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Sight Screen

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The media meet that wasn't

Amit Varma -- on India Uncut, surprisingly, and not on his cricket-centric 23 Yards blog -- has this hilarious take on the confusion that surrounded the media interaction arranged so the cricket media could meet the Indian players ahead of the first Test.
Reading it makes you wonder -- just how difficult was it to organize a proper press meet anyways? I remember the first time I came across this kind of exercise. Australia was in India under Steve Waugh, to mount that famous assault on the 'Last Frontier'. By the time the team landed in Mumbai, the management had been flooded with so many interview requests, they realized if they honored them all, Australia wouldn't have time left to play any cricket at all.
So this is what they did -- they hired a ballroom at the Taj, and lined up ten tables. At each, sat one Australian player. The Indian newsmen were split into groups of three. Each group was sent to one table, so you got to talk to the player sitting there. At the end of 5 minutes, the groups were shifted one place each, and so on, till each group had gotten its time with each of the ten players.
Then the players left, and the second lot came in, took their places, and the whole thing started all over again. Bottomline, inside of two hours, every journalist present there -- and believe me, you never saw such a crowd! -- had met every one of the Australian players, and left satisfied.
Alright, not entirely satisfied -- some 'senior journalists' figured they deserved more than such democratic treatment, and angled for private time with players; such requests were met with a firm 'no'.
How difficult -- no, seriously -- is that to arrange? But then, I forget; the manager on this tour is a certain Raj Singh Dungarpur, who is hot stuff when it comes to narrating memories of how cricket was played in the 1960s, but not so hot when it comes to the here and the now. Might also be worth spending some thought when picking a media manager -- I mean seriously, how many media conferences has GS Walia organized and for who?

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