The Board of Control for Cricket in India terminated its contract with veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle for the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League a week before the tournament began on Saturday, reported The Indian Express. The 54-year-old has been associated with the Twenty20 cricket tournament since its inception in 2008.

The decision comes as a surprise as Bhogle conducted the league's draft auction and featured in its promotional videos. His name was on the 51-day-long duty roster for commentators, and even his flight tickets were booked by the organisers, said the report.

Bhogle told the English daily that he has yet to know the official reason for the BCCI's decision. “No one told me anything. I have not been formally told of the reason even now. All I have been told is ‘it is a BCCI management decision’,” he said. BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur and IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla refused to comment on the development.

Board members told the English daily that a recent incident where Bhogle was caught in a spat with a Vidharbha Cricket Association official during India’s opening World Twenty20 game in Nagpur last month might have triggered his ouster. They said he had a fight with a local official as he wanted them to keep the door of a VIP box open for the ease of movement of the commentators.

Clarifying the incident, Bhogle said the Hindi and English commentary boxes were separated by the president’s enclosure, which meant that bilingual commentators like him had to rush through several flights of stairs after every stint. “Working on a tight deadline, because of running around, I was at times panting as I went on air. This was because of that shut door,” he said. He also alleged that no one heard his side of the incident.