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Harsha Bhogle: The rise of cricket, the rise of India

Harsha Bhogle: The rise of cricket, the rise of India


So, what I’m going to do is just give you the latest episode of India’s — maybe the world’s — longest running soap opera, which is cricket. And may it run forever, because it gives people like me a living. It’s got everything that you’d want a normal soap opera to want: It’s got love, joy, happiness, sadness, tears, laughter, lots of deceit, intrigue. And like all good soaps, it jumps 20 years when the audience interest changes. And that’s exactly what cricket has done. It’s jumped 20 years into 20-over game. And that’s what I’m going to talk about, how a small change leads to a very big revolution. But it wasn’t always like that. Cricket wasn’t always this speed-driven generations game. There was a time when you played cricket, you played timeless test matches, when you played on till the game got over. And there was this game in March 1939 that started on the third of March and ended on the 14th of March. And it only ended because the English cricketers had to go from Durban to Cape Town, which is a two-hour train journey, to catch the ship that left on the 17th, because the next ship wasn’t around for a long time. So, the match was ended in between. And one of the English batsmen said, “You know what? Another half an hour and we would have won.” (Laughter) Another half an hour after 12 days. There were two Sundays in between. But of course, Sundays are church days, so you don’t play on Sundays. And one day it rained, so they all sat around making friends with each other. But there is a reason why India fell in love with cricket: because we had about the same pace of life. (Laughter) The Mahabharata was like that as well, wasn’t it? You fought by day, then it was sunset, so everyone went back home. And then you worked out your strategy, and you came and fought the next day, and you went back home again. The only difference between the Mahabharata and our cricket was that in cricket, everybody was alive to come back and fight the next day. Princes patronize the game, not because they love the game, but because it was a means of ingratiating themselves to the British rulers. But there is one other reason why India fell in love with cricket, which was, all you needed was a plank of wood and a rubber ball, and any number of people could play it anywhere. Take a look: You could play it in the dump with some rocks over there, you could play it in a little alley — you couldn’t hit square anywhere, because the bat hit the wall; don’t forget the air conditioning and the cable wires. (Laughter) You could play it on the banks of the Ganges — that’s as clean as the Ganges has been for a long time. Or you could play many games in one small patch of land, even if you didn’t know which game you were actually in. (Laughter) As you can see, you can play anywhere. But slowly the game moved on, you know, finally. You don’t always have five days. So, we moved on, and we started playing 50-over cricket. And then an enormous accident took place. In Indian sport we don’t make things happen, accidents happen and we’re in the right place at the right time, sometimes. And we won this World Cup in 1983. And suddenly we fell in love with the 50-over game, and we played it virtually every day. There was more 50-over cricket than anywhere. But there was another big date. 1983 was when we won the World Cup. 1991,’92, we found a finance minister and a prime minister willing to let the world look at India, rather than be this great country of intrigue and mystery in this closed country. And so we allowed multinationals into India. We cut customs duties, we reduced import duties, and we got all the multinationals coming in, with multinational budgets, who looked at per-capita income and got very excited about the possibilities in India, and were looking for a vehicle to reach every Indian. And there are only two vehicles in India — one real, one scripted. The scripted one is what you see in the movies, the real one was cricket. And so one of my friends sitting right here in front of me, Ravi Dhariwal from Pepsi, decided he’s going to take it all over the world. And Pepsi was this big revolution, because they started taking cricket all over. And so cricket started becoming big; cricket started bringing riches in. Television started covering cricket. For a long time television said, “We won’t cover cricket unless you pay us to cover it.” Then they said, “OK, the next rights are sold for 55 million dollars. The next rights are sold for 612 million dollars.” So, it’s a bit of a curve, that. And then another big accident happened in our cricket. England invented 20 overs cricket, and said, “The world must play 20 overs cricket.” Just as England invented cricket, and made the rest of the world play it. Thank God for them. (Laughter) And so, India had to go and play the T20 World Cup, you see. India didn’t want to play the T20 World Cup. But we were forced to play it by an 8-1 margin. And then something very dramatic happened. We got to the final, and then this moment, that will remain enshrined forever, for everybody, take a look. (Crowd cheering) The