E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: One of the popular scraps doing the rounds on Facebook is:
“Thank God, India failed to scrape through to the semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup! Otherwise Vishwanathan Anand’s 4th World Cup title victory in chess would have been confined to a one-liner between ‘other news’ and the ‘weather report’, courtesy our national networks!”
Even now, India reaching the finals of the Azlan Shah hockey championship in Malaysia has been consigned to a similar fate as TV time is hogged by reformed match-fixers and one-Test wonders who are pontificating on how Mahendra Singh Dhoni must put Indian cricket ahead of club cricket.
So far, no expert on chess has come on TV to explain how Anand won the crucial final game, what moves he made, etc. But every move and tweet of Lalit Modi is being scrutinized and Virender Sehwag’s mother’s reaction is being studied in anticipation of Sehwag supposedly becoming India’s captain, courtesy our froth-in-the-mouth networks.
With the BCCI reportedly seeking an explanation on a brawl involving the players in a St Lucia pub after India lost the match against Sri Lanka, we can be sure reporters will soon be interviewing Rohit Sharma’s naani in Bombay to find out if Rohit was always a problem child even in his kg classes!
Not to be outdone, a rival channel will dispatch half its staff to get ‘whatever it takes’ about Yuvraj Singh’s diet due to which he has put on some weight. I won’t be surprised if the network also interviews ‘aloo chacha’ from Yuvraj’s favourite chaat shop, with a few words from Gulfi of ‘Gulfi’s kulfi’ about Yuvraj’s kulfi eating habits.
What have the so-called national networks reduced themselves to?
Do they know:
# At Wimbledon, only a few from England have won the men’s or women’s, singles or doubles, championships for the last 50 years?
# At the French Open in Paris, only a couple of Frenchmen and women have managed to bag the title in more than 50 years?
# That, despite hosting the first three World Cups, England had never ever won a major tournament, and its Twenty20 win on Sunday was a first?
Winning and losing is a part and parcel of a game.
Whining and crying is not when the team loses.
And non-stop yapping and going over the top is not when the team wins!
Had the Indian team won this edition of the Twenty20 World Cup, even God would not have managed to help viewers and cricketers. Money would have flown like IPL funds, and crores would have been spent on cash prizes, awards and rewards such as cars, prime lands and what-have-you.
Dozens of reporters would have been vying with each other to interview Dhoni’s hair-dresser, Raina’s milkman and Gautam Gambhir’s second chacha! There would have been a nonstop yapping on the TV by former test discards on how “Captain Cool/ Courageous” conjured up this victory.
This is being intolerable in victory.
We don’t find BBC reporters running to the bar frequented by Andrew Flintoff or Kevin Pietersen to know whether their drinking habits were in any way responsible for England not winning anything worthwhile till Sunday.
If Pietersen were to be playing for India, by now the major networks would have camped at the hospital, interviewed, the doctors and nurses who delivered his baby and shown the baby’s cries live, all because Pieterson helped England to reach the semifinals and the win the finals!
India did not win the super8 matches because they didn’t play short-pitched balls that came up to the chest. Period.
It’s a simple as that. This is not something new; this weakness has existed in Indian cricket over the last 50 years.
Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid are the only two who have mastered the short pitched balls, especially while playing overseas, and their records speak for themselves.
The BCCI should use the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and train our batsmen how to play short-pitched balls. Unless this is taken care of, Indian cricketers will flounder against bouncers on a lively pitch in any from of cricket. Again and again.
Most of the reporters can’t differentiate between a ‘leg glance’ and a ‘short leg’ but can yap hours at a stretch at ‘extraa yap’ sessions, before and after the match, prying in to lifestyles of cricketers, etc, and splash any teenie-weenie bit of trivia as ‘Breaking News’.
Cricket, hockey or for that matter chess are all games, among others, which deserve ‘equal opportunity’ from the media. By being partial to cricket and sensationalising when India wins or loses, the media is doing singular disservice both to the cricketers as well as to other sportspersons who don’t get any recognition or coverage at all.
The networks should ponder over this and give a more balanced coverage to all sports.
Most of the media hype that followed our team before the T20 World Cup was just wishful thinking at best. With the kind of team that was selected and the fitness issues that players had, several cricketing experts did opine (but did not say it loud) that the team would find it hard to reach the semi finals. While the weakness against the short pitched ball is a known bugbear, no one discussed another equally important issue of match temparament. One hopes the right lessons are learnt and corrective measures are taken.
As fans, we need to applaud our hockey players for their feat even if our media has been less enthusiastic.
OMG Mr. Ramachandran, what have you done?! It was all going so well, and then you had to ruin it with this….
“Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid are the only two who have mastered the short pitched balls, especially while playing overseas, and their records speak for themselves.”
Legions of Sachin Tendulkar fans are going to land on this blog now, asking how dare you claim that he can’t play short pitched bowling. Stats will be thrown, names will be called (not you, mostly other players). Platoons of Rahul Dravid fans will then descend and you will soon have counter-arguments and counter-stats. You will have an all out war that will rage for weeks before the next ODI starts in Zimbabwe and people content themselves with India belting Zim and playing SL (again!!).
But wait, the post was about something else…the media and it’s obsession with cricket. I guess we get the media (and politicians) we deserve. :)
if u think tht the english media is any better, just chk how they hound their football team….in their country, football has already overtaken cricket as the most popular game….
These media people are very funny. They behave like this in each and every issue.
I’m a chess player and ardent follower of the game. But I’m glad that Indian mainstream media isn’t following chess at the moment, after listening to the questions one ndtv reporter asked Anand immediately after his match (some Sonali, I guess). Unlike cricket, chess is not easy to follow but fortunately there are many blogs and websites which cover the major chess events live, along with commentary from GMs and IMs. I don’t think any Indian (sports) channel woud ever be able to do that. They are not ready to invest their resources to chess, but I’m not complaining. I don’t think any serious chess follower in India relies on Indian media for chess news and least of all for analysis.
Who cares if Mahinder Singh Dhoni will stay as captain or not. TheTV reporters, shrill, gasping, talking very fast want to convey a feeling that Cricketers are the Gods of India. They have no time for
women cricketers, hockey players, football players,sometimes I feel this is a part of that bogey the TV channels are talking about now-THE PAID NEWS. Unfortunately, what we are getting on TV is not even news.
Hmmm… considering sports being the topic here, and considering that India are the champions of the nehru cup, I think its so cool that we win against several asian countries n win the cup. But when it finally comes down to the big one, “THE FIFA WORLD CUP”, anyone wonder why we NEVER qualify?? Is it too much to expect that our team qualifies for the initial rounds of the football world cup??
I share your views.
To occupy the center stage of Indian TV media you have to hug two or more sexy girls and pose for media cameras like the guy (what is his name) yes Yuvaraj Singh did, in one of these after match IPL late night free for all.
Poor Viswanathan Anand does’t have the stomach to do it.
By the by, why don’t you (media) show some off the field batting of our nation’s cricketing heroes, which will be a tad better than their limp batting on the field.
This is a really stupid rant. Instead of watching all these TV networks to write this kind of a blog, why not write something constructive? It is true that TV channels will over-expose cricket, just because people like the blogger will hype it up creating further publicity. If you do decry the coverage the best you can do is IGNORE it, thus killing it. It surprises me that making more noise about something is supposed to make it go away.
Also, paparazzi in England are as bad if not worse than those in India, hence glorifying them as compared to indian reporters seems to be very myopic and foolish.
Stop getting on the cricket bandwagon by pretending to not be on it. It is DISGUSTING!!
Correctly observed, Faldo!
It breaks my heart when I see Indian youngsters still following cricket and idolizing the likes of Kulla and cretins like Dhoni…India should wake up and look at other sports. I think reducing everything to Tamasha (not the Tamasha venerated by the likes of Mysore Peshavan–that Marathi hip hop executed by energetic dancers to some asinine beats accompanied by suggestive gyrations) is our credo.
As long as we ‘excel’ in cricket Indians will remain a bunch of sad sad soft-bellied morons!
There is usually a red button the remote control of your TV which can be put to good use under such circumstances. Even better, start a news channel and telecast “quality” news. And perhaps the same could be said of my comment here too but I am totally with you on your right to rant. So I think it will be reciprocal.
“Quality news coverage” is not a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution!
hey, DB! :) when did i express any “veneration” for tamasha? i have seen only one tamasha performance in my life, and that was in mysore by a troup visiting from nanded!
I believe only tabloid press follow every move of footballers in uk. Only when a threshold is reached, the news is upgraded as a national news.
I think indian tv is overdoing cricket and talent shows.
TV9 channel, is it meant for illegal telecasts?….here is the storyline
(News taken from http://www.gulte.com/index.php?tv9-ceo-ravi-prakash-attends-court–paritala-case&page=news_updates&link=672 but this link has been removed within a few days, may be due to some unknown pressures)
“TV9 CEO Ravi Prakash attends court : Paritala case
Chief Executive Officer of a television channel (TV9) Ravi Prakash (125th witness) told the Sessions Court here on Tuesday that, Julakanti Srinivasa Reddy alias Moddu Seenu had personally called the television channel and expressed his willingness to be interviewed on camera days after the murder of Paritala Ravindra.
A cassette of the interview was replayed in the court hall and the witness approved it as the one telecast by their channel. Lawyers for several accused in the case sought to know from Mr. Prakash as to how his channel that claims existence “for better society” could telecast such interviews which smack of criminality, to which the television channel CEO replied that ‘it was part of news’.
Asked whether the channel would not edit programs prior to airing it, Mr. Prakash said it would depend on the quality of input.
The counsel for the accused also sought to know from Mr. Ravi Prakash whether the channel had taken permission either from the police or court before telecasting such news, to which he replied “NO”. (Moddu Seenu, who claimed to have killed Paritala, was found killed in the jail barrack in November 2008.)
Further hearing was adjourned to June 19”.
Very well said sir…
“reformed match-fixers” thats it, I was searching for the terms to explain these “GodMen of Circket”!
Wondering why the bar brawl between yuvraj and northie gang and the ‘fans’ was not captured by anyone on a phone camera and put up on the internet. Or was it?
This is in reposnse to “Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid are the only two who have mastered the short pitched balls, especially while playing overseas, and their records speak for themselves.”. You get that kind of crap written about Dravid a lot. He has only one century in 11 test matches in Australia in Adelade in 2003 against Brad Williams, Andy Bichel, Stuart Macgill and Jason Gilespie who perhaps was the only top class fast bowler… He has only one century in 9 test matches in South Africa 148 at Johanesberg in 1997 against a quality attack. He has no centuries against South Africa in India and one against Australia in India. It is one thing that he is comfortable against short pitch bowling, but you need to score runs to save and win test matches…
Compare that To Sachin or Sehwag, their conversion ratios and averages are much superior and they dont get a mention in this site. I know we Kannadigas are fond of other kannadigas, but you cannot mask facts. I only hope we stop obsessing about Dravid and give due credit to the greatest cricketer Karnataka have produced which is Anil Kumble.