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Sight Screen

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fingers on your lips!

Ah, now I know why an armyman has been pressed into service as the team's media manager -- here comes the edict from the board: Shut the heck up. Or, in the more diplomatic phrasing of press releases:
The management of the Indian cricket team has decided that none of the players will undertake any media commitments for the moment.
That however excludes the captain who has to do a mandatory press conference.
"It's a collective decision of the team management and it has been taken so that the players can concentrate on the game," said Wing Commander Baladitya, Media Manager, Indian team.

Actually, not inclined to complain. Knowing how the media works, this scenario is very probable:
Eager reporter: Bajji... or Irfi... or Yuvi... what do you think of Saurav Ganguly not being picked for the next three ODIs?
Bajji... or Irfi... or Yuvi...: Pata nahin, yaar, it's the selectors' business, who knows.
ER: But do you think Saurav was a good captain?
Bajji... or Irfi... or Yuvi...: Arre haan, yaar, tha woh achcha.
Next day's report: Headline: Bajji shocked at Ganguly's exclusion
Story: Ace Indian off spinner Harbhajan Singh today said he could not understand why the selectors had refrained from picking former captain Saurav Ganguly in the team for the third, fourth and fifth ODIs against Sri Lanka.
He was a great captain, Bajji said in an exclusive conversation with this reporter. It will be recalled that it was under Ganguly that Bajji had his greatest triumph, when he emerged from obscurity thanks to his captain's strong recommendation, and repaid that faithy by spinning India to an improbable series win against Steve Waugh's unconquerables, on the threshold of the Last Frontier.
'Who knows?', Bajji sighed wistfully, when asked what he thought was the reason for the omission. It is clear that within the team, the former captain has strong support...
Ah never mind, you guys can write this sort of thing yourself. So, like I said, the gag just might be a good idea after all, huh?


  • Wish the gag order could be extended to include Gavaskar

    By Blogger Ashvin Iyengar, at 14:04  

  • yeah.. these wishes..:)

    By Blogger Yorker, at 14:15  

  • Excellent example, Prem, of "creating" a story where none exists. Seen this way too often, happens here in the US all the time as well. That is why quite often I'm willing to give benefit of doubt to people who claim they were misquoted or that their comments were taken out of context

    By Blogger Multy, at 14:16  

  • I do not understand the rationale behind dropping VVS Laxman from the ODI team. None of the batsman rao, kaif, yuvraj, sehwag are in a class of him. Remember the world cup is not played in India's backyard where the above guys can can score some runs. The cup is played in WI and though it is a shorter version of the game the role of specilist batsman/bowler always comes into picture in tight games involving good teams.
    In a scenario where we are 20/2 or so against a Australia, England, Pakistan in a key game I would take Laxman over anyone including Tendulkar or Dravid. For one he scores freely and is realible under these conditions.
    So all these theories of building the squad for World cup is non sense. You can have the likes of Rao/Gambhir have 25 -30 games under their belt but it does not matter.
    Their is nothing wrong in grooming for the future but why it has always be at the cost of Laxman, especially if he is performing well. On top of that he is younger than Dravid or Tendulkar.
    With the supersub rule in place his role should be more prominent now.
    I do not know what it is but something does not smell right with the way Laxman is treated and no one says a thing about it except saying that he is a liabilty on the field. Trust me he is no more bad than a Dravid/Sachin/Sehwag.
    I can understand GC present theory if we are building a team for ASIA cup. But come on we are talking of world cup on a foreign soil and he prefers rao, gambhir, raina over Laxman.
    Who is he kidding????

    By Blogger ramshorns, at 14:21  

  • definitely good in the short term...although I hope there's no behind the scene thing...that a report say 'our sources close to the team...or our sources in the team..or a senior player has said so and so'...well that defeats the purpose. I hope the players realize this.

    And the key word is 'short term'...I also hope this doesnt become a law

    By Blogger worma, at 14:38  

  • worma: Oh, the guys will talk. They all do. Only, they'll be a bit more careful who they talk to -- and what they say. *L*

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:43  

  • yeah but then not much point..no??...because a report saying "a senior batsmen in the team, who is a regular in our ODI setup for 6 years...said SG should be selected" is the same as quoting Yuvraj directly. Who are we kidding?

    By Blogger worma, at 14:44  

  • but i understand...you mean they wont speak on that issue at all??...yeah maybe...or maybe in this new anonimity they might speak better....knowing their name wont appear

    By Blogger worma, at 14:45  

  • worma: Not exactly. For instance -- player x tells me -- I am quoting a hypothetical example, everyone please note -- that during a team meeting, the exclusion of SG was discussed, and RD and GC told the team that they felt he would be a destabilising influence just now, and the team could do without it just when it was turning things around.

    I need to write the story, but not let on where it came from. I could do this in one of several ways -- I could just quote a 'member of the side' -- what are you going to do, hang all 15?
    Or I could get cute. For instance, suppose you read this:
    "In announcing that Ganguly would not be picked in the side for the next 3 ODIs, the chairman of the selection committee refused to go into details behind the decision. However, sources in the know told this correspondent that, et cetera."
    I'll bet you good money, 10 readers out of 10 will presume More or one of the other four selectors talked, no one will ever think of a player as the source.
    The trick is, how do you present your information, what is it juxtaposed against, or arranged next to. Or to borrow the lexicon of magic -- misdirection. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:50  

  • aha....tricks of trade Prem ;-)...LOL...yeah I guess you guys know the ways....hmm..suddenly I feel vulnerable :-))

    But surely...not a good sign in the long term this...no?