Pakistani batsman trying to clear the fielder. Announcer: And Zishan takes it! India wins! What a match for a Twenty20 final. India, the world champions. (Cheering) India, T20 champions. But what a game we had, M. S. Dhoni got it right in the air, but Misbah-ul-Haq, what a player. A massive, massive success: India, the world TT champions. Harsha Bhogle: Suddenly India discovered this power of 20-overs cricket. The accident, of course, there, was that the batsman thought the bowler was bowling fast. (Laughter) If he had bowled fast, the ball would have gone where it was meant to go, but it didn’t go. And we suddenly discovered that we could be good at this game. And what it also did was it led to a certain pride in the fact that India could be the best in the world. It was at a time when investment was coming in, India was feeling a little more confident about itself. And so there was a feeling that there was great pride in what we can do. And thankfully for all of us, the English are very good at inventing things, and then the gracious people that they are, they let the world become very good at it. (Laughter) And so England invented T20 cricket, and allowed India to hijack it. It was not like reengineering that we do in medicine, we just took it straight away, as is. (Laughter) And so, we launched our own T20 league. Six weeks, city versus city. It was a new thing for us. We had only ever supported our country — the only two areas in which India was very proud about their country, representing itself on the field. One was war, the Indian army, which we don’t like to happen very often. The other was Indian cricket. Now, suddenly we had to support city leagues. But the people getting into these city leagues were people who were taking their cues from the West. America is a home of leagues. And they said, “Right, we’ll build some glitzy leagues here in India.” But was India ready for it? Because cricket, for a long time in India was always organized. It was never promoted, it was never sold — it was organized. And look what they did with our beautiful, nice, simple family game. All of a sudden, you had that happening. (Music) An opening ceremony to match every other. This was an India that was buying Corvettes. This was an India that was buying Jaguar. This was an India that was adding more mobile phones per month than New Zealand’s population twice over. So, it was a different India. But it was also a slightly more orthodox India that was very happy to be modern, but didn’t want to say that to people. And so, they were aghast when the cheerleaders arrived. Everyone secretly watched them, but everyone claimed not to. (Music) (Laughter) The new owners of Indian cricket were not the old princes. They were not bureaucrats who were forced into sport because they didn’t actually love it; these were people who ran serious companies. And so they started promoting cricket big time, started promoting clubs big time. And they’ve started promoting them with huge money behind it. I mean the IPL had 2.3 billion dollars before a ball was bowled, 1.6 billion dollars for television revenue over 10 years, and another 70 million dollars plus from all these franchises that were putting in money. And then they had to appeal to their cities, but they had to do it like the West, right? Because we are setting up leagues. But what they were very good at doing was making it very localized. So, just to give you an example of how they did it — not Manchester United style promotion, but very Mumbai style promotion. Take a look. (Music) Of course, a lot of people said, “Maybe they dance better than they play.” (Laughter) But that’s all right. What it did also is it changed the way we looked at cricket. All along, if you wanted a young cricketer, you picked him up from the bylanes of your own little locality, your own city, and you were very proud of the system that produced those cricketers. Now, all of the sudden, if you were to bowl a shot — if Mumbai were to bowl a shot, for example, they needn’t go to Kalbadevi or Shivaji Park or somewhere to source them, they could go to Trinidad. This was the new India, wasn’t it? This was the new world, where you can source from anywhere as long as you get the best product at the best price. And all of a sudden, Indian sport had awakened to the reality that you can source the best product for the best price anywhere in the world. So, the Mumbai Indians flew in Dwayne Bravo from Trinidad and Tobago, overnight. And when he had to go back to represent the West Indies, they asked him, “When do you have to reach?” He said, “I have to be there by a certain time, so I have to leave today.” We said, “No, no, no. It’s not about when you have to leave; it’s about when do you have to reach there?” And so he said, “I’ve got to reach on date X.” And they said, “Fine, you play to date X, minus one.” So, he played in Hyderabad, went, straight after the game, went from the stadium to Hyderabad airport, sat in a private corporate jet — first refueling in Portugal, second refueling in Brazil; he was in West Indies in time. (Laughter) Never would India have thought on this scale before. Never would India have said, “I want a player to play one game for me, and I will use a corporate jet to send