Bored Members - Guests | Media | White Bored | Interview | Bored Anthem - Songs | Boredwaani | Cartoons | Facebook | Twitter | Login

Fickle Me This, Fickle Me That, Who's Afraid Of The Media's Crap?

by achettup

Pardon the corny headline, it is at least in keeping with the low standards set by cricket's general newsmedia. Ricky Ponting struggles for a year and a bit, the press demands his head, he scores a hundred in vain during the World Cup quarterfinal and retains his batting position but loses the captaincy. Michael Clarke scored 151 against South Africa, an innings described by many as one of the best of the year. Australia were bowled out for 47, Clarke and his men are slaughtered by the press for being unable to bat with the necessary temperament. Australia win a thriller against South Africa to level the 2 match series, the press said Haddin, Ponting and Hussey had done enough to survive another day.

Australia lose to New Zealand at home, Clarke's captaincy is questioned, everyone thinks Ponting should call it a day. Australia win at the MCG, a match that was competitive for a while, the media still demands Ponting's head, Clarke's captaincy is reflected on as being better than Dhoni's, not much of a compliment considering the Indian skipper's leadership during the match. Clarke scores 329, Ponting scores a hundred, as does Hussey and suddenly everyone's glad Ponting has decided to stick around, and Clarke gets rich accolades for his brilliant captaincy.

While the flip-flops are typical of media - no less than Gideon Haigh, whom many accord the title of the best contemporary writer in the sport because of his commanding vocabulary and presumptuous and often misinformed opinion, has had to eat humble pie after yet another of his tiring pieces on T20's included that wonderful question about whether David Warner would ever bat more than 60 balls in his career - that has devolved from stating the facts to jingoistic misinformed opinion pieces, its how they misuse the responsibility handed to them and the privilege of freedom accorded to them that disappoints. The media heavily influences readers who are unable to make their own minds on the state of affairs either because they don't have access to information or because they trust a paper that echoes views they want to hear. Which is what news media has become, rather sadly even in cricket.

There is always an agenda behind a piece, sometimes paid for, and almost always influenced by how many eyeballs can be brought to glance at the myriad of ads strategically placed near the provocative headlines. Cricinfo has often used inflammatory headlines simply to spark a controversy for what is a poorly written piece about nothing in particular. Along with sections of the British and Australian press, they have successfully pulled wool over the blinkered eyes of the majority of cricket's followers into believing the BCCI's sole purpose for existence is greed and the eventual destruction of cricket. Rarely are there any articles about the BCCI's many development projects, some of which are quite admirable. The BCCI of course don't help matters by banning some groups from attending matches and refusing to promote their own successful endeavours sufficiently.

Take the DRS for instance. The BCCI's stand isn't that they don't want the DRS, but rather that the technology behind it isn't foolproof, and until it is there is hardly any point in using it to influence decisions wherein it might only add to further controversy, as was quite evident during India's tour of England. Most people who have bothered looking at the facts agree that this is a sensible outlook. Yet there are people who leave comments such as "Why does India have a right to overrule Cricket Australia's use of the DRS" primarily because the piss-poor variety of journalists like Malcolm Conn mislead people with statements proclaiming the BCCI directly denies bowlers the ability to appeal. Not too surprisingly, -and whether they see it or not, its what they choose to write based on their audience's mood at the moment-  Conn and the like have led the way with adulations over Clarke's captaincy, which not too long ago they questioned.

Clarke has benefited from having a good set of bowlers who've done well at home against a side that has for the most part had a perennial weakness against quick bowlers on seaming wickets. His captaincy against tailenders was as bad as Dhoni's in recent times, and when the game has drifted away from him he looks as lost as his predecessor, who was also falsely proclaimed as a great captain based on his stock of players. Clarke plays it up of course, his decision to declare while admirable is a touch nauseous, and reminds of his decision to dump Lara Bingle when it appeared *her* character might have cost him the captaincy [this criteria in picking a skipper is a topic for another day, Warne , Ponting etc etc...]. But the media is blind to all of this at the moment, the flavor of the moment is Michael - benevolent pup - Clarke, and so logical discourse takes a back seat.

