The ongoing cricket nautanki (as Aniruddha Bahal calls it) has its own media sideshow. Following Ajay Naidu‘s oh-I-am-so-hurt-by-Greg Chappell interview with Sachin Tendulkar in The Times of India, Aajtak had a studio discussion on the whys and wherefores of Indian cricket last night.
Rajan Bala was waxing eloquent on the distance that players kept from reporters in his day.
On the other hand, he said:
“Today’s cricket reporters are chamchas. The cricketers are chamchas of reporters, and the reporters are chamchas of the players because they are required to write on the colour of underwear of the players. In our time, we didn’t have to write on the players’ underwear.”
In his magnificent memoirs A Hack’s Progress, the legendary investigative journalist Phillip Knightley writes of his short stint with sport, as the London correspondent of an Australian newspaper.
Within days I faced the dilemma of all sports reporters—do you write what really goes on and then get so frozen out by the players and officials that you never get another story, or do you keep your mouth shut, write anodyne nonsense, and enjoy being accepted as a non-playing member of the team.
When Knightley sees an Australian rugby player ask a businessman’s beautiful wife at the bar, “Hey, darling, would a quiet fuck be out of the question?” Knightley doesn’t write the story. When he sees a famous forward in bed with two seasoned women, and ten players and two journalists as the audience, Knightley doesn’t write the story.
“That is the way it goes, then and now. While sports writers give the impression of being only too willing to criticise sportsmen, it’s all froth and bubble—they never write the most interesting stories because they have to live and travel with the people they write about.”