him all the way back to Kingston, Jamaica to play a game.” And I just thought to myself, “Wow, we’ve arrived somewhere in the world, you know? We have arrived somewhere. We are thinking big.” But what this also did was it started marrying the two most important things in Indian cricket, which is cricket and the movies in Indian entertainment. There is cricket and the movies. And they came together because people in the movies now started owning clubs. And so, people started going to the cricket to watch Preity Zinta. They started going to the cricket to watch Shah Rukh Khan. And something very interesting happened. We started getting song and dance in Indian cricket. And so it started resembling the Indian movies more and more. And of course, if you were on Preity Zinta’s team — as you will see on the clip that follows — if you did well, you got a hug from Preity Zinta. So that was the ultimate reason to do well. Take a look — everyone’s watching Preity Zinta. (Music) And then of course there was Shah Rukh playing the Kolkata crowd. We’d all seen matches in Kolkata, but we’d never seen anything like this: Shah Rukh, with the Bengali song, getting the audiences all worked up for Kolkata — not for India, but for Kolkata. But take a look at this. (Music) An Indian film star hugging a Pakistani cricketer because they’d won in Kolkata. Can you imagine? And do you know what the Pakistani cricketer said? (Applause) “I wish I was playing for Preity Zinta’s team.” (Laughter) But I thought I’d take this opportunity — there’s a few people from Pakistan in here. I’m so happy that you’re here because I think we can show that we can both be together and be friends, right? We can play cricket together, we can be friends. So thank you very much for coming, all of you from Pakistan. (Applause) There was criticism too because they said, “Players are being bought and sold? Are they grain? Are they cattle?” Because we had this auction, you see. How do you fix a price for a player? And so the auction that followed literally had people saying, “Bang! so many million dollars for so-and-so player.” There it is. (Music) Auctioneer: Going at 1,500,000 dollars. Chennai. Shane Warne sold for 450,000 dollars. HB: Suddenly, a game which earned its players 50 rupees a day — so 250 rupees for a test match, but if you finish in four days you only got 200. The best Indian players who played every test match — every one of the internationals, the top of the line players — standard contracts are 220,000 dollars in a whole year. Now they were getting 500,000 for six days’ work. Then Andrew Flintoff came by from England, he got one and a half million dollars, and he went back and said, “For four weeks, I’m earning more than Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, and I’m earning more than the footballers, wow.” And where was he earning it from? From a little club in India. Could you have imagined that day would come? One and a half million dollars for six weeks’ work. That’s not bad, is it? So, at 2.3 billion dollars before the first ball was bowled. What India was doing, though, was benchmarking itself against the best in the world, and it became a huge brand. Lalit Modi was on the cover of Business Today. IPL became the biggest brand in India and, because our elections, had to be moved to South Africa, and we had to start the tournament in three weeks. Move a whole tournament to South Africa in three weeks. But we did it. You know why? Because no country works as slowly as we do till three weeks before an event, and nobody works fast as we do in the last three weeks. (Applause) Our population, which for a long time we thought was a problem, suddenly became our biggest asset because there were more people watching — the huge consuming class — everybody came to watch the cricket. We’d also made cricket the only sport in India, which is a pity, but in India every other sport pushes cricket to become big, which is a bit of a tragedy of our times. Now, this last minute before I go — there’s a couple of side effects of all this. For a long time, India was this country of poverty, dust, beggars, snake charmers, filth, Delhi belly — people heard Delhi belly stories before they came. And, all of a sudden, India was this land of opportunity. Cricketers all over the world said, “You know, we love India. We love to play in India.” And that felt good, you know? We said, “The dollar’s quite powerful actually.” Can you imagine, you’ve got the dollar on view and there’s no Delhi belly in there anymore. There’s no filth, there’s no beggars, all the snake charmers have vanished, everybody’s gone. This tells you how the capitalist world rules. Right so, finally, an English game that India usurped a little bit, but T20 is going to be the next missionary in the world. If you want to take the game around the world, it’s got to be the shortest form of the game. You can’t take a timeless test to China and sit through 14 days with no result in the end, or you can’t take it all over the world. So that’s what T20 is doing. Hopefully, it’ll make everyone richer, hopefully it’ll make the game bigger and hopefully it’ll give cricket commentators more time in the business. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause)

Comments (100)

  1. There were some fabulous lines quoted by Harsha

  2. harsha love you for taking England for a ride… suddenly India is no more a land of snake charmers dirt ,it is the land of opportunities lol …

  3. Rise Anything is goes up it has come down
    Some point in time one thing for sure not the age .
    Like rise & fall
    If you’re down. Can’t help it don’t look down

  4. Love the wah you talk how articulately you explain the growth story of india by simply taking cricket as base …only you could do that

  5. Great analysis Harsha as always

  6. Harsha, someone told you wrong that you should keep walking while delivering a TED talk.

  7. Adds and cheerleaders were not necessery to show. I really wanted to see the passion and love for cricket of India which is not shown correctly.

  8. Wt a man!! That's what IIM produces. Respect

  9. I see Sadhguru in Row 2 @ 1:29 , 2:19 Hit like if you see him too!

  10. I heard first time harsh bhogle

  11. Young folks!! Want to learn Presentation??? Watch him …. Watch and watch and watch and watch him all day …

  12. I agree with Harsha’s opinion of English people inventing the things and let the world better at it. They invented the language and let Harsha be far better at it.

  13. 12:58 is that james crabtree?

  14. Harsha Bogle must be a national treasier man

  15. What an absurd statement to end such a good presentation!! "Hopefully it will make everyone richer".

  16. Till today..his voice not change .
    He is THE VOICE OF INDIAN CRICKET

  17. India's hegemony is destroying cricket.

  18. Harsha Bhogle is definitely the best cricket commentator in the world. He talks cricket like no one else. However, I think IPL has only made a handful of people rich. There are many issues in the nation and what we lack is a balance in every sector. Also, I really don't agree as far as introducing cheerleaders are concerned. That's blind aping of NFL without considering the cultural circumstances. It's not someone's personal life or behind closed doors rather in the open, children seeing skimpily dressed women dancing as a means to entertain people. And most of the population is not aware of how to handle such stuff.

  19. this man is brilliant!

  20. Now in 2019 people compare ipl to english football league

  21. An amazing speaker

  22. The rise of corruption and match fixing

  23. Farewell yuvi,,,,,

  24. Almost 10 years later, this speech still makes so much sense. Such a visionary and genius of a presenter Mr. Bhogle is. There isn't a moment in his speech where it gets boring; alive and agile as the man himself is.

  25. The rise of India
    The death of world cricket

  26. MEDIA FUNDED PEOPLE LIKE HARSA BHOGLE TO DO CHAMCHA GIRI OF CRICKETRS AND MAKE THEM HEROS………..SO THAT MEDIA CAN MAKE MONEY OUT OF IT

  27. What a wonderful orator!!

  28. This man is genius cricket analyst, awesome commentator and excellent story teller👌👍🙏

  29. Useless not a topic to glorified and. To talked on length

  30. 9 years on this is still awesome.

  31. Harsha – the master narrator.

  32. How I didn't get the suggestion of this Ted talk till now ? I watch so many Ted talks and watch cricket clips here

  33. who knew that 9 years later, this very thing that was so celebrated back in the days has noe destroyed the cricket world due to india's massive corruption together with england australia (in taking over the ICC and taking all the cash for themselves)

  34. And also rise of harsha bhogle

  35. Explain whole cricket in just 17:29min wow Harsha

  36. i visit cricbuzz only to see his tweet

  37. Cricket has lost it's glory . Now, it is not a gentleman game at all. In another words the world has rejected cricket . India maybe a superpower in cricket , but , cricket has no value.

