The chief attraction of Harsha Bhogle is his outsider nerdiness. As a non-athlete, he stands alone among cricket greats and legends in the studio. In doing so, he gives the cricket fan a vicarious thrill: if he can talk to established cricketers, so can I. By being so inclusive, Bhogle is a creature of the rise of televised cricket, which expanded the boundaries of the cricket world — a very clubby circuit, once upon a time — to include a currently impossibly large cast of characters. And whereas others prefer to talk technique, Bhogle possesses the gift of narrative. See, for e.g., this:
Again, the focus on stories and characters — Rahane, student; Dravid, guru; Rahane at the bottom of the mountain; Dravid at the top; Rahane’s backstory and his slow rise to fame — exemplifies Bhogle’s everyman appeal. More than most, he understands that cricket is a complicated game that often defies analysis. Rather than explain it, he talks about experiencing it; what matters to him chiefly isn’t strategy or the mechanics of swing bowling (though he no doubt understands both), but the humanity behind the spectacle. If you get the chance, watch his Step Out W/ Harsha YouTube series — unlike Mark Nicholas, who often comes across as rehearsed, Bhogle’s earnestness never seems to dim. I’m a fan.