His career is a study in how NOT to treat a cricketer or any professional athlete for that matter.
Ignorance, But Not Bliss
The retirement call might have been hastened by ECB’s careless choice of announcing new central contracts amidst a tumbling World Cup campaign.
These contracts are said to be worth between £130,000–£800,000. These are multi-year contracts with additional scope of £70,000 for any County commitments. Why did the ECB need to take such drastic actions?
Well, cricket is changing and 2023 has been a watershed moment with SAT20, ILT20, and MLC offering more income and additional options to IPL, BBL, CPL, and PSL. With IPL franchises owning teams around the world, there were murmurs about franchises offering year-long contracts to players, thereby threatening the last remaining bits of international cricket.
The English administration had to act fast. And act they did.
27 England players were offered a central contract. Every member in the World Cup squad except for one was offered a central contact.
And that one was David Willey.
England’s 2023 World Cup Debacle
The decision would have made sense had Willey been out of favor for a few months or had a dip in form or was out of his prime, but let’s look at the facts.
In England’s derailing World Cup, who has the best batting average? You guessed it right, David Willey — 42.00 (yes he bats in the bottom and may have not-outs to boost him up but so what…let’s not go in the details here)
Willey is also England’s third highest wicket-taker despite only playing 3 matches so far — 5 (the only more unfortunate player than Willey is at the top of England’s bowling charts — Reece Topley, who has gone back home with yet another freak injury).
2nd best bowling average — yep Willey again (behind Topley)
3rd most sixes…behind Malan and Mark Wood (which tells you everything you need to know about England’s listless World Cup)
But I know what you must be thinking — these are stats after the contracts were announced, but what about the statistics leading up to the World Cup?
Between the 2019–2023 World Cups, David Willey was England’s second highest wicket taker and the highest wicket taker for a pacer (37 wickets in 21 ODIs compared to 41 in 27 for Adil Rashid).
37 wickets, 22.35 Average, 5.2 Economy, best of 5/30, 4/5 fers: 1/2
Those are stellar figures. In the absence of Jofra Archer & Mark Wood, Willey often led the attack alongside Topley & Saqib Mahmood.
Imagine taking 52 wickets in 45 wickets and being a consistent member of the side for FOUR years before being dropped on the eve of the World Cup (after being initially selected)…for someone who had taken 3 wickets.
Well that happened to Willey. Now of course, it’s another story that the person he was dropped for was none other than Jofra Archer, waiting for his residency period to complete after immigrating from Barbados. Archer would end up playing an instrumental part in the World Cup victory a month later and bowled THAT Super Over.
Anyway, back to Willey.
What’s more depressing is that deep down, Willey predicted that he would be the one to be cut. He said a few days earlier to Archer’s inclusion,
“It’s an interesting dilemma for the captain, coach, and selectors. It’s a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to No. 1….Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they are available, whether that’s the right thing. I don’t know.”
I am sure Willey would have been crushed.
What did Ed Smith, England’s selector back then, have to say?
“He deserves to be in the World Cup squad. But that’s sport.”
Broken Cricket Dreams.
The Hope of 2022
When there is disappointment, there is always a glimmer of hope.
Willey did enjoy some good memories over the years.
In domestic cricket, he gained a reputation of batting in the top order and hitting some gigantic sixes. He was England’s leading wicket taker in the 2016 T20 Final and had a stunning all-round performance of 21*(14) of 4–0–20–3 in the Final (could have been a player of the Final…but unfortunately, Marlon Samuels & Carlos Brathwaite had other plans).
Then the 2019 World Cup happened.
He made another comeback and was selected in the 2021 & 2022 T20 World Cup squads but would not end up playing a single game (at least he finally lifted the T20 World Cup Trophy with the team).
Forever on the Sidelines
First there was Archer. Then another player picked out of thin air, Tymal Mills.
With Topley & Sam Curran around, there was always competition in the left arm pace department. In the all-rounders category, England were blessed with Stokes, Woakes, and Moeen Ali.
