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Sight Screen

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fall guy? Who, me?

Apparently internet connectivity was not of the best, in Zimbabwe. Was a touch puzzled why various emails of mine went unresponded to, since the people I wrote to are generally very good about correspondence.
Heard from Harsha (I was a bit curious about what exactly happened in that press conference).
He says he had intended to avoid comment, but subsequent to a couple of pieces appearing in media outlets such as Cricketnext and Afternoon Despatch and Courier (From Harsha, this quote, on how it felt to see himself on the front page of the latter paper: Was almost like the movies where the
boy and girl running away from parents see their own "missing" notice in the papers!), he wrote a clarification to AD&C. This is it:
The Editor
The Afternoon Despatch and Courier

Oct 01,2005

Sometimes the truth is boring, sometimes fantasy is alluring. Sadly you succumbed to fantasy for the truth in your lead story today is boring; very boring.
On the third day of the test match we were to do a normal post match interview with Sourav Ganguly who had scored a century that day. While we were getting ready for it, our reporter Gautam Bhimani was in the press conference, his role being to bring Ganguly to where our camera was. And so, purely by accident, he heard Ganguly being asked at the press conference about whether he had been asked to step down.
On hearing Ganguly’s answer, Gautam told the producer and me about it and so when Ganguly came along to our interview I merely asked him a question that had already been asked and which he had already answered. I knew nothing about what had transpired between him and Greg Chappell at the time.
Sadly, that is all there is to it. I am sorry to disappoint you and the writer but that is it. There is no plot, no subterfuge. I can see why fantasy was the more interesting option.
“Pawn” therefore was an unfortunate word to use for it suggests moral weakness. And the headline, given all this is untrue and a bit rude.
So can we all be decent people, learn to differentiate between truth and fantasy, ignore those that cannot and apologise if we have made a mistake? On the very page on which the suggestion was made? Suitably bold so that people can see?

Sd/-Harsha Bhogle


  • Prem,
    Did the paper respond to this letter? Bhogle, it seems, can be menacing without raising his voice. I am scared of such people.

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:01  

  • i don't know what the truth is so i am not going to belive either harsha or afternoon dispatch....

    but an amazing reponse by harsha!!!

    By Blogger Mayur, at 11:14  

  • hmm...yes interesting...from Harsha's reputation point of view...if indeed he was not the first one to bring up the question to SG. On the rest of the affair, all the nails have firmly been struck on the coffin...and burial done too (although the ghost does roam freely here ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:18  

  • Whatever be the truth, this letter from Harsha once again confirms that Ganguly was 'asked' about that all important question. If we believe Harsha's version, then the ESPN team didn't get to know from someone like Gavaskar (remember some of the senior players went to him and complained about Chappell). That means there was a leak.

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:22  

  • phew!! amazing response from Harsha, a great lesson in how to show your indignation show through without being nasty. I am saving his response for reference!! -:)

    By Blogger flute, at 11:22  

  • Good job Harsha!

    By Blogger suraj, at 11:24  

  • Donno if the paper responded to Harsha, guys, can ask him if you like, or he might in any case mail about it since he browses this blog off and on. I just threw that in there, because this particular question has been in many minds, including mine, for a while now and it helps to get at least peripheral issues cleared up.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:27  

  • flute, I did the exact same thing :)

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:28  

  • Prem,
    Ask Harsha if he knows which particular journalist (newspaper) asked Ganguly the question in the press conference. There was a reference of a senior bowler regarding the leak. I am interested to know whether it's someone/paper from the South. :)

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:31  

  • I went through the AD&C, couldnt locate the exact article Bhogle was responding to

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:31  

  • so anti-SG automatically qualifies people as South Indian?

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:32  

  • Toney,
    Chill dude. Don't start unnecessary controversy. I mentioned 'senior bowler' which has been reported. I did not make it up. Many believe it could be Kumble. That's why I asked 'whether' it was a journalist from a South newspaper. Clear now?

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:37  

  • thanks for the clarification, jai

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:39  

  • Jai! so, if it turns out to be a eastern reporter, then can we all assume it is Gangs who leaked it? interesting, next time gangs want to leak anything, all he has to do is, find a south indian reporter.

    By Blogger flute, at 11:40  

  • Asking a question to Ganguly in a press conference does not make a person anti or pro SG. I hope you realize that Toney and don't try to categorize everyone as either anti-SG or pro-SG.

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:41  

  • Toney.. here is the AD&C link for the report that Harsha was responding to.. It is the same Sanjay Jha - "cricketnext" article..

    By Blogger vishnupavan, at 11:44  

  • Jai! also, if you want to imply 'south indian reporter' means it is more likely Kumble, don't you think it is more logical to assume it is Gangs who leaked it since there is more reason to believe he expected sympathy by leaking it etc, since Kumble has nothing to do with this issue and has nothing to gain by it?

    before anyone starts questions me about, 'how do you know Gangs leaked it', please read my comment above carefully. I am not saying Gangs leaked it, all I am saying is, going my Jai's logic, Gangs is more likely to have leaked it.

