Friday, September 16, 2005

This just isn't cricinfo

An open letter to cricinfo...

Regarding "The season of discontent" article by Anand Vasu on 16.09.2005

First of all, why are the links to this article and to the one in which you report Ganguly's statement before the actual scorecard of the match? (they have changed it since then, but I'm sure many of you saw it)

Why is the heading of that section not about the match but about Ganguly's statement ? I thought the headlines were always about what's happening in the match ? (also changed since then, but hope some readers here are aware what I'm talking about)

Is it that cricinfo has decided that a test match involving Zimbabwe is not worth reporting in the normal template ? Because this is not the first time some 'news' has broken in the middle of a match, but this is the first time I see cricinfo adopting this trend of reporting.

Then, lets look at the article itself. First statement is : "He put a century on the board - a painstaking and joyless one - against the worst bowling attack in the world, in perfect batting conditions,.." - Well, wasn't it Dileep Premchandran declaring here in cricinfo yesterday that VVS Laxman has turned a corner with a century against the same opposition? VVS' century was more chancy than Ganguly's, even if faster(this is test cricket, on day 3, why do you need a Yuvraj like Harakiri?)

Then further the statement says: "and chose to make a statement that will rock the very foundations on which spirit and togetherness are built in a team of sportsmen..."- Are you sure this statement from Ganguly will rock the Indian team? Even if things are as horribly wrong as you would like us to believe, they are not wrong 'because' of this statement, they were 'already' wrong. So the team was already 'rocking'...public statement or not. Indian team does not build or breakup because of public statements, I suppose.

Then further going on " Even by his standards, though, this latest outburst is startling..." - Did any of your staff actually watch the interview in question ? Do you know what an outburst is? Or are you counting on the fact that majority of you readers are not watching things live on tv, and will take your word for it. You make it sound like Ganguly called a Press Conference to announce, just after his century, that he was asked to step down. If you didn't want to make it appear so, to the readers, then please work on your writing style. Because this is the impression it gives.

Further going on "Repeated attempts to contact Ganguly in Zimbabwe for a clarification failed, but one can only go by what is out there, in the absence of anything to the contrary..." - And what is out there? Except for what they are speaking out, isn't all of this speculation? Do you have even an 'inside source' which is telling you what is 'out there' ?

Further on "What's most worrying is the timing of Ganguly's statements. If indeed he was asked to step down - by a person or persons he refuses to name - before the start of the game, why did he wait till the third day to go public..." - You are again making it sound like he called up a press conf after the century to announce this thing. He was part of post match comments(like VVS was on previous day) and was also called by the tv team for an interview. Did anyone ASK him on day one about the captaincy thing, the way Harsha asked him in this interview?? Ganguly did not bring out this topic himself, and you know it. Why not report it as it happened? Why paint your favourite picture out of it?

"Prince of Calcutta, we've come to expect more of you. Don't sell yourself so short..." - Well, cricinfo, we have come to expect more of you too. Don't go the way of those innumerable Indian 'sports' website. Maintain your standards, and your 'global' perspective. Don't stoop to the level of Indian sports reporting, which often plays to the Indian galleries.


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September 16, 2005 1:39 PM  
Blogger SHRI said...

Cheers mate.. well written article

September 16, 2005 3:18 PM  
Blogger worma said...

thx shri !

September 16, 2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Nag said...

Hi Worma,

I can n't say who stooped the lowest, CRICINFO or the pair of Harsha-Sunny. I was watching it on TV yesterday, even after cajolling those words out of Ganguly, Harsh turned to Sunny and asked "did you face such moments", sunny replies "NO", but goes on to suggest that one should retire gracefully etc. I realy felt for Ganguly (though I am no fan of Gangs), because I never expected Harsha & sunny to be so in-sensitive

September 16, 2005 3:34 PM  
Blogger worma said...

