|Credibility of the cricket press |
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Apr 14, 2007|
One of the most disappointing fall-outs of Indias
shock early exit from the ongoing World Cup in the
West Indies has been the spate of rumours, half-baked
stories and planted stories that have wormed their way
into the cricket media here.
As a professional journalist myself, it pains me to
turn the spotlight so harshly on my own profession.
But over the last few weeks it has become an
inescapable fact that Indias cricket journalists have
matched our cricketers in their abysmal performance.
It was sad to watch such an intelligent and dignified
cricketer as Anil Kumble react with such bitterness
and hostility directed at the media when he was
interviewed on TV last week.
But Kumble was spot-on in his assessment, even if he
did at times show a thin skin at some of the
It now appears that Sachin Tendulkar coming out at
such haste and with so much venom directed at (now
former) coach Greg Chappell was an ill-advised move in
which he was overly influenced by the media.
Chappells report on the World Cup debacle which he
presented to the BCCI last week certainly did not
contain such harsh terms as mafia, bullying and
abuse which the press leaked out in reference to the
behaviour of the senior players ganging up against the
Whether all this was part of a motivated
disinformation campaign or just the figment of
somebodys fevered imagination is hard to say. But the
credibility of the cricket press has certainly taken a
It is with some justification that the print media in
India looks down on their counterparts in TV with a
certain amount of contempt.
Certainly the electronic media had been guilty before
the World Cup of over-hyping the teams chances. And
then when it all came crashing down, of whipping up
hysterical elements within the nations notoriously
fickle cricket fan base.
However, it has been noticed this time around that
newspapers have also planted themselves in various
camps and have blatantly displayed their loyalties at
the cost of both credibility and unbiased reporting.
The exclusive tag has been much used and abused on
our various feverish 24-hour TV news channel. Now we
have newspapers too picking up on this ugly trend. And
most disturbing of all, almost all these exclusives
are attributed to unnamed sources!
Many of these plants emanate from within the team
itself. While Chappell has been roundly castigated for
sending mails and SMS messages to his favourite
journalists, it is a habit he probably picked up from
some Indian cricketers who have been past masters at
this sort of campaign by stealth.
That the media, both print and electronic, fall for
this hook-line-and-sinker and in fact are often
willing dupes in the whole game make them no less
guilty. It is a sad and self-destructive business and
Indian cricket has suffered irreparable damage as a