Willey had to prove to the selectors every time he took the field in an England jersey because his spot was never confirmed. He was always in the scheme of things but only on the edge. As a substitute, an injury replacement.
But once another shining player was found or conditions did not favor swing, Willey was the first to be dropped.
In this case, he was the only one not among 27.
England lost out on Willey, not the other way around. David Willey — Forever on the sidelines.
Resilience and Determination – David Willey in his Own Words
And here is David Willey’s retirement statement in his own word.
“Winning World Cup with my family around…that medal there…I didn’t play in that World Cup…But that victory signified so much for me…Coming back into the side and being there…that was very special.”
The tournament’s entertainment value is increasing by the day, but this World Cup is still missing two things — a thriller & Harsha Bhogle’s voice. Unfortunately, Mr. Bhogle has caught another fever, dengue, and has had to subsequently miss a few matches.
It is the days that he is not present that you miss his voice the most.
Okay okay, I know I am deviating. Anyway, back on topic. Where were we again?
Oh yes, how did Harsha Bhogle become Harsha Bhogle?
Did he take voice coaching lessons? Did he get a PhD in phonetics & linguistics? No, no he did not.
Harsha’s mother and uncle had arrived in India from Lahore on an army train right before the Partition in 1947.
He remarked in The Grade Cricketer’s podcast, “For my father’s generation, survival was important.” Just like many Indians in that generation, he grew up in a middle-class household. Both his parents were professors. So naturally, education was at the forefront of his upbringing.
Bhogle completed his undergraduate in chemical engineering and then went on to graduate from IIM Ahmedabad in 1985. He even worked in advertising for a couple of years after his education.
However, he did not forget his first love, cricket.
He had played Division A level cricket in Hyderabad along with competing at Osmania Nizam University & company teams. In Hyderabad, he had played with the likes of Arshad Ayub and Mohammad Azharuddin, a cricketer he would later write a biography of. (As an aside, he was once offered the opportunity to bat at #3, but said no. He was eventually picked for the university team but unfortunately did not make the XI).
The Greatest Weapon
Harsha Bhogle’s greatest weapon is his voice.
He found his voice during elocution & debate contests in high school. The ‘Eureka’ moment in his career came when he realized he could combine this gift with the love of cricket.
His broadcasting journey began with a 15-minute commentary stint during a Hyderabad vs Kerela Ranji Trophy match. Later in 1983, he took part in his first ODI broadcasting assignment on Doordarshan-Hyderabad.
By the time we arrived at the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Bhogle was recognized as the “sexiest voice on radio.”
“I didn’t look like a model, I didn’t play a 100 Test matches. There was lots of things I wasn’t. So, I didn’t have the option to say ‘No’ to anything…When you say ‘Yes,’ it’s a fantasy world. You don’t know where you will go when you say yes.”
From All India Radio & the BBC to Kutti Stories with Ravichandran Ashwin & Cricbuzz Live, Bhogle’s evolution is his mark of success. Sometimes he is having fun with Gaurav Kapur & Joy Bhattacharya, while at others, he is critically analyzing the state of world cricket with Ian Bishop, Nasser Hussain, and Mike Atherton.
To hone his skills and stay relevant in the broadcasting world, he did anything and everything. He has covered matches in makeshift commentary boxes in Hyderabad, written for several newspapers, transitioned to radio, become the face of cricket during live television, conducted quiz shows, talked about mental health, given inspirational speeches to the next generation, written books, interviewed the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, and has done a heck of a lot more. Bhogle’s multilingual background aided in his evolution as a broadcaster. He wrote magazine columns in Marathi, took broadcasting assignments in English, interviewed in Hindi, and joked in Hyderabadi.
Throughout his career, he has interviewed Sir Garfield Sobers, heard memorable stories from another great Indian commentator, AFS Talyarkhan, and possibly most importantly, covered the career of Sachin Tendulkar.
The Voice That Propelled Sachin Tendulkar
An article on Harsha Bhogle is incomplete without a mention of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
Even Ian Bishop took a step aside when Harsha concluded one of the great careers in one of the legendary segments of cricket commentary.
“This is an indicator what one man meant to a nation. With Tendulkar, it was not just cricket…He’s been a good man, apart from being a great cricketer, Tendulkar…Tendulkar meant to India more than just the numbers. It’s as if Tendulkar was born to be great and everyone just looked after him. Everyone in Indian cricket, in Mumbai cricket, looked after him. Everyone will have their own Tendulkar story to tell…Those 22 yards made that little boy from Bandra the legend that he became.
Without the voice of Bhogle, Sachin’s shots might not have been heard around the world.
What Characteristics Makes Harsha Bhogle Good?
Bhogle often says that for broadcasting metrics, “Chappell is my guru for work ethic.”
He prepares for each interview, writes down notes, talks to Simon Taufel to understand the rulebook, and draws from the wisdom of other cricketers to understand how to analyze techniques and read the pitch conditions.
He continues to learn and innovate. Not many would have the courage to dive into the world of Twitter, YouTube, and podcasts. He keeps on learning. But that’s how he has managed to stay relevant in the industry for over four decades. Two of his own quotes describe him best,
“The day you think you know everything in life, you’ve descended already. You’re gone.”
“Sometimes, we wait for the big things to happen in life…Be happy with small times….But don’t wait for the big thing to happen.”
When things are all said and done, what will I remember the most about Harsha Bhogle?
Along with the voice, came the infectious personality — the expressions, inflections in the voice, historical references, the smile, research into players’ backgrounds, and the contrast between serious bits & humor. He talks mostly about cricket but speaks with an open mind.
As cricket fans, we like to talk about our cricket heroes, the greatest Test match players, and the best World Cup finishes.
Sometimes, we should sit back and appreciate the people who make the cricket community great — The commentators, the umpires, the ground staff, the security staff, administrators, and many other individuals behind the scenes.
I will leave you all with this quote by American poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And Harsha Bhogle did exactly that. He provided us with the little moments of joy to live by.
What a breathtaking Test match that was. One wicket to go, fielders crowding around the bat, and an anti-climactic full toss. Match Drawn, a befitting result to the great battle between the two teams over four days.
This was Heather Knight’s Test (168* & 48), but there were so many other moments in the game—Haynes 86-Lanning’s 93, plenty of 50s, Katherine Brunt’s 5-fer, the Knight-Ecclestone partnership, Australia’s middle order, declarations, the Sciver-Dunkley assault, Beth Mooney’s catch, and Alana King’s marvelous debut.Relive the last day highlights here.
I would like to take a moment to thank Vandit for doing this interview. He has been an ardent follower of the Broken Cricket Dreams Blog from Day 1. Love the interaction, comments, and suggestions! Thank you for all the support 😊
Vandit is a lifelong follower of cricket and holds deep analysis about each and every aspect of the game. His statistical skills are second to none and as some of you may know, so are his prediction skills. Without further ado, here is my dear friend Vandit—Women’s Ashes Test experience, hopes and dreams, discussion on Ganguly-Dhoni-Kohli, and more. Expect a hint of philosophy as well🔥🔥
1. What days of the Women’s Ashes Test did you attend?
Day 2 and Day 4.
2. What was your overall feel & atmosphere of the ground, especially with that ending.
There was good support. The ground wasn’t anywhere near full, but there must have been a couple of thousand people. That’s more than enough to create an atmosphere. The noise and support inside a stadium is something else. If you want to watch every ball and soak in every detail of the match, it’s better to watch on TV because you get all the best camera angles and all kinds of replays. For instance, if you’re watching at the ground from square leg, it’s hard to tell how much the ball is swinging, seaming, or turning.
But if you want to feel the atmosphere, nothing beats going to the ground. ‘Fan parks’ or ‘mass viewing areas’ might come close for atmosphere but the ground itself is something else, because there are people shouting suggestions and praise at the players,
‘Keep up the pressure, girls’ or ‘Just a wicket away.’
But there was also appreciation for opposition performances, particularly Heather Knight’s century in the first innings. The massive roars the fall of a wicket in the final session, particularly Darcie Brown’s LBW dismissal of Heather Knight and Beth Mooney’s catch at deep midwicket off Alana King to dismiss Sophia Dunkley stood out.
3. What are you looking forward for in the Women’s World Cup?
A competitive, exciting World Cup hopefully. Australia will probably win. A competitive tournament with India going far would be great for the game at the stage.
4. Thoughts on the Women’s IPL?
Looking forward to a Women’s IPL. There’s more than enough talent for a quality competition, and we’ve seen the Big Bash. And now that it’s in the pipeline, that’s good news for cricket.
5. Any Opinions 4-Day Tests in Women’s Cricket?
I think 4 days is okay to start off, since most first-class games are played over 4 days. They don’t play much domestic red ball cricket anyway, so going from limited overs domestic to 5-day Test is quite a jump. More important thing to be addressed for women in the number of tests.
6. How many other live matches have you attended/any particular memories?
Attended another couple of matches but a long time ago. An India vs Zimbabwe ODI in the VB Series in 2004, when Zimbabwe regularly competed strongly against the top sides stands out, a close finish with India winning by 3 runs.
7. Describe your playing career.
Used to play for school until early high school but stopped. Recently started playing for the university’s club. One of the reasons is that fans should support cricket in any way possible, and getting involved in the game, scoring, umpiring, playing, coaching, anything is good. Definitely encourage people to join their local club. If nothing is available close by, start something or just play with a group for fun, if not competitively.
Photos from the Women’s Ashes Test at the Manuka Oval
Here are some pictures from his stands at the Manuka Oval.
8. Favorite IPL team?
9. What were your major takeaways from the IPL Mega Auction?
I will be following the first round of the Ranji Trophy instead.
10. Broken Cricket Dream?
Not really any particularbroken dream. But most kids who play cricket do dream of playing for the country, but it was far-fetched. If I had played at a higher level, would have liked to bowl medium pace and be a useful batsman at 8.
11. How Has Cricket Helped You?
Cricket is obviously a great way to stay active and do so as a part of a team. In some way it is also a social activity which allows you to interact with others in a way that more individual sports like cycling or running don’t.
12. What Have You Learned From Cricket?
Being a team sport, cricket forces you to contribute as part of a group in different ways.
Of course, while batting, you want to stay out there andscore runs, buteven when you aren’t on strike, you want to run hard for your partner’s runs and be observant about the opposition’s bowling, fielding, and the condition of the wicket. That way, you’re contributing all the time, not just when you’re on strike.
And when you’re bowling, of course you want to keep it tight or take wickets but even when you aren’t, you want to save every run in the field, take a catch or effect a run out and keep the pressure up for the other bowlers.
That way cricket forces you to give your all at all times, not just when your stats are stake.
13. Cricketing Heroes and What You Have Learned from Them?
Sourav Ganguly for his fearless approach and want to take on the opposition in their home conditions; always having the fight even if the odds or history aren’t in your favour.
MS Dhonifor his calmness on the field, never too flusteredbyon-field happenings. This discussion is excellent.
Virat Kohlifor his passion and emotion, especially earlier in his career. A lot of people didn’t like that version of Kohli but just replays of how angry or disappointed he’d be when he used to get out and that’ll tell you how much he wanted to do well.
14. Broken Cricket Dream as a Fan?
I’ve read BCD articles since the beginning and have always enjoyed them. With some articles having a different twist, especially the philosophical considerations, BCD links cricket to life.It can be easy to follow a sport as just a sport and nothing else, and maybe that’s how it’s meant to be, but it’s hard to ignore the parallels between cricket and life, and lessons to be learnt from great cricket performances and great cricketers.
Thanks for checking out Vandit’s interview about the Women’s Ashes Test! Consider subscribing below and following Broken Cricket Dreams’ other social media platforms. It will be a big boost to us so we can continue to create this type of content. All you need to do is to type your email address below and hit subscribe.
How about classic commentary highlights? Well, today we will discuss exactly that!
Last week, we created a Fantasy team of Commentators XI. Harsha Bhogle was our team captain, Gaurav Kapur the opener, and the dynamic duo of Simon Doull and Pommie Mbangwa as the fast bowlers.
So naturally we asked our Twitter audience to respond with #BestCommentary for:
Best #IPL2020 Commentary Highlights
Most Favorite Iconic Cricket Commentary Memory
Commentators come in all shapes and sizes—a few serious, others insightful, and some extremely hilarious.
Who is your favorite commentator? Bill Lawry, Michael Holding, Tony Greig, Ian Bishop, Richie Benaud, Ravi Shashtri? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!
Anyway, here are their twitter responses! So, sit back, relax, and watch some of the best cricket commentary videos!
There are lots of videos. Like a lot. Watch till the end for all the good ones.
The Tweets – Commentary Highlights
Here are the favorite IPL and cricketing memories from the fans in their own words. We have categorized the commentary in categories—The Jaw Drop, The Heartbreak, and The Critical, and then, some more.
The Jaw Drop feat Ravi Shastri
Here are some of the jaw dropping moments in recent cricketing history captured by iconic commentators.
My Fav. #BestCommentary will be Ravi Shastri commentating on Yuvraj Singh Six sixes in an over to Stuart Broad in first T20 World Cup. And best #IPLT20 will be First time I saw sunny sir doing Hindi Commentary that was really an awesome moment for me
Yes Really It was very nice especially I was watching this match Live… So still remember those exciting sixes and commentary by Ravi Shastri.
What a great day for cricket. One just imagines what would have happened had Flintoff kept his cool to Yuvi that day?
IPL comms just wash over me a bit. Sunny Gavaskar is the master of the box as much as he was at the crease, especially when he’s annoyed. KP’s ‘Pingo Pongo’ moments are fun. Best ever is Fazeer Mohammed “Why did he do that?!” to Gabriel’s brainfade against Yasir #BestCommentary
Try #RCBvSRH on 21 September as I checked and mentioned it that day. Also you’ve got to have Richie Benaud from Botham Headingley 1981 – “It went in to the confectionery stall and out again…”
For me, #BestCommentary All-Time – by Ravi Shastri Sir on India WC 2011 wining moment (Dhoni’s 6) ~ ” Dhoni finishes off in style..A magnificent strike into the crowd…India wins after 28 years…& it’s the Indian capt who’s been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final
The Ian Bishop
Ian Bishop recently celebrated his 53rd birthday at the IPL. With Harsha Bhogle, Mark Nicholas, and JP Duminy, the banter among the group was hilarious!
He has had so many iconic moments in recent times, that he deserves a category by himself.
My fav in #IPL2020 Bish, Danny M, Mark Nicholas, Sanga . All time Nasser H. Favorite moment :normally love all the 3rd man and Masterclass segments(Nasser and Murali) in sky sports. But generally I think it’s Bishop calling brathwaite and Ravi S in natwest series #bestcommentary
Mine from ipl is AB v steyn(SRH one) 2014.. Simon doull & ramiz raja in comm… All time fav.. Bit biased, will select two: 1) Ravi shastri calling Dhoni’s six, wc 2011 final 2) Bish in manchester 2019 wc “Surely the hopes have been ignited enough for them to be extinguished!”
“Can he? Can he really?” “The dream has diminished for CB, here in manchesterrr..”
Watching late at night.. Was preparing for the exams..but couldn’t take my eyes off.. Even after the fall of 7th wkt.. For some reason didn’t switch it off… Treated with a phenomenal & memorable game.. The heart sank but was a special knock from brathwaitte..
#BestCommentary for me is certainly by Ian Smith from CWC 2019 Final written below:-
“This is the moment – it’s Archer to Guptill. Two to win. Guptill’s got to push for two, they’ve gotta go! The throw’s gotta go to the keeper’s end. He’s got it! England have won the World Cup – by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.”#BestCommentary Chilling!
Now that every team has played at least one game, we are releasing the #IPLPredictions by our Twitter followers.
We asked our viewers to respond to who they think will be IPL 2020’s:
Forgot to send in your responses? Do not worry!
COMMENT Below with these # and we will post it on this page as well. We also have an ongoing poll throughout the IPL which IPL team will win.
*VOTE in the poll below the article (if mobile) or on the side bar (desktop).
It has only been 5 days, but boy, were we missing this. Three close games to start #IPL2020, a controversial run/not-run, and Dhoni at #7 and DK at the top debate once again. At the end of the one game, KXIP, KKR, and SRH are yet to trouble the points table, while MI have finally won their first game at the UAE.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the twitter predictions. We will see who was the closest at the end of the IPL!
In that final conversation, there were mentions of the Deccan Chargers and Gujarat Lions as well. Kochi Tuskers Kerela anybody?
What Can We Learn?
It seems that DC and SRH are popular predictions for the winner. KL Rahul is the #OrangeCap favorite, while legspinners like Rashid Khan seems to be the popular #PurpleCap choice. Finally, Abdul Samad, Devdutt Padikkal (as he rightly showed on debut), and YashasviJaiswal are the youngsters to watch out.
My favorite was the #SurprisePackage. Daniel Sams, Isuru Udana, and Moeen are among the picks for this category. Will any of them even get a game?
For me personally, in the KXIP vs DC game, my orange cap Mayank Agarwal was hitting my surprise package candidate Anrich Nortje, while Ravi Bishnoi had a decent game himself.
Who do you think will be the winner, orange cap and purple cap winners? Comment below, subscribe to this blog, and share ahead!
This week, we did our first interview at Broken Cricket Dreams, where Avinash shared his dreams lived of playing cricket.
This inspired us to do another article in our segment, Twitter Specials. #DreamsLived is also a response our first article in this segment, #BrokenDreams, where we shared several fans’ stories of their broken sports dreams.
We asked our viewers to respond with #DreamsLived in one of two ways:
If your dream of playing cricket (at any level) was realized, describe your story.
If not, what else did you do with your time? Did you pick up a new skill? A different sport? Maybe contributed as a fan or analyst?
Let us get started with a quote from the interview.
In our Broken Dreams section, we asked Avinash (@avinashvicky), “Any final thoughts on your dream lived?” and he responded with
“I could not imagine what I have done had I not played cricket all these years. My master’s would be something else, a completely different experience.”
Now to the tweets that was inspired by this interview:
“I playing in school and with local clubs in recent times. Apart from that watching cricket and discussing about it gives me as much joy. I too have played cricket games. My fav are ea cricket 2007 and now big ant studios playing in career mode which gives a fake sense of reality.”
“Being born in Virat Kohli’s era is a dream come true.”
That is just great! This is exactly the kind of stuff we are looking for.
Comment below on your #DreamsLived and share ahead. We would love to hear more such stories. Also, please SUBSCRIBE so you do not miss any articles!
What Can We Learn?
There are over a billion cricket fans in this world. At one point or another, each one has dreamt of hitting that winning shot, enjoying ecstatic moments in the winning huddles, or just playing the sport professionally.
Sometimes life does not go as planned, but “When one door closes, another opens.”
There is more than one way to live the dream. We can play cricket with our local club, at our universities, or the best form of the game—backyard gully cricket.
Nothing better than just spreading the love of the game in whatever way that is possible.