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Sight Screen

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Urn -- the other side

The Indian media is often criticized for being unduly harsh on its team. Look at the Aussie and English press, look at the way they back their teams even when they lose, has been the subtext of a fair few mails in my inbox during my time as a cricket correspondent.
I disagreed then; I disagree now. I think if we as an entity have erred, it has been in the reverse direction: at the first sniff of a win, we have tended to exalt the team, and the individual components thereof, to undreamt-of heights.
Thus, our team has the greatest captain, the best batsman in the world, the man who invented leg spin, the best off spinner in the world, the Wall, the Bludgeon, the Blunderbuss...
Winning, typically, is an excuse to ignore the fault lines, to paper over the all too visible cracks, to go through a rosary's worth of hosannas. Maybe, I sometimes think, if we were more diligent in pointing to the flaws, fans would find subsequent defeat easier to take (this morning, I received a mail that I haven't replied to yet because I don't know what to say, from one of the most regular readers of this blog; the impassioned contents can be summed up in one short line: I have had enough).
How though to explain the Aussie reaction to its champion team having an off-day (okay, an off-series?).
Here's Alex Brown, for the Sydney Morning Herald:
So this is what's becoming of Australian cricket. Former captains queuing up to attack the incumbent. That skipper attacking the opposition over their underhand tactics. And the opposition preparing for their final attack on a team that looks increasingly like prey, providing further cause for former captains to attack the incumbent skipper.

Darren Lehmann (whose incisive commentary has been one of the delights of following this Ashes tour) tells Chloe Satlau, meanwhile, that Mathew Hayden deserves one more chance to rehabilitate himself. Saltau, incidentally, also digs up some salt to rub into Hayden's wound -- apparently the once dominant opener is now in the record books for all the wrong reasons.
And that does it for the Ashes round up for the day, folks.


  • I think Indian media, and all kind of critics here (armchair, couch, office all variety) have this habit of extreme. The ones that dont (like you :-) )are listened and followed more intently, but are only rare. So its the best team and the best batsman or spinner....or its downright pathetic team and 'sachin should be sacked' kind of tirades. The middle ground, where the reality often lies, is hardly tread upon. I think the people are to blame, but I also think that the media is nurturing these stereotypical reactions in the fans.

    And in the lower part of extreme, I do blame the media fo putting down our team more often than its due. (as i said above they raise it to heaven also). For example....had a full strength India lost that ODI to bangaladesh, like Aus did, what would have been the reaction in our media ? How often do you hear the words 'pathetic, spineless..etc' being used by their media to describe a single performance ? Look at how our media was gunning for Saurav when Steve Waugh was irritated by his antics. And look at how Eng media has reacted to Ponting's outburst. Or also, one did not hear a public outcry and words like 'favouritism, bias, pet players' when Ponting decided to stick with Gillespie and Hayden for so long. Heck...there was hardly and big hue and cry about retaining Hayden till last match (now there is, but still its more subdued than what we would have seen here). Or for example, take the analysis and criticism of Geraint Jones. Sure its still quite heavy, but atleast there is logi behind both the pro and anti arguments. What we would have seen in India is use of words like hopeless and pathetic and 'favouritism' etc without going into analysis.

    Sure that is mainly because of lack of experience of a majority of journalists, lack of insight and overall quality of the sports desk of these publications. But then, whatever the reason, the difference is there to see.

    By Blogger worma, at 03:33  

  • ..another aspect comes to mind...the issue of 'half-truth' being used in the Indian media articles...and also of mixing quotes with journalists personal opinion (which we sometimes dont want)...
    ..example of half truth....recent report on Indian batting against Zim....the Indian team struggled to put up a competitive score against an attack which was mauled by Nz for 397 runs (note its not exact quote, but a gist)...now sure...there is truth here in the statement...but isn't it missing something ?...and you know, it if more often than not able to create the impression successfully that it set out to achieve with the 'selective' usage of facts...(the full fact that its a diff pitch where Nz had struggled in their first outing in first test match...is not mentioned anywhere at all)

    And I don't see this in Eng and Aus media. Especially not after the 1st or 2nd game of a tour which has a long way to go and there is some space and time which needs to be given to any touring team.

    By Blogger worma, at 03:41  

  • ..and I get a good chance to explain the point again ! Nz, at the time of writing this..are 67/4 in 15 overs again Zim (and Astle, playing on 22, was dropped when at 9). This is the full truth. Sure they would not be 4 down EVERY time they play here against Zim...so this may not be their 'on par' performance...but then neither would India make only 220+...the point is...its made to look like this Indian team is good enough to get 220(everytime) against a side whom Nz maul for 300+(everytime) !

    Oh and a sidenote...this is a Nz side, as Fleming himself put it, 'full of confidence' and 'on top of their game' in ODIs...and much better than us. They have been here in Zim for a long time, batted earlier on this pitch, faced the same bowling.

    By Blogger worma, at 04:55  

  • further on that sidenote : Astle got 61 off 81 balls with 9 fours - means 25 runs off 72 balls outside the boundaries

    By Blogger worma, at 08:16  

  • Prem : You gotta read this to understand the point I am trying to make :

    This is the match report on the Indian innings against Zim http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2005/aug/29tri.htm

    and compare it with this report on the Nz innings today against Zim http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2005/aug/31tri1.htm

    By Blogger worma, at 09:36  

  • You were once asking Prem, about us, the readers, comments and feedback on what we expect from the media, what do we observe. Well, take these above points as my feedback. I can even write more on this sometime :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 09:37  

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