    By Blogger flute, at 11:45  

  • Flute,
    I am not 'assuming' anything. In the initial report, it was mentioned that Ganguly was furious with a senior bowler for leaking the story. I hope you remember reading it. LP Sahi gets his share of flaks because of his reports and it's widely believed that he gets his inputs from Ganguly. Whether it's Ganguly or someone else, we don't know. But that's what we like to 'assume'. Don't make statements like 'next time Ganguly wants to leak something'. Let it be proven first that Ganguly has leaked anything so far. Then we can talk about next time.

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:46  

  • thanks for the link, vishnu

    Flute, why bother...

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:47  

  • I still cant imagine why it is considered unethical on Harsha's part to ask about this. That is his job as a journalist, right?

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:49  

  • Jai! Gang apologists can live in their fantasy land, for me, going purely by their public posturing and media statements, Gangs been the spoilt brat and Chappell has been statesman like so far. Ganguly made direct statements like 'what kinda character ','we will know who will stay and who will leave','I been asked to step down' etc. All Chappel said so far is, 'You guys are very excited about the whole thing, but no comments' etc.

    Yes, I was not there when Gangs leaked it, but going by circumstantial evidence, and also going by Prem's bits of inside info, I think it is Gangs who leaked it. Again, this is purely my opinion and nobody need to agree with it. Thats what I think and also mentioned my reasoning for it. Period

    By Blogger flute, at 11:51  

  • Flute,
    I am not applying any additional logic here. I am commenting based on what appeared in the media. Period. You have to question those reports why Ganguly was furious with that senior bowler. It may not be Kumble at all. But that's what most people on this blog assumed when the story broke out. If you read my reply, I asked Prem to find out which reporter raised that question since we don't know that yet. I made the Kumble reference because that was the consensus amongst the fans. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't look for East, West, North, South controversy here.

    Let's not talk about who gets benefitted. When Chappell's email got leaked, it was said that it was done to turn the public sympathy towards Ganguly. As far as this forum is concerned, I have only seen the exact opposite happening as most of the people believed everything that Chappell had to say.

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:53  

  • Flute, You guys can live in your fantasy world too. I don't think Prem's bits of inside info. has suggested that it was Ganguly who leaked it. There is no circumstantial evidence either. Sure, personal opinion is fine. Limit it to that only.

    By Blogger Jai, at 11:58  

  • Jai, if you wanted to mentione Kumble, you should have mentioned Kumble. You were the one who generalized it to someone/paper from the South. :) . Even in the next post, you again refer to the South as in 'whether' it was a journalist from a South newspaper.
    None of us started that, mate. And I dont think anyone has thankfully suggested a North-South conflict for these problems, thankfully. Hence, the concerns from flute and myself.

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:59  

  • In the last post, I meant
    And I dont think anyone has suggested a North-South conflict for these problems, thankfully.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:00  

  • You know what, this whole Gangs thing is crazy. Of course none of us can claim to know the whole truth and anybody can come around and build some logic to say Gangs was innocent, he just made a emotional remark etc.

    Com'n the guys spoke about being asked to step down when he could have very simply said 'no comment' like what Chappel did, he could have very simply said 'no comment' instead of saying 'what type of character' about the national coach, he need not have met Dalmiya for 2 hrs before the review committee meeting(again it can be argued that may be they did talk only about Bengal cuisince), lying to Laxman issue has been quietly buried. Of course , of course, you can make any one shut up saying 'we still don't have complete video tape of the happenings..nothing is proved'..going by this kinda argument, I can prove that there is nothing like 'alaska' on this planet because nobody in this forum actually been there.

    By Blogger flute, at 12:01  

  • isn't harsha a mean man with words :-) awesome response..

    By Blogger Narad Han, at 12:07  

  • The day when Harsha did the interview, some of us cleary posted in the blogs that it was not Harsha asking SG directly abt the stepping down thing, but merely confirming what he heard. We also suggested someone might have passed on the news to Harsha before his interview with SG. But it all got lost in the avalanche of subsequent posts.

    By Blogger Neelan, at 12:08  

  • Toney,
    Before I made that comment, I also mentioned the senior bowler part. Since I am posting it on the same blog where it was widely assumed that it could be Kumble, I didn't think it was necessary to take the name again. Didn't realize that there will be a confusion.

    I have nothing to say to you. I can hurl accusations only towards Chappell, but what's the purpose? If you believe all that you are writing, then in your own words, please live in your fantasy world. I don't want to disturb you. Have a good day.

    By Blogger Jai, at 12:09  

  • Neelan,
    That's true, but it was later learnt that Ganguly first confirmed the news in the press conference. According to Harsha's reply, there too Ganguly was asked about it. Till it can be proven/known who leaked it, so let's assume Ganguly is the guilty one....of all charges.

    By Blogger Jai, at 12:12  

  • Neelan said...

    ruchir joshi. Absolutely you are right. I had heard the interview, Sourav was coming to talk to Harsha and Sunny after the press conference got over and I think by that time Harsha got the news that someone asked abt this stepping down from the captaincy in the press conference. So he directly asked him whether is that right for which Sourav was initially hesistant but told in a low voice, yes he was asked. Harsha asked some related questions and thats it. I really agree with your views on media's approach in asking questions. And Harsha did it perfectly without any malice in his mind. I really think these things are blown out of all proportions, there are some uneasiness in the team but those things should be sorted out within the team and that can be done only by straight honest talk. Regarding Gangulys place in the team, I think that report on rediff by Arvind tells the true and whole story, Sourav is no good for a long time now, hasnt improved in any of his cricketing aspects, and so lost most of his confidence in his captaincy. If you are selecting the best XI Sourav will not find a place. He should get back to domestic cricket improve his skills and then try to find his place on merit.


    This was posted after the Harsha-SG interview

    By Blogger Neelan, at 12:13  

  • I had read somewhere that the PTI guy (Shukla I Think) was the one who ased SG the question in the first place.

    dunnno if it is true or false.

    By Blogger Amit, at 12:21  

  • btw, one more thing which doesn't addup about Ganguly's alleged innocence is, according to the manager , when quuestioned Ganguly said 'I was questioned by a reporter'. He din't say I did not leak it or that it is not his fault. If he was really furious with Kumble, he could have told the manager about it , right?

    oh, btw, Ganguly goes to the press conference, someone asks him if it is true, Gangs says 'yes, it is true and it increased the pressure on me and also it is doubly satisfying to have scored this century etc', comes out of the PC and is very furious with a very senior bowler because he leaked it to the press. If someone did indeed leak it, Gangs could hae very easily killed the issue by simply not responding.

    By Blogger flute, at 12:27  

  • @prem
    u said harsha visits this blog often and that we cud ask him. cud u tell us what is his blogger id or how to get in touch with him ?

    By Blogger GK, at 12:27  

  • gk: I did not say he posts, friend, or that he has a blogger id; I merely said he occasionally, when time permits, checks this blog out.

    You will appreciate that I can't give out emails, without permission. I can, if you wish, forward him anything you mail me. And I can, and will, send him this link.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:38  

  • Prem! Any inside info about review committee meeting, any deal struck etc? I know you said, you done with Chappell-Gangs spat issue, but my question is about any info about how things will pan in the next 3-4 months? Are we just gonna go from one series to the next with some mediocre performances and things will just drift along?

    By Blogger flute, at 12:41  

  • @prem
    thanks ... sorry ... i understand u cant give us his email id - i was just wondering if he has a blogger id - btw just to make sure ur email where u receive mails is the one listed in ur profile rite ?

    By Blogger GK, at 12:43  

  • Flute,
    Each of the 1 billion people of India has agreed that Ganguly should not have confirmed the news in the media. Ganguly himself regretted that action. But that doesn't mean that Ganguly himself leaked it (until we know more). Do you really expect Ganguly to tell the Manager 'I did not leak it' without even being asked about it? Why would he even do that? Not everyone, like you, has assumed that Ganguly leaked it. It is possible that the leak happened though Ganguly. It is also possible that Chappell's email got leaked by one of his journalist friends. There are various possibilities. But till we get to know more, the benefit of doubts should be given to both of them.

    By Blogger Jai, at 12:47  

  • Jai! I realise there is no point arguing with you and my post was directed at other people in the forum.

    By Blogger flute, at 12:50  

  • LOL. You should have clarified that it was directed at other people.

    By Blogger Jai, at 12:59  

  • Going by your previous posts,I thought you were gonna let me live in my fantasy world( the same fantasy world most of the people in this forum live in ) which is why I did not clarify in my post. Or, just may be, did you realise that mine is not a fantasy world ?

    By Blogger flute, at 13:04  

  • I'd have if your next post did not start with a 'btw' which appeared to me as a continuation of your last post. There was also a reference to what Ganguly should have told the Manager and I thought it deserved a reply. I have not seen most of the people on this forum saying Ganguly leaked the news to the press. It must be your imagination. However, I did say that most of the people chose to believe Chappell's email.

    By Blogger Jai, at 13:10  

  • The bottom line is.. leak or no leak.. or who leaked..

    Ganguly has to go because He is sh*t.. as a batsmen and as a fielder.. ofcourse as a bowler.. and these days as a leader of men ..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:53  

  • gk: Yup, the same one

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:54  

  • @thanks chappel

    agree that he should go but it is the job of the selectors and they have to make that decision. going on the current situation i think they will persist with him for atleast the srilanka series and if so we should just let him try and redeem himself and if not the answer is clear.

