Monday, February 28, 2011

Cricket Chaat, courtesy TV news channels

By Raza Elahi
ICC World Cup 2011 is underway. The knives are out. The battle of supremacy is always in their minds. The motto is to outshine others. If your are thinking that I am talking about the teams participating in the ongoing cricket tournament, hold on. It is not about them but about Indian TV news channels scrambling for eyeballs during the Cup.
Every news channels seem to be in a race to outdo the other by getting an experts’ panel every day to talk about the nuances of the matches. They have special programmes titled, Big Toss and Kings of Cricket etc, as well as other talk shows that are trying their best to increase the adrenaline rush among the viewers.
There is no doubt that for about 1.2 billion people of the country cricket is not just a sport but something close to be called a religion. And that is why 24x7 news channels are in a rush to grab maximum eyeballs. But their extra effort most of the time turns boring. First, the anchors themselves become experts and try to speak most of the time than the experts and repeating the same thing again and again.

Then look at the experts who are not so expert popping up on every channels. Murli Karthik, Yograj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Aakash Chopra, Nikhil Chopra -- they all were certainly not good in their games at international level but are now leaving no stone unturned to give their viewpoints on TV. Though sometimes it is a delight to hear views of Geoffery Boycott, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Sashtri, Allan Border, Zaheer Abbas and the likes appearing on different channels, it is just intolerable to sit and watch the Karthiks and Chopras.

But there is no prize for guessing why these channels have extended panels and programmes. The reason is simply not cricket. It is just the business and the market built around the cricketing action. All these hype and hoopla created by TV channels -- in the form of coverage, special programmes, discussions, contests and other off-the-field activities -- unnecessarily build pressure on Team India, a point which former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has also recently pointed out.

It will not be wrong to say that the excessive efforts of our news channels to present Cricket Chaat has become really chaat (boring).

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