Should cricket reporters applaud their captain?

When Anil Kumble ended his post-Sydney Test media conference with the words “Only one side played in the spirit of the game,” a statement reminiscent of the Australian captain Bill Woodfull after the Bodyline series, the assembled Indian cricket correspondents put their hands together for the Indian captain, who, they all concurred in unison, had conducted himself magnificently on and off the field in the face of grave pressure.

However, Greg Baum of the Sydney Morning Herald has found the Indian reporters’ conduct, presumably of not covering the media conference as professionals but as partisan supporters of their country and cause, as wanting as that of the umpires, the referee and the players:

“Everyone was guilty, not forgetting media who forgot themselves at Indian captain Anil Kumble’s press conference and applauded him for sticking it to Australia. Kumble miscounted when he said only one team was playing in the spirit of the game. India’s sportsmanship at times was as lacking as Australia’s when using elaborate ruses to slow the over rate on the last day. India got the rough end of the stick here, but were as sore losers as Australia were graceless winners.”

Right or wrong? Should cricket correspondents be seen to be batting for their country? Or should they keep a safe distance in the interests of objectivity and fair play? In a superheated atmosphere, were the reporters within their rights to be taking sides and showing their emotions? Or were reporters falling into the pit of hyper-patriotism that the issue had become? Should reporters applaud a good bowling performance, a fine century, or just sit and watch? Or, since it’s just an escapist pursuit they are covering, should they join a Mexican wave?

Read the full column here: It’s time for both sides to shake hands, grow up and move on