The first casualty of a scoop interview is grace—II

28 September 2007

Nothing is what it seems in the big, bad, messy, and utterly incestuous world of Indian cricket (and Indian cricket reporting). Outgoing cricket captain Rahul Dravid gave an interview to Press Trust of India last week. Just another interview by an outgoing captain to India’s biggest news agency, you might think. Well, not quite.

Lokendra Pratap Sahi, the longtime cricket correspondent of The Telegraph, Calcutta, put out a story that Dravid gave the interview to PTI at the “behest” of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Sahi did not name his source, but the story had PTI’s Chief of Bureau (Sports), M.R. Mishra, responding in kind.

***

Dear Mr Sahi,

This is a grateful note from a humble news agency hack. I read yet another of your great “scoops” in
Telegraph dated September 19. Since you have so many “scoops” every day, I will have to specify that the one I am referring to is your great story about Rahul Dravid speaking to PTI “at the behest” of the BCCI.

Indeed, it was a revelation to us also because we were chasing him for five days. Now we realise we were chasing the wrong person. Thank you for the great input. Now we know where to get the news.

Yes, you are right Dravid rarely gives a one-to-one. Indeed, it would have been shocking to you that he spoke exclusively to a lowly news agency. After reading your piece, we were utterly delighted because till then we did not realise that the unthinkable had happened. We feel doubly thrilled. Many thanks.

Your ever reliable sources in the Board disclosed, as usual only to you, that it was to get the widest coverage that Rahul Dravid spoke to a news agency. This by itself is another “scoop” for you that news agencies have the widest reach.

We are truly grateful to you.

We also note that you have very perceptively pointed out that Dravid did not really say anything earth shattering. Actually, the piece you wrote on the 19th is truly earth shattering. How could Dravid say anything important unless he was talking to Lokendra Pratap Sahi?

All of us hacks normally trot up such excuses to our superiors when we miss stories but this must be the first time that a journalist has put the excuse in print. Journalism of courage!

Good interviews and “scoops” are, of course, your preserve. Such as the lead story in your newspaper on
the 18th that Sourav Ganguly was a strong option for the top job in the ODIs against Australia. For once, your highly reliable sources in the Board have let you down because Dhoni was chosen as was predicted by PTI for days ahead.

May I thank you once again for your kindness to us.

You continue to inspire us.

Yours sincerely,

M.R. Mishra

Chief of Bureau, Sports, Press Trust of India

***

Mr Mishra,

I wonder if you have any energy left. If you do, find out WHY Dravid spoke to your agency. I’m sure it will be a good lesson for you. You obviously read The Telegraph very selectively, otherwise you couldn’t have missed my story the day Dravid ‘quit’. To enlighten you, I’d written that day itself that the captaincy was set to be split between MSD and ST. I don’t wish to give hacks like you any MORE importance by reacting to the other points you’ve made with so
much affection.

Must say I’ve been touched, though.

Lokendra Pratap Sahi
Associate Editor, The Telegraph

***

Also read: The first casualty of a scoop interview is grace

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One Response to “The first casualty of a scoop interview is grace—II”

  1. Anam Arsalan Says:

    Interesting war of words between M.R. Mishra and L.P. Sahi.


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