  38. He's such a wonderful storyteller with such a soothing voice!!!

  39. India has a great cricket team and arguably the greatest fans.

  40. Harsha tu khupach chhan vakta aahes. Amhala tujhi commentary aikayla milali hech amche bhagya.

  41. The concept of city based rivalries is not foreign to India. Mumbaikars and Punekars have been making fun of each other for years. And as someone from Mumbai, I was already fiercely proud of Mumbai cricket. There is no bigger institution in Indian cricket than Mumbai's maidans.

  42. Harsha is one of the best speaker i Have heard in my whole life

  43. I am not very happy listening to him on this stage he sounded like a capitalist very happy and proud the way India has abused its economy and created enormous disparity in the system. I am not against IPL as entertainment but i am not proud of the way it is run also its squeezing the productivity out of indians.

  44. Is it just me or YouTube is recommending this video after 9 years 😂 I was getting it in my recommend since past 10 days, now I finally had to click on it.

  45. my god this is amazing

  46. 1983.. it was a 60 over game

  47. I just love him listening … Harsha Bhogle is my fav sports intellect and spkr 👍💪😎..

  48. Harsha Bhogle is good but he is very self critical. HE needs to chill out. There are a lot of things good about India other than cricket and the Army. May be he does not know them!

  49. India is not recognized in the world for its cricket. Hardly 7 or 8 nations play serious cricket. In Australia, the most popular game i think is rugby. In England, it is soccer (football).
    India is way behind China in gymnastics, behind most African nations in athletics.

  50. Sadguru in the audience

  51. Wonderful….Harshaji you rocked it! You gave us a honest, farcical and correct image of the growth of the sport in India.

  52. There was a phenomenon called 'Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar' in the 90's. He was no accident. He is why cricket got popular. Not because of Pepsi or any other MNC

  53. Liking the video first, watching it later. Because of this man, Harsha Bhogle, the greatest ever.

  54. Huge fan of this man.

  55. yes,it was indeed England who "INVENTED" it…and "ALLOWED" the world to play it.Indeed it was.

  56. Ultimate and peerless detritus in the commentary box

  57. You forgot the main part of cricket specially IPL in India
    i.e. "corruption"

  58. Okay, he has to stop moving 😂. I love his though.

  59. I bet Harsha has more Cricketing Knowledge than most of the actual Cricketers..
    It's unfortunate becz of BCCI's 'Egotist Blatant Politics' we don't see him much these days..

  60. Why i m getting this in my list now?
    How it works

  61. Why is youtube suddenly recommending this video. Anyways, never tired of listening his words.

  62. Okay YouTube, I watched it.

  63. From one Indian to another…. after 9 years…..
    Look what India has done to this great sport! https://youtu.be/v5DWJv1hiwM

  64. The Best there was, the best there is and the best there ever will be #HarshaBhogle

  65. Sadhguru in the audience : https://youtu.be/LbIXYEW9CSQ?t=139.

  66. Harsha Bhogle walking around makes me restless. Please just stand and talk. You ain't Michael Jackson ☺️👍

  67. ICL anyone? It came in before IPL, and the world T20?

  68. I wish he was my teacher…

  69. Love listening to how he speaks with so much passion and humility

  70. I found it bit corporate presentation, not TEDx talk. But last two points he made valid. But honestly I love Harsha's commentary, did not like this much.

