By Raza Elahi
After South Africa’s convincing win against India in the first Test match at Centurion, Jacques Kallis must be certainly wondering about the strange bunch of television journalists, traveling with the Indian team.
Kallis, who scored a double century in the match, had never thought that he would have to answer some ‘weired queries’ of the Indian media. At a time when he was expecting questions about South Africa’s win or his own first Test double century, Kallis was amused by an Indian journalist who asked why he was not clapping after Sachin Tendulkar reached his historic landmark of 50th Test hundred.
Kallis, however, reminded him that while he was applauding, the television cameras were focused on Tendulkar and the Indian dressing room and he had perhaps stopped clapping by the time they returned their focus to the field. A South African journalist, who was shocked at how largely the Indian media were more interested in the cult of Tendulkar than what had happened on the field, reportedly could not stop himself in questioning an Indian TV reporter, “Did losing the game mean so little to you?”
“It doesn’t matter, our editor is more interested in Sachin’s 50th Test century,” came the response from the Indian TV reporter.
“You mean defeat by an innings, the biggest India have had in South Africa, means nothing?” the South African queried.
“We are interested only in the Sachin story today. Viewers are interested in that, not the team losing,” was the reply.
Taking a potshot at Indian media, columnist Trevor Chesterfield in his recent article has also written, “…there are as many as thirty-six television channels -- jostling for the best story, filing a snippet from the team’s practice, a day’s play or post-match conference -- has a habit of descending into a mad, often frenzied scramble for bytes.
Chesterfield, too, couldn’t digest Tendulkar-centric reporting by Indian media despite the fact that India lost the match by an innings and twenty-five runs when he wrote, “As with any good government propaganda, the Tendulkar century was used as a ploy by the television networks to cover the team’s embarrassing defeat.”
Undoubtedly, Sachin’s 50th Test century was a golden moment of the cricket history but such pity questions like “who clapped or who jumped on the occasion” show the habit of a section of media -- particularly electronic media -- of going overboard over anything.
(The writer can be contacted at email@example.com)