saying that the issue was blown out of proportions. He mentioned that he was hurt finding out that he was not good enough and listed his standing as a commentator.
“I am also one of the first Indian commentators that get rostered for the World Cups by the ICC. I did my job with great pride and a 100 percent commitment and suddenly not found to be good enough to be in the panel was a big jolt,” he said.
Here are some excerpts from the e-mail Sanjay Manjrekar sent to the BCCI:
Dear esteemed members of the Apex Council,
In February 2020, completely out of the blue, I was told by Dev Shriyan, the head of the production, BCCI Tv, that I was being removed from the commentary panel.
I have publicly maintained that — “the BCCI are my employers and they have every right to either have me or not, in their commentary panel. I have never considered being on a commentary panel an entitlement.”
But here, amongst a small circle of important stakeholders of Indian cricket, friends, and colleagues, please allow me to open my heart.
I was greatly hurt! Especially because this came as a real shock!
I did my job with great pride and a 100 percent commitment and suddenly not found to be good enough to be in the panel was a big jolt.
Later I was told on the phone by a senior office-bearer that some players had an issue with me as a commentator. Now here is where our job gets a bit tricky.
If we are not seen praising the iconic players all the time, the fans of those players tend to assume that we are antagonistic towards the players they worship. That’s the professional hazard we have to live with doing our job. Anyone who has followed my career as a commentator would know that I have no malicious agenda against anyone and that my opinions come from a very pure place that I hold sacred. It’s cricket we are talking about, a sport that’s given to me and my father so much.
My comments and opinions could be wrong, but they are never personal, derogatory, or borne out of prejudice or cunning design, I am only biased towards excellence in performances, whether it’s a team or a player.
Now, let’s take the ‘ bits and pieces’ comment that got blown out of proportion during the last World Cup.
‘Bits and pieces’ is a cricketing term commonly used for cricketers who are non-specialists. It is regularly used by commentators to describe certain players and it’s never considered to be demeaning.
The player concerned obviously misunderstood this or was perhaps misinformed. By the way, the player and I have since privately made peace over this issue.
So, really, this sacking for whatever reason has shaken my confidence as a professional. If unwittingly, I have offended anyone I would be happy to apologize to the concerned party.