    By Blogger inoc, at 14:25  

  • One cant trust Harsha, a MBA, and I'm sure he would know how to milk any issue to his (and his organisation's benefit) and then twist the truth to make everyone believe that he is indeed sincere etc.

    Harsha puts on too much of a show of being a sincere well-wisher of Indian cricket for it to be true. I hope he gets caught red-handed trying to manipulate issues to his and ESPn's benefit one of these days

    BEsides, Gavaskar and Shastri are two of the most self-serving cricketers india has produced - and Sourav's small change compared to these guys. I would any day place Sourav over these guys in the list of well-wishers of indian cricket, though in the current context it might sound crazy - there is no doubt that Sourav v2005 is destroying Indian Cricket but he has atleast genuinely fought for its glory in the past.These gentlemen have never ever moved a toothpick for Indian glory - always personal above country has been their motto.

    Gavaskar, expecially, has a sordid record -look at how he ingratiates himelf to Dalmia and Sourav, just so that he can be part of committees and if the public is sleeping, Rohan can be sneaked in again.

    By Blogger raj, at 01:16  

  • I used to like Harsha bogle for his innovative / quick wit ... I just wish and hope that he is sincere and really didn't tried to manipulate things..As we all lost of trust and respect for our crickets/BCCI/Selectors atleast commentators be sincere to fans

    By Blogger soapsoup, at 04:59  

  • Hi raj.. I agree with you on Harsha.Ditto on SMG but Sastri self serving? I think your emotions have got the better of you.Next time listn to him more closely.He is blunt, honest,thinker and would have made a great captain had the powers that be remained honest.To me, Sastri and Sanjay manjrekar represent the finest in indian cricket.

    By Blogger laks1234, at 06:05  

  • I would like to know the difference between the Chappell email leak and the info which the "inside sources" supposedly give. I mean the latter would also qualify as a leak as some confidential info might be given to some people for its use as required by them. Or is this a "selective leak" ?!

    By Blogger niti, at 10:31  

  • Great response by Harsha. Great reply by Raj too. Fantastic. And Laks 1234...."Ditto on SMG but Sastri self serving? I think your emotions have got the better of you.Next time listn to him more closely.He is blunt, honest,thinker and would have made a great captain had the powers that be remained honest.To me, Sastri and Sanjay manjrekar represent the finest in indian cricket."

    Dont live in a fool's paradise . Shastri is as shrewd an individual as they come and is the epitome of a selfish person who can do anything to consolidate his position. It was on a show by Harsha in 1996 (Inside Edge on ESPN to be precise)that when asked by Bhogle about Ganguly, Shastri said " Oh rasgulla from Kolkata" and yet had glowing words for Paras Mhambrey. And im so glad that he was never made a captain. If he was...hardly anything would have changed as far as India's test record is concerned, but he would have taken every opportunity to favour Bombay players.

    In fact , sometimes I feel that Shastri should have been made captain. Then people today could not have indulged in those fanciful " Ohh only if he was captain". A classic example of an ordinary player being extraordinarily successful in building up a larger than life image of himself, a person whose platitudes are sometimes interpreted as "expert comments" , a shrewd manipulator and Indian cricket's TV viewer's nightmare.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 11:04  

  • Hi Darknights "Shastri is as shrewd an individual as they come and is the epitome of a selfish person who can do anything to consolidate his position."

    Can you cite an example or a bit of hot gas because the guy comes off too blunt for your taste?

    By Blogger laks1234, at 02:23  

  • Well, I started following Cricket around 1985 so Ravi Shastri was actually my first Cricketing hero- you know, champion of champions and all that crap - looking back at recaps of those series(I have the sportstar issues of those times!), it seems like Srikkanth deserved the title better than Ravi.

    Even I used to think the world of him as a honest on-your-face type of guy. But 2 things about him haunt me against this image:
    1. WC 1991 - do you know that we lost the first 2 matches very narrowly to Eng and Aus. Shastri made like 69 of 119 balls refusing steadfastly to accelerate in the face of an increasing asking rate - and perished at a crucial stage in both matches after having eaten a good amount fo balls leaving the tail and Kiran More to fight the tough part of the battle.
    2. He comes across as partial to Bombay cricketers and as Dark Nights mentioned, I too remember the comment on Ganguly in 96. This later changed to sky high praise of Ganguly around the Natwest triumph - thats when I got disillusioned with him because he is changing his stance just because Gangs is powerful.

    Well, on second thoughts, this might be a bit harsh on him but I would still not rate him above people like Vengsarkar or Robin or Venkatraghavan in terms of sheer commitment to growth of Indian cricket.

    By Blogger raj, at 04:25  

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