  71. The rise of his hair

  72. India completely destroyed Cricket and ICC.

  73. IPL sucks. ruined cricket forever.

  74. Well done Harsha Bhagle, once again to get white man's appreciation you fucked yourself.

  75. Check this out to understand how India corrupted Cricket.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5DWJv1hiwM

  76. One of the smartest cricket player ever seen by India..his style of commenting and delivery is so smooth and calm.

  77. Is it the same Ted where sadhguru spoke?

  78. I see a lot of comments of people who started watching cricket 2 or 3 or 4 years ago. Because calling Sachin "selfish player, just 'a' player, and 'Virat is father or Sachin'(well the person is surely mentally retarded so I won't take his comment into account )…and lot more" is surely reflect that these people are unaware of the major era of Indian cricket. Mannn ! i have been watching cricket since the age of 6…now I'm 23….i have seen the changing era of Indian cricket. And in all these years among more than 1000 Indian batsmen and more than 100000 international batsmen, I can proudly boast that I have never seen the grace equal to that of The Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. He is absolutely the Legend of batting! His records may be broken, but the way he played can never be overcome by any other batsman in the world.

    I can, for now, and always say that he is undoubtedly The Phenomenon in Batting Style – A complete textbook in itself.

    So before saying anything against him, just have a relook the way he used to play!

    And if you are talking about his spirit – dear, I guess he's the only player who was reassembled by surgeons. Tennis Elbow, Ankle Injury, Back Pain, Fracture in leg are just few i remember r.n on my tips. He conquered all of that and always played like a super energetic youngster who wanted to give his fullest for the team and the country on the field !

  79. Best commentator world has ever seen.

  80. i ve alwz admired his wittiness.. how sweetly he trolled zinta, srk, shoaib and the english… he presents his views n opinions so beautifully combination his knowledge of commerce and his intellect…we should be so proud that we ve such a brilliant minded person n commentator among commentators like manjrekar, gavaskar, shivaramakrishna, ganguly, laxman, madan lal, the list goes on n on… the onli good commentator in india..

  81. 212 dislikes are from pakistan as they are not sllowed

  82. 13.08 india never invited us back mate. So clearly not

  83. Harsha, one of the all time best orator of the game of cricket!

  84. This man summed up cricket so well! For someone like me who grew up in the US, I never thought I would be able to go back to my roots and love cricket BUT then T20 happened and then I have become a fan ever since. IPL which is now worth over $6Billion dollars is just an example of how global this game could be given the right support! Hopefully, the US one day will welcome this beautiful game and we will have our Yankees and Red Sox but this time in cricket and not baseball.

  85. India have tremendous national pride about the strength of their cricket, but nobody else cares. Cricket is a dying sport in the countries who once dominated the game and where now the only sport which matters is football. Nearly every child used to play the game during lunchtime at school. But no longer. You never see children playing cricket any more. It is very much a minor sport in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies. All of the best athletes in these places choose to play football, rugby or basketball. Not cricket.

    Test match cricket is still the ultimate form of cricket. Not the watered down game of limited overs cricket, which is really just cricket-lite for people who don't like cricket. But India have ruined a good thing because of their fixation on the shortened forms of the game. It's sad, but true.

    RIP cricket.

  86. Harsha Bhogle is absolutely a great commentator to listen to. He's so knowledgeable about Cricket and also very passionate about the game. Fair Dinkum I love listening to him when he comes to Australia.

  87. I wonder if Harsha Bhogle has two brothers, one called "Harsh" and another called "Harshest".

  88. Shahrukh love u

  89. Killed it manhhhh!

  90. A very nice presentation

  91. @ harsha bhogle…..one thing or one person you missed in entire speech is THE GOD Sachin Tendulkar…..without him it would have not been the same in 90s

  92. That Flintoff earning more in 6 weeks than Gerrard and Lampard combined in a year is fucking mad!

  93. That was some great analysis and detailed resoning. Watching this after India NZ semi finals, lndia might have lost the game but won the hearts. Uk. Economy shall increase drastically this year cause Indian fans spent millions in UK for them being the world cup host.

  94. Then India colonized cricket for cricket's faster death.

  95. Last 2 minutes was awesome and that's the highlight!

  96. 15:08 to 15:17 truth has been spoken..

  97. great documentary , about the greatest sporting game ever,, just brilliant , wish i was this good at editing.

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