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Cricket journalists protest spot-fixing scandal

Hacks upset at not getting to cover anything sport-related

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

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Delhi Police Commissioner, Neeraj Kumar, addresses the media on the IPL spot-fixing scandal, IPL 2013, Delhi, May 16, 2013
"What do you mean 'They don't talk like this in CSI'?" © AFP
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Cricket journalists around India are up in arms against the BCCI since they believe that events of the last few weeks have sidelined them completely.

"It's unbelievable how we are being made to report on betting, spot-fixing, gambling syndicates, towels, corporate affairs, legal notices, RoC reports, AGMs, SGMs, state associations, and everything under the sun other than cricket," said the president of a leading cricket-journalist federation in India, Mr Arokyaswamy.

A special investigation reveals that over the last few weeks the sports pages have been overrun by business and legal jargon. Fans who have searched for terms like "exquisite back-foot square drive" and "coruscating pull shot" have been confronted with mysterious references to "sub-section 7.2" and "void ab initio" instead.

A survey shows at least 150 to 200 journalists and editors have been left speechless when young boys and girls have asked them: "Why would anyone cover this stupid sport?"

Things came to a head when MS Dhoni addressed the press before the Indian team left for the Champions Trophy in England and was confronted with a silent protest. A posse of journalists sat quiet as Dhoni awaited their questions. Reporters eagerly raised their hands but when asked to go ahead by the media manager, sat with their fingers on their lips.

Dhoni empathised with their stance. "While one needs to respect the freedom of speech one must never forget how important it is to exercise your freedom of silence," he said.

A highly placed official in the Mumbai police said that recent developments in Indian cricket are connected to the "heart and soul of the game" and that every cricket journalist must realise these are groundbreaking events.

"In fact Gurunath Meiyappan and Vindoo Dara Singh exchanged 86 phone calls that mentioned CLR James' seminal workBeyond a Boundary," said the source. "Guru asked Vindoo if he knows anything about cricket and Vindoo responded saying: "What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?"

However, Mr Arokyaswamy said that the CLR James quote was grossly misunderstood and pointed to a crucial loophole. "Yes, CLR James did say that, