MUMBAI: Former India batsman-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, who was recently removed by the BCCI from its commentary panel, has received support from his ex-Mumbai and India colleague, Chandrakant Pandit.
“I know him since childhood. He’s not a man who can bring harm to someone. He’s a straightforward person, which is something I always admired about him. A person who tells you the truth on your face is never liked by anybody. As a commentator, he has to sometimes say things which may not be liked by all. He can’t say things that please people, just to keep his job,” Pandit, a former India wicketkeeper and domestic cricket’s most successful coach, told TOI on Wednesday.
“Sanjay isn’t against anybody. I don’t want to blame anybody for his removal, but I request the board to have a rethink about its decision. I’m saying this because all the commentators give inputs about the game which are beneficial to not only young cricketers but also coaches like us,” said Pandit.
The 58-year-old, who guided Vidarbha and Mumbai to back-to-back Ranji and Irani Trophy titles, felt that the BCCI could’ve asked Manjrekar to change his style a bit if they felt that he was going overboard with criticism. “He may sound harsh at times, but the BCCI can ask him to tone down his language, but don’t throw him out of the profession,” felt Pandit.
“Sometimes, he makes comments spontaneously, as if he’s talking to a friend, which unfortunately appear inappropriate on air. Tomorrow, somebody else can make a similar mistake, but sacking that person isn’t the answer,” he added.
Defending Manjrekar’s style of commentary, Pandit said: “He’s one of the commentators believes in passing his knowledge to youngsters. Sacking him wouldn’t send a good message to the other commentators. Many people like listening to his straightforward views. If a batsman plays a bad shot in a crucial situation, then he has to say that on air. What’s wrong in that?”
As a coach who’s faced criticism in the past for being ‘too strict’ and ‘straightforward’ at times with the players, Pandit can relate to Manjrekar’s plight. “Sometimes, people like us are misunderstood. At times, even I am harsh with my players, but that has been accepted, because it was for the benefit of the players and the team. Everyone has different methods, but the goal is the same – betterment of the game.” explained Pandit.
“If everyone says goody-goody things, then who’ll be left to call a spade a spade?” he wondered.