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Sight Screen

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Paper Rounds -- India

1. Saurav Ganguly tells PTI he is happy the ban's been reduced; he is happy to play under Dravid or anyone else at all; he is happy to bat anywhere in the order in the team's interests. Which makes him one happy chappie -- do you sometimes get the feeling the majority of sportsmen, Indian or otherwise, have a future in the diplomatic corps of their respective countries?
2. A Reuters story profiles Upul Tharanga, Sri Lanka's latest discovery in the opening slot -- within 24 hours, we should get a glimpse of just how hot he is since he is slated to walk out with Sanath Jayasuriya to start the Lankan innings.
3. Harsha Bhogle in his latest column looks to the English media's harsh treatment of its team, and draws lessons therefrom. I'd supplement this with one other lesson -- the Brit media actually erred twice; the second is the current slamming of its team and wide-eyed adulation of the opposition, but the first was the ecstatic, no questions asked triumphalism that characterised 'coverage' during the Ashes build up. You've seen it happen before, in India as well -- and it is easily understood. We journos take the brittle button of a win or three, and build around it an entire vest that says 'World Champions'. Then, when defeat comes along, all the hype we authored blows back in our faces, leaves us looking silly -- so what do we do? Instead of suggesting that we were the ones who went overboard in the first place, we turn, viciously, on who we perceive as the authors of our own stupidity. Maybe the real lesson for us media types is -- cover the action, forget the hype and hyperbole.
4. Trevor Chesterfield looks at Lasith Malinga, the 'slingshot' who has to take up the slack left by the absence of Zoysa and Vaas. It's a point of interest for me, this -- I've seen brief glimpses of him bowl, be fun to watch him in more detail and depth in this series.
5. Funny little story this -- Salim Malik forgets he is supposed to be banned, and ends up playing cricket for a side led by the very man who banned him in the first place.
6. India adds another member to its support staff -- Edward de Bono expert Shiva Subramaniam. Must remember to throw up Six Sigma, on this forum, some time soon. And by the way, Bajji Singh doesn't seem too convinced about all these hats de Bono talks about, does he?
7. Been reading a lot of stories suggesting that India has no answers yet to its opening question. And each time, I keep thinking -- is it that the team has no answers, or that it just hasn't chosen to share its thinking with the media? Because tell you what -- if a team that has spent what, three weeks?, together in a camp, preparing for its first tournament of the season under a new coach and new captain, does indeed have "no answer" 24 hours before its first game, it's the loudest alarm bell you ever heard that the team management's lost it. Sure the team has answers -- the real question is, are they the right ones? Laxman opening, IMHO, is *not*.
8. I'm planning on starting -- if you guys will chip in with prize money -- a new competition: The 'Create a Story out of Nothing' Stakes. I'd offer this 'Sanath licks his lips' effort as an early entry on the leaderboard.
9. This Indian Oil Cup seems to be about a whole heap of little battles within the war -- new Aussie coach versus new Aussie coach; Bajji's doosra versus Murali's doosra... What raises eyebrows is the dog that isn't barking -- did any of you guys spot anything in the Indian media about the West Indies, at all? Weird -- the third team in this triangular series appears to be a total blind spot, though Chappell seems free of such myopia.
10. Ajay Jadeja thinks Rahul Dravid should remain team captain; elsewhere, someone else wonders if 'the Wall will crumble under the pressures of captaincy'. At the very least, the competition I just thought of won't suffer for lack of highly qualified entries.

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