    By Blogger worma, at 14:53  

  • worma: *laughing* You know the real joke, though? Various players used to tell us things. And some we kept to ourselves, some we wrote about. Thing is, readers pretty much decided that I was very friendly with RD and that he was my main source -- got to a point, whenever I wrote something that spoke of insider knowledge, people in admin and even in the team figured RD had spilt the beans. Till one time, the guy tells me, for f's sake, either name your source, or next time, write something like, 'A senior player in the side whose name is not Rahul Dravid told me...'
    I cracked up.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:53  

  • worma: bad sign. any gag invariably is. ostensibly, it stops you from speaking of say dissension in the dressing room -- but news of such things will leak anyways and the bcci knows it, heck, half the time they are the ones who leak. however, say there is a problem with the contracts issued; suppose a player who feels hard done by goes to the media -- now the bcci can get rid of him/take action on the grounds he broke this gag rule.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:56  

  • Prem,

    *LOL*, you know what, till today I always thought that it was RD splitting the beans for you.. and the other one was Kumble.
    Now that you say... what can I say?

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 14:56  

  • Prema:

    I'm pretty sure that this dictat will be flouted with the impunity with which the gag order on the SG-GC-spat committee aka "The Performance Review Committee" was disregarded. However, I'm with you - don't mind the directive being obeyed. Most players are poor communicators (something SG excelled in, BTW, at least early on), having nothing to say. Pity the poor journos.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 14:59  

  • santa: Both used to speak to me; we knew/know each other very well. Never said they didn't tell me things. Thing though is, whence the assumption they were the only people I knew, or who would talk to me? No one ever thought of SRT. Or, which is what cracks me up at times, when I get this guff about how much I hate him, SG. Not to mention at least three other guys.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:00  

  • and I thought the days when BCCI controlled the media interaction of players (in a generic sense, not during matches or tours...thats important to some extent) were long done and dusted!....I remember how they terrorised sunny and vengsarkar etc

    By Blogger worma, at 15:01  

  • sat sri akal, singhsaab. the journos will be okay, dont worry. pity the poor players, if you must pity someone. leaks will happen, nothing will be said. then some poor kid just starting out will rub someone in admin raw, and they will use this as a stick to beat him with.

    GENTS, NOTICE: Today is production/press day for IA. Got to go get the paper ready for press. (Actually, we say put the paper to bed, but I'd rather not risk the associations you chaps could come up with on that).

    later, all

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:02  

  • worma: Do you suppose it is accidental that ours is the only board with the word 'Control' in the title?


    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:03  

  • LMAO! What a hilarious hypothetical scenario posed by Prem. The sad thing is if you talk to the press in India, this sort of sensationalistic journalism is bound to pop up somewhere-- certainly at ToI website-- don't know what the hell the writers are smoking down there

    By Blogger Sahir, at 15:17  

  • Murali's bowling:
    ODI 1: 10 / 0 / 49 / 0
    ODI 2: 7.2 / 0 / 32 / 1
    Total: 17.2 / 0 / 81 / 1 @ 4.7 (app)

    Maybe it is time Murali went to Bishan Bedi and asked him to help out in finding ways to restrict SRT and RD's scoring. In case Bedi refused, Murali could sing "hum tum ek kamre mein band hon, aur Ganguly aa jaye...", Bedi would relent in a second.


    Vaas bowling:
    ODI 1: 9 / 0 / 67 / 1
    ODI 2: 3 / 0 / 22 / 0
    Total: 12 / 0 / 89 / 1 @ 7.4

    Maybe it is time Vaas went to Venkatesh Prasad and asked him to help out in finding ways to restrict VS, SRT and RD's scoring. In case Prasad refused, Vaas could start crying and Prasad would definetly relent (being the nice person he is).

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 15:21  

  • Ruchir,
    We were leading 2-0 against PAK and lost the series. The Most important match of the series is the next match. if India wins, then the series is over. if no then Srilanka has a chance. I want SL to win to see how GC, RD and others perform under pressure.

    Vaas and Murali are great bowlers and they will come back with better performances.

    By Blogger Sridhar, at 16:47  

  • Talking about leaks and the like, am reminded of Humphrey's refrain to Bernard in one of the "Yes Minister" episodes/chapters: "The ship of state, Bernard, is the only ship that leaks from the top."

    By Blogger giscard, at 17:00  

  • This cooking up of reports via putting words into the player's mouth happens more often than not ...

    A classic case was Sehwag wanting to score 200 in the last Indian Oil Cup against Bangladesh / Hong Kong etc.

    It so happenned, on the eve of his departure to SL, a reporter asked Sehwag "Would you like to score the first 200 in ODI ?" Sehwag being good natured humored him "Sure, why not. I would really like that". Next day headlines "Sehwag wants to score 200 against Bang". And unfortunately, Sehwag couldnt manage a total of 200 in the entire tournament. The same press went wild ridiculing him.

    Makes sense to prevent this kinda scenario from happenning again.

    By Blogger Geoffrey George, at 17:02  

  • geoff george,
    But do you think the BCCI censure will actually prevent such conversations? Highly doubtful, eh?

    By Blogger giscard, at 17:09  

  • one can always hope :-p

    By Blogger Geoffrey George, at 17:33  

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