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Sight Screen

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Two to tango

Shekhar Luthra, in the Hindustan Times, on Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly spending a good two hours engrossed in discussion, here.
And a glimpse into the kind of money the BCCI hopes to make through selling telecast rights, here.
In the Hindu, a piece suggests being a cricket writer in India is a tough job, because every one of your readers is a self-confessed expert on the sport.


  • Prem,
    how old is Rahul Bhattacharya? 20 something? Thats young to write a book. Good for him!!

    By Blogger Toney, at 18:08  

  • Valid point about everyone being a critic, but that is no excuse for the shoddy writing!! Just because u get an oppurtunity to write, does not absolve you from criticism from others that don't write!

    By Blogger KB, at 18:50  

  • I think it is important to let a cricket writer express his opinion and his personality through his writings. Too often, cricket writers in India are too cliched and produce pieces which have neither insight nor depth. To be honest, I enjoyed Prem's work when he covered cricket for rediff but I like his pieces on this blog more as it is less restrained and offers a freer forum for expression. Even more disappointing are some of the "expert" columns in newspapers from the likes of Gavaskar, Boycott and Shastri. These are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable individuals, but whether its due to the editor's cut or the restraint of putting their opinion in a limited number of words, the final article is disappointing to say the least. I hope there is a way where future cricket writers could be hired not by their degree in journalism but their insight into the game.

    By Blogger Ashwin Ramachandran, at 20:49  

  • prem, why did you stop writing cricket columns? career move? the current crop at Rediff are rather mediocre.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 21:26  

  • Prem,

    yesterday frm the article by LP sahi on the telegraph, we inferred that gangs wants to open ...and he said it depends on who becoms a captain ... and u said team balance shuld decide it .... very true ..i was appalled at sourav's lack of discretion in making that comment ...even if that is his opinion he shuld have kep it to himself

    But Today in the HT article that u have linked to this post it says

    ' On a hypothetical question of sacrificing the opener's slot again, Sourav had no comment to make. "That's a decision for a captain to make, be it Rahul or me " '

    i think this a perfect eg. of media twisting words and creating a figmental power struggle between RD and SG

    I would like to think that SG said something like or exactly what is said in HT article and LP sahi has brought in his own warped thinking when writing that article for telegraph ....

    Let me know if im wrong!

    By Blogger srik, at 21:45  

  • LP Sahi sometimes take it upon himself to fight for Saurav and in that enthusiasm, twists words,i bet.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 21:47  

  • and also prem, u said in yesterdays post that " during the latter part of the John Wright tenure, when personal interest -- of various players and outside interests -- appeared to dictate the team agenda "

    when u find time, could u elucidate that?

    as far as i know this is only team (i have only been foll cricket from the 90's) that did not have any power struggle and RD is the only indian VC who did not vie for captaincy.
    (im quoting this from cricket writer ramachandra guha)

    maybe u have some inside info abt the problms the team had during the latter half of the john wright tenure. So if u find time pls post ur take on that.


    By Blogger srik, at 21:58  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger zombie, at 22:34  

  • LOL...I liked the self-professed experts part. I liked Ashwin's thoughts on the matter and I totally agree with them. Cricket is not just about being technically correct, it's about style as well. Prem, I really enjoy reading your thoughts as they are not only articulate, but insightful as well. Keep the good work up, my brotha' from an indian motha'. Peace.

    By Blogger Varun Kaushik, at 22:39  

  • Srik: I left the comment about captaincy deliberately vague. There are times when you know something -- or, to be more accurate, you hear something from multiple sources who were present or would know.

    But you cannot, unfortunately, write it as fact because the principals involved will, given the subject, simply deny the whole thing -- and that denial will make a lie out of what is in fact the truth.

    Actually, this reminds me of a dinner-table conversation I had with Amit Varma and Rahul Bhatia, during my last visit to India. Both the guys were asking me the same thing -- how come I hadn't written a book?

    My answer to that is also my answer to your request to elaborate. See, there are two ways of doing a cricket book. One is hagiography, singular or collective -- you can write reams in praise of a person or a team, pepper it with anecdotes gleaned from personal accounts or from others, and churn out a book that will sell well simply because almost anything on cricket sells in India. I'd rather not do that.

    The other is to write an account, as truthfully as possible, about what really goes on.

    Someone once likened diplomacy to a duckpond -- calm and placid on the surface, but a lot of frantic paddling beneath. That, I learnt from my 8 odd years covering the game 24x7x365, is even more true of Indian cricket.

    But assume you write the truth about, say, how relations really were in the dressing room at a time when public perception suggested it was all nice and normal. What happens?

    The book comes out. The people involved are asked to comment. And their comments likely will be 'What? Politics? In the Indian dressing room? What nonsense -- we are one big happy family!'

    What does that do to the book? It makes a lie out of what in fact is the truth. And truth is fragile -- if it once tries to stand up and is cut down, it can never stand up again.

    The 90s decade is a very interesting point in India's cricket history, and it deserves a book to be written about it. I suspect, though, that the time is maybe 10 years down the line -- when the various personalities involved have all quit the game, either as players or as administrators.

    Incidentally, the same problem, to a lesser degree, afflicts the journalist. Most times, he does not know what actually goes on. In some instances, he builds a rapport with one player or the other, who feeds him stories that suit that player's self interest. And in some rare cases, a journalist ends up getting several players confiding in him, and thus gets a better glimpse of the truth -- but is damned in that he can write none of it, because he ends up betraying a confidence and, worse, from that point on he will never know anything again because no one will talk to him henceforth.

    And you guys thought the life of a cricket reporter was fun? *L*

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 23:23  

  • mock and srik: Actually, after reading through some of the reports today, I too suspect those statements received a bit of cosmetic surgery from LPS. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 23:25  

  • toney: Yeah, Rahul is in his early 20s as far as I know and yes, again, totally brilliant of him to have done what he has done.

    Actually, that is why I like the younger crop of writers Cricinfo introduced. Rahul does a book that mixes cricket with social observation; the other Rahul, Bhatia, is busy working towards his interest in travel writing; Amit Varma voluntarily takes sabbaticals or otherwise reduces his involvement with daily journalism so he can work towards his own book... is superb, seeing young guys who marry talent with ambition and end up achieving something tangible

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 23:27  

  • Geez, I sound like someone's fricking grandfather, in that last post. *grin*

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 23:28  

  • Prem,

    Your book writing idea doesn't seem like a bad one. Obviously you don't have the time right now, but just a book on the evolution of the Indian cricket team to its present state would make a wonderful read. Especially considering your close involvement with the team during that time. Something along the lines of Ramachandra Guha's brilliant work on Indian cricket development mirroring the evolution of the Indian society.

    I'd love to work/read on something along those lines...*sigh*. Have to go to sleep to attend to my day job as a Softwar Engineer. My evenings as a cricket blogger and blog reader gives me much pleasure though. And I'm sure to some extent it must to you too :).

    By Blogger Ashwin Ramachandran, at 23:34  

  • "What does that do to the book? It makes a lie out of what in fact is the truth. And truth is fragile -- if it once tries to stand up and is cut down, it can never stand up again."
    I suppose thats why blogging is so much better. You can post but dont have to reveal the entire plot or have to dedicate thousands of words to a particular topic. A titbit here and there would give the discerning reader enough.

    By Blogger Rishi Gajria, at 23:45  

  • It is quite unlikely that SG would say something so blatant given the situation that he is in. Is LP Sahi is friend or foe, I wonder!

    or gets a kick out of projecting that he knows something more than the others.

    Several good, young (ouch!) writers around. Dileep Premachandran is my personal favourite.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 00:00  

  • Rishi: Right, with the option open of being more forthcoming if the situation really calls for it. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 00:04  

  • you say that you could write a book 10 years down the line - wouldn't that be betraying confidence too? and could also be denied.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 00:08  

  • Not really -- it's sort of like the US declassifying the secret papers of Richard Nixon now. :-)

    The protagonists would by then have all left the game... and have nothing to gain by denying, no?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 00:17  

  • oh, these protagonists will be around as commentators, writers and what-nots and would each have published their own autobiography.

    so you book is best written NOW.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 00:34  

  • *grin* Dont worry. They, some of them at least, may write books, but they won't write the sort of book I want to.

    We dont have slaters and lehmanns in India, bud.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 00:49  

  • Prem...things that we have been discussing for the past five years have been reiterated by Harsha Bhogle.


    You'd think that after spending years playing four bolwers and attaining meiocre results this would not be a gamble as Harsha's suggests. What are we going to lose? another one-dayer?

    By Blogger Jiet, at 00:59  

  • Jiet, years of playing with 4 bowlers was not always mediocre results. We all know that thats what got us to WC04 finals. But anyway, I've myself expressed here and in my blog earlier that going with 5 bowlers is one aspect I wud hope to see in GC's flexibility.

    By Blogger worma, at 04:25  

  • ..and Prem...I think I commented earlier also, even before reading today's discussions here, that if u write a book..count atleast me as an eager reader ! ...and it seems you would surely have enough of those.

    Btw good thing for me in Rahul's book was that it was a travellogue, not a cricket book. Cricket was the background for the book, many times just incidental to the anecdote.

    By Blogger worma, at 04:30  

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