Tag Archives: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, Sigmund Freud & the media

As the Indian (and global) media—print, electronic and digital—reports Sachin Tendulkar‘s retirement from cricket as if it’s the end of the world; as breathless reporters, writers, anchors and tweeters ask “What will happen to cricket now that Sachin is gone?”, now is a good time as any to remember Harold Ross and James Thurber.

Ross was the founder of the New Yorker magazine, and Thurber its most famous cartoonist, who could also write. Twenty-six years after he founded the legendary weekly, Ross passed away, as all of us must, in 1951.

Here’s what Thurber writes in ‘The years with Ross‘ (page 272):

“People still speak of ‘Ross’s New Yorker’, and his name is heard in conversations and seen on printed pages. At least half a hundred people in the past seven years have said, or written, to me, ‘I never knew Ross, but when he died I felt I had lost a dear friend’.

“One man, a literary agent who gets around town, told me, ‘You could feel the sorrow all over the city the day after Ross died. I don’t think I have ever experienced such a sense of communal grief about a man most people I met had never seen.’

“We were all asked, a hundred times, ‘What will happen to the New Yorker now that Ross is dead?’ We had our separate answers to that, but Joe Liebling’s is perhaps the one that will last: ‘The same thing that happened to analysis after Sigmund Freud died’.”

Id est, life goes on.


Also read: A front page with two mastheads for two jewels

Sachin Tendulkar, Mid-Day and the Indian Express

Poonam Pandey, Sachin Tendulkar and The Telegraph

India’s cricket reporters are too soft on cricketers

Today’s cricket journos are chamchas of cricketers


A front-page with two mastheads for two jewels


How should a Bangalore newspaper deal with the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, being bestowed on two individuals on the same day, one of them a much-loved cricket icon, the other a homegrown Bangalore scientist?

Kannada Prabha, the Kannada daily edited by Vishweshwar Bhat, deals with the dilemma by producing a front-page with two front pages and two mastheads but the same headline: one half for Sachin Tendulkar, and the other half for C.N.R. Rao.

Also read: Kannada Prabha uses reader-generated headlines

Will The Telegraph, Calcutta, be around in 2024?


The news of former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav being sentenced to five years in jail for the fodder scam under his watch was reported in the same old way by most newspapers which think readers do not have access to radios, TVs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

Not The Telegraph.

The Calcutta newspaper, with its tongue in rosogolla-lined cheek, telescopes into the future and enters the world Laloo will see in 2024, which is when he will be become eligible to contest elections once again, after a six-year hiatus following his release.

Laloo will then be 77, Narendra Modi will be 74, Rahul Gandhi will be 54, and Hema Malini—whose smooth cheeks became Laloo’s yardstick for smooth roads in Biharwill be 76.

While those are all real possibilities, The Telegraph also looks at the less real possibilities—like Sachin Tendulkar still playing and pondering his retirement, like Hillary Clinton ending her second term as US President.

Along the way, the paper also wonders about whether the print medium will be around in 2024:

“Watch this space. If newspapers are still around the way we know them, we will tell you how right or wrong we were.”

Also read: The last newspaper will be printed in 2043

Will paper tigers last longer than real ones?

Poonam Pandey, Sachin Tendulkar & Telegraph

There are many pertinent questions to be asked about the unbridled (and burgeoning) use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media as a source of news by newspapers and TV stations—not to mention websites like these.

One of those questions faces The Telegraph, Calcutta, which carried a picture* posted by the actor-stripper Poonam Pandey on her Twitter account (@iPoonampandey) in its tabloid t2 section on Monday.

In the picture*, Pandey—who threatened to pose nude if India won the cricket 2011 World Cup—stands naked with a photograph of “God” as an offering to Sachin Tendulkar, who scored his 100th hundred in Dhaka last week.

“Thinking what pic should I gift the “God of Cricket”…. This historic moment reminds me of an old pic which one of my fans had morphed…. this was the pic….”

The use of a tiny picture* in a city tabloid to celebrate the momentous occasion has resulted in a fullblown communal issue in Calcutta.

Wednesday’s Telegraph carried a front-page appeal by the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee.

“Some people are trying to stoke violence over a photograph published in a newspaper. I appeal to all members of the Hindu and Muslim commuities to steer clear of any provocation. The newspaper which carried the picture today tendered an apology.”

The Telegraph‘s apology, also carried on page one, read:

The Telegraph tenders an unconditional apology for reproducing a tweet by @iPoonpandey in Monday’s edition of t2. The publication was the result of a technical error. The Telegraph had no intention to hurt the sentiments of any community. We sincerely apologise for the hurt the publication of the tweet has caused.”


* photograph for representative purposes

Sachin Tendulkar, Mid-Day & the Indian Express

Thankfully, Sachin Tendulkar‘s below-par performance on the Australian tour has dimmed the spotlight somewhat on the Indian media batting for a Bharat Ratna for the cricketer in quest for his 100th hundred.

In Lounge, the Saturday section of the business daily Mint, columnist Aakar Patel argues why, among other reasons, Sachin shouldn’t get the nation’s highest civilian honour:

“On 15 April 1999, just before the World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar’s car hit a Maruti 800 in Bandra. Tendulkar got [Shiv Sena chief] Bal Thackeray to telephone Mid Day, the paper I joined the following year.

“He warned them against carrying the story. This was surprising because nobody had been seriously hurt in the accident.

“Thackeray told the paper running the story would damage “national interest”.

“What was this national interest? Mohammad Azharuddin was about to be sacked, Thackeray explained, and Tendulkar was likely to become captain again. Such stories could spoil his chances. Except The Indian Express, no newspaper ran the story. In July, Azhar was sacked and Tendulkar was named captain.”

Since that story, Tendulkar and Thackeray, Bandra-ites both, have had a small run-in over the batsman’s statement that “he was an Indian first and Marathi too, but Mumbai belongs to all“.

Read the full column: Why Sachin shouldn’t get the Bharat Ratna

Also read: ‘Indian journalism is regularly second-rate’

Prime minister, maybe, but not a very good sub-editor

‘India’s cricket reporters too soft on cricketers’

India Drown Under. Surrender Down Under. Wallopped! Tigers at home, lambs abroad.

The adjectives are tripping off TV screens and sports pages, following the precipitous fall in Team India’s performance in Australia, where the 0-3 scoreline looks less from a cricket series, more from a tennis match.

The blame, as usual, is being laid at the door of the IPL and the surfeit of Twenty20 cricket. The cricket board is being slammed for ignoring domestic cricket, for short sighted selection, etc.

But how much of the blame does the media carry?

Calcutta-born Andy O’ Brien, a former journalist with Sportsworld magazine, now happily settled in Australia, on the debacle of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his World Cup winning boys, in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“If one was to compile international media clippings of this tour, mention of Sachin Tendulkar‘s milestone would probably outnumber 10:1 any analysis of the outcome of a Test match or the shortcomings of the Indian team….

“Are Indian cricket fans more interested in Sachin getting his century of centuries or in winning a Test series? Or is the truth that this almost cosmetic overemphasis on the peripheral is a coincidental cover-up of the fact that, by and large, Indian cricket reporters tend to be too soft on their cricketers?

“Not many are willing to bite the proverbial bullet and risk their “contacts” with the team or the hierarchy. If always seemed to me, even when I was a part of this wonderful hardworking group of people, that the business is not so much about writing or cricket, but what contacts you have and can tap, to produce a “cosmetic/glamour” story with banner headlines.

“That trend has grown and as a result many reports now deal with either the mundane or the inconsequential part of the game.”

Photograph: Australian captain Michael Clarke tosses the coin at the start of the third Test match against India in Perth, as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on, with match referee Ranjan Madugalle (right) and Channel 9 host, Mark Nicholas.

Read the full article: Let go of that cockiness and arrogance

Also read: ‘Today’s cricket journos are chamchas of cricketers’

When cricket journalists go to Brian Lara’s home

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: Itinerant sports reporters usually tag along with their compatriots during assignments on foreign shores, partly because of the chummy nature of sports journalists but also because it makes sense, i.e. it is paisa vasool.

Newspapers and magazines pay a decent-enough per diem these days, but it’s never enough to enable each reporter to go out on his own and do stories without blowing a big hole in the expense account. So sharing a cab, rooming together, splitting meals, etc, is par for the course.

Most times, such clubbiness results in identical stories on the same day. Sometimes, it can result in hilarious situations, like it did with three cricket writers covering India’s tour to the West Indies: Bharat Sundaresan of the Indian Express, K. Shriniwas Rao of The Times of India, and Amita Gupta of Bangalore Mirror.

In Port of Spain, Trinidad, the three of them decide to gatecrash into the great Brian Lara‘s home in St. Clair. And, well, each can only hope that their readers do not read the accounts of their partners!

Hear it in their own words:

Bharat Sundaresan: “On Tuesday, I meet the latest in the line of fascinating cab drivers…. Without second thoughts, I ask Clifford to take me to Chancellor Hill, the private hillock on which Lara’s house is located…. It’s around 7 in the night.

“Led by Clifford, we walk up to the main gate. It takes only one press off this buzzer for the light to come on behind the curtains. I hold my breath. The door opens. It’s the man himself….

“‘We’re a bunch of Indian journalists, Brian. We just wanted to come in and see your house and see how the Prince of Trinidad lives,’ I shout elatedly…’Oh, I just had an event at home and the house is in a mess. Or else I would have certainly invited you boys in. Sorry,’ he says.

“‘Oh, that’s all right, Brian. Thanks, anyway,’ I reply.”


Shriniwas Rao: “Oh yeah, he lives on top of that hill, there,” says the cab driver, pointing to one of the many hills that stand between the island of Trinidad and the Atlantic Ocean. “But which hill?” I ask. “It’s a private hill, man. It’s for the super rich,” says a shopkeeper.

“So, I hail a cab and along with a couple of other scribes, ask the driver to show me the Prince’s house…. We press the buzzer half a dozen times. Finally, the lights come on and the door opens at last. “Yeah, who’s that?”

“‘We’re Indian journalists,’ we blurt out in excitement and add embarrassingly… ‘We came to see your house.’

“Lara doesn’t know how to answer that. He’s shocked someone can just walk into his house, ring the bell, wake him abruptly and say he wants to see the house. But he’s kind. To our utter surprise, he actually considers the request for a few seconds and says, ‘I’m sorry but I had an event here and it’s actually quite messy inside.’

“‘It’s okay. Please don’t bother. We’ll come some other time,’ we tell him. Sheepishly, we get back into the cab and Lara walks back in.”


Amit Gupta: “Three of us — myself and two other journalists — were at Port of Spain’s main square. Our cabbie, a man of Indian origin, was so amicable that we could have a free conversation…. Instantly, we decided that we were going to Brian Lara’s house….

“We buzzed about four-five times, there was no response. But my friends spotted another door bell at the big gate too. We decided to take a chance.

“This time someone switched on the light in one of the rooms. The door swung open and it was the great man himself.

“Dressed in shorts and a half-shirt, the man with 11, 953 Test runs asked us: ‘Yes, who is this?’ One of us answered: ‘We are a bunch of Indian journalists who have come to see your house.’ The small pause gave us hope that the legend would ask us to come in. That was wishful thinking. ‘It’s a bit of a mess inside. I had an event here, so may be some other time,’ Lara said.

“We didn’t insist otherwise. After all we had no business knocking his door. But our evening was made. Brian Charles Lara opening the door for us.  Imagine something like this happening with foreign journalists at Sachin Tendulkar’s place. Just no chance.”

Photograph: courtesy Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday