Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, asking to be reinstated as a commentator when the team for Indian Premier League is decided, the Indian Express reported.
Manjrekar, who got embroiled in controversies in recent years for some of his views on air, was axed from the BCCI’s commentary panel for the South Africa series that was eventually suspended when the nation went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have always considered commentary as a great privilege, but never an entitlement,” the 55-year-old had tweeted back then. “It is up to my employers whether they choose to have me or not and I will always respect that. Maybe BCCI has not been happy with my performance of late. I accept that as a professional.”
Now, in the email to BCCI’s Apex Council, reproduced by the Indian Express, Manjrekar, however, said that the move came as a jolt to him and hurt him as a professional. He said that, while he publicly maintaining the stance that BCCI had the right to sack him as the employers, personally he felt hurt.
“I was greatly hurt. Especially because this came as a real shock,” Manjrekar wrote. “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.”
“This sacking, for whatever reason, has shaken my confidence as a professional. If unwittingly, I have offended anyone I would be happy to apologise to the concerned party,” Manjrekar added.
The former India batsman also claimed that he was by a senior BCCI office bearer that some players had an issue with me as a commentator.
On Friday, The Times of India reported that Manjrekar told BCCI that he was ready to work as per the guidelines.
“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 is reported to have told the Apex Council.
Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs for India, had courted controversy during last year’s World Cup when he termed Ravindra Jadeja a “bits and pieces cricketer”, something that didn’t go well with the Saurashtra all-rounder, who questioned the Mumbaikar’s cricketing credentials.
Manjrekar later admitted that Jadeja had ripped him apart with his brilliance in the World Cup 2019 semi-final that India lost.
In his latest email, Manjrekar said he had made peace with Jadeja and that the issue was blown out of proportion. “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,” he added, reiterating that he has no bias towards any cricketer.
He was also panned on social media for his on-air comment about fellow commentator Harsha Bhogle during the day-night Test when he questioned the latter’s credibility for judging the visibility of the ball since he hasn’t played at the highest level. Manjrekar had apologised for that, saying he was being unprofessional.
“I want to get very serious about this,” he had told ESPNCricinfo in a video interview. “See, one thing I pride myself on is being professional and with that particular comment it was me losing control and I was unprofessional, I was wrong and something that I regret... it was wrong of me. That is what really bothers me that I let my emotions get the better of me. Mostly being unprofessional and to an extent indecent as well.”