Move over to the Indian media, which swings with more regularity than a pendulum. The usual scapegoat, VVS Laxman, finds that he is about to be axed in the country that he has his best record against. Laxman has often been treated unfairly by the Board, more often by the media, but he doesn't do his case too much good by remaining among the slackest of fielders and runners in the game. That isn't what he is being picked on for, its whether he should be staying in a team which should look towards rebuilding. Indian cricket's second golden boy, Rahul Dravid, cannot be touched of course, despite looking all at sea since Tendulkar's arrival at the crease in the first innings of the tour. This is because Dravid was the only batsman to do well in England. After 3-4 miserable years where he relied on scoring against weak attacks on flat tracks to retain his position in the team.

One might ask, if Laxman should be axed - as he probably deserves to be based on his recent overseas record - in keeping with blooding the next generation, why not Dravid. Indeed, why not Dravid 2 years ago when he relied on inside edges to score the bulk of his runs. Exactly what did Indian cricket gain from Rahul's recent exploits in England? We lost by the most embarrassing of margins anyway, didn't we? And why did he insist on playing on after the tour, nearing the ripe old age of 39? One paper says Dravid and Laxman will probably decide on their own to retire rather than leave it to the selectors -  which is allegedly their right for their great contributions to Indian cricket - but going by their decisions over the last few years its pretty hard to see that happening, right?

Why were these players, including Sachin, touring Bangladesh, we all asked these questions at the time and its time to ask them again. If the seniors don't take a back seat and let the selectors gracefully blood the next generation, then after a tour like this one they are culpable on two counts - overstaying their welcome and foiling the future. These questions were somehow stowed away by the media after the English debacle, when they chose to pick on the scheduling since it was all the rage back then to ape the British fixation with the IPL's devious influence on the sport.

Ah, the future. And here we see the circus coming full circle. The greats are venerated and paid homage to just as overrated film stars in the country buy undue hype. So to the hype accorded to "the next best thing... well at least for the moment." Currently, on the back of glorious innings on flat tracks in the Ranji trophy, the boy who seems to exude so much talent that for a minute you might ignore the accompanying Mumbai-biased sycophancy, Rohit Sharma has apparently earned his spot in the team. Rohit has earned his spot in the ODI team almost as many times as Yuvraj has in tests, and has disappointed just as many but the trigger happy media searching for a hero are convinced this time will be different, like last time.

If he does well, the poor chap - just look at Kohli who did well in 2011 and now has irked just about everyone after two matches in which his seniors have played with far greater trepidation and irresponsibility - can hope for a year's worth of accolades before being consigned to obscurity like Mukund, Das, Ramesh, Vijay, hell even WV Raman and the plethora of next best things of yesteryear. If he does great, he becomes the next Laxman. And as he rides this journey, the crests and troughs amplified by the irresponsible sensationalist tabloid rubbish masquerading as journalism, he will at times loathe his fans and the media and scoff at their influence over each other and himself.


G said...

Dravid "inside edging" and still had an average of 36 or so and Laxman played beautifully for an average of 20 in last few overseas matches.
if that's the criteria why not Tendulkar ? what has he contributed either in Eng or in India vs WI or in Aus so far ?

Sathwik Sriram said...

Bringing in Rohith Sharma for Kohli wont change the equations a bit, there is no guarantee that even Mr.Sharma will hit runs. Hitting century against a ranji side in flat home pitches is no barometer to get him a game, Kohli should be given more chances that guy has 1k+ ODI runs in the last year for gods sake! He is a much better fielder than Sharma too.

Coming to the seniors, replacing them will not be a problem but what we gain exactly from that? Letting youngsters play this 2 matches wont be of any use because we tour abroad to play tests only in Nov 2013 that is a good 1.5 years away and there is no guarantee that the young brigade in the squad will be there then too. Our best choice is to stick on to the seniors and pray for a miracle!

Anonymous said...

I am amused by your frustration that Dravid found form in the year 2011 by scoring amazing 5 centuries. If anyone in this team has got a chance to score big in these condiitons it has to be Dravid or Tendulkar. that is a bitter fact you all have to live with and find a way to dislodge them !!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous_the_first HAPPY BIRTHDAY!