Is that so nag? Did Sunny say that 'one should retire gracefully' ? Was he meaning captaincy or totally retire as a player??...Was the whole discussion between these three around captaincy or also about SG(or anyone in general) as a player? but..Wow..thats really bad...I just wish I could have watched that many questions around it :)

Yes, I agree that Harsha also behaved a bit irresponsibly, but I give him slight benefit of doubt that he was just acting on a hint/lead he had got, and that he was not the one to 'twist' words and mis-represent information as cricinfo and others are doing. But still, yes Sunny and Harsha should be made aware of the implications of what they have caused (out here in the public, not in the team. I dont think this has any implications on the team. Even if there are problems in the team, and even if SG resigns as captain, or if GC resigns as coach...I dont think that would be attributed to THIS particular event of Harsha interviewing SG).

September 16, 2005 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Abir said...

Good letter Worma

The CricInfo journos who cover the indian beat are a sorry lot so i am not surprised at their sad shenanigans that disguises itself as jounalism.

September 16, 2005 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude worma,
I think you are definitely a staunch Ganguly supporter. I hope you become more objective in your views. Let us not try to act as if this Ganguly issue is a very complicated one and needs to be viewed from different angles. To put it very simply, the batsman has been struggling for a while now and he has no compunctions about misusing his powers to stay in the team. Why the need for such over-analysis on what is a straight-forward issue?

September 18, 2005 11:31 AM  
Blogger worma said...

anonymous: Yes I am a Ganguly supporter, though not a staunch one. And I would have supported RD also had he been in the same position(in fact I remember SRT coming under similar flak from some of my friends etc, and I went to same length supporting him). So, if this issue is simple, then let me try to figure out.

Ganguly is out of form, agreed. He is misusing his power...not agreed. what? Should we go into analysis, or do you agree with me? :)

And btw, my reservations about some sections of our media are not limited to Ganguly related issues only. I have been writing about this for some time at Sight Screen, and most regulars there would know this. I have been able to point out with specific examples how some of these media men grind their own axe on issues related to the entire Indian team(at times) and not just SG.

September 18, 2005 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on the same page as you when it comes to the Indian cricket media. For me the issue is not about the media. It is about a player who is getting an extended run in the Test side without performing. And I do not want to discuss about his legacy in the game..there is plenty of time to do that once he retires.
I just want to know if the batsman is good enough currently to make it to the Indian Test XI ? The last couple of seasons he has been a non-performer. And is he a youngster who has lot of potential so that we may cut him some slack in the hope that he will come good in the future?..definitely not!!
Does his century against the current opposition (Zim) tell me?

Is his continued presence in the Indian
Dressing room with all this hulaboo focused on him good for team unity?

And you may have seen this article..
Even if this version is partially true,
it doesnt give a very good account of this player.

Why should ordinary cricket lovers like most of us, have to put up with all this bull from a player who acts as if the Test XI is his own property?

What is most painful is that analytical criket writers like yourself are still cutting slack for a player who seemingly is afraid that he will lose his Test spot once he loses captaincy?
Does this player have any integrity left?

September 18, 2005 10:21 PM  
Blogger worma said...

Anonymous: First of all, I agree with you that all this talk fo legacy etc means crap to me, at this stage. I also want to see the best possible long term combination there in the team. And I am not yet convinced that he is finished. Sure he was a non-performer in the last season only(not last couple of seasons) and that too mainly in tests (ODIs, he was better than quite a few, even in the last season). So, I feel that there is a possibility that his older self, which is of more utility to India in the next 1-2 years than any youngster, can be revived. I base this also on what I see out there in the field. I have seen him playing comfortably(although tentatively) in the last few games.

And no, his century against Zim doesnt count for anything for us. It counts for him because it may help him get some confidence back (he played the entire length of his innings in more comfort than Laxman...and I am sure even Laxman would have taken some confidence out of it, although Laxman's form cannot really be called 'struggling')

Well, about the article, yes even if its partially true, it doesn't augur well for the team. But do you think this problem is entirely Ganguly's making? And that it would go away if he leaves the team? And that his removal from the team is the only way Chappel can solve this problem?

And also, in the current context, do these problems listed here have anything to do with this recent 'arguments' with Chappel? Or with his so called 'disclosure' to the media?

The answer to all these, IMO, is NO. What do you think?

And sure there are problems with some players, but then there are similar problems in ALL the teams of the world. The difference is that their media does not go meddling into issues which are better left alone, unless the coach or captain or team management (or any other aggrieved party) comes out in the open about it. Chappel recently said that a lot of crap is being written about the team, and he cannot control all of it, but he felt irritated that these people who are writing all of this about the team are getting away with it!

And I feel that these media people are getting away with it because we are ready to believe them more than our own players! While the truth is that most of the time the team members(or coach etc) have more chances of being honest to the media than these so called opinion makers because the team's job is to play the game, its not their profession to sound interesting and gain readership through sensationalism

September 19, 2005 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks worma..good points

September 19, 2005 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wrote some letters to (actually 3) -- none of them were published. They tend to publish the same crap every time -- things that don't particularly disagree with them.

September 23, 2005 12:37 PM  
Blogger worma said...

anonymous, atleast with my letter, I didn't even expect them to publish it :-)

September 23, 2005 12:54 PM  
Blogger Prasad said...

Great comments Worma. Expose these opportunistic pseudojournalists.

September 24, 2005 1:49 AM  
Blogger Prasad said...

Worma: This is re: today's revelation of of GC's e-mail to the board.
I am curious to know why was GC in such a hurry to send a report on Ganguly to the Board ? Did the board ask for it by E-mail ? Did he also send a report about other players in the same e-mail and if he didnt why not? Why did he single out SG? The next assignment is only at the end of October. HWta wwas the rush ? There are many troubling things about this whole issue. Ganguly's weaknesses as player are well known. I dont think the revelations about SG lack of fitness are earth shattering or really news to the selectors. I think more than questioning SG's mental and physical fitness, I question the international cricketing fraternity's intelligence level in allowing him to score 15,000 international runs when his weaknesses are so obvious to all.
Re: GC's ways of coaching I think many more players are goign to complain in the very near future. I think the board should also get input from ALL players on the goings on within the team. It would be ridiculous to take GC's word that SG is trying to create divisions in the team. That would be the biggest slight to the man who has backed his players without fear or favor. I find that to be the most egregious charge of all and GC better explain himself. And if that allegation of creating divisions is not corroborated by other players in the team fire GC's ass forthwith.
BTW, why would any player want to make a mockery of himself if he does not genuinely believe that he can perform or help the team win. SG does not need the money and its not like women are swooning over him, his patriotism obviously is beyond question, he hardly has anything to prove as captain (remember we are now # 3 in ICC test cricket ratings). So, what would SG's motivation be in hanging on to the captaincy or his place as a team member and worse take all this crap thrown at him from the media, ex-cricketers who amounted to nothing themselves, idiotic fans who jump up and down and expect excellence from everybody else in India except themselves, and the board and selectors who are basically jokers? Captaincy of the indian team is the worst job in the world as RD will soon discover. So, why why why why would SG want to hang on ? Any suggestions or insights ?

September 24, 2005 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have provided a very detailed analysis. i admire your passion for the game and more particularly for that of our beloved country's national tema.
you mention a number of times how chappell plays with words by saying he never "asks" ganguly to step down..rather he suggests that ganguly think about his role. nowhere in this email does chappell contradict his first point. the only way you can say he contradicts himself is by insinuating. but hold on a sec, don't you go on to complain about insinuation when talking about the new ball incident?
regardless, a very thorough review.
however, i think we should channell our analysis not towards interpreting chappell's email but towards looking at the facts. ganguly has been in horrible form of late. his work ethic and fitness (chappell will no doubt provide extensive documentation of this) is the worst of an anyways average bunch. add the gross indiscipline of breaking dressing room discussion to public, and you get a man who is CURRENTLY physically and emotionally unfit to lead our great nation. i agree witht he person who said earlier that whether chappell stays or not, is far from the real issue. as manjrekar and others have said, indian cricket has to make a choice between the correct way and a way that has not exactly brought massive success, but has trudged along without too much failure..YET! i pray that the committe tomorrow makes an impartial judgement on this issue. as noted in cricinfo, even if chappells methods are no different than an ordinary person would suggest, if he actually implements this, it is hard to believe that our team will not tear up records on the field. after all, our talent and skill are unmatched. if we had some physical fitness and discipline (both emotional and physical), we will be world beaters. england, watch out!

September 27, 2005 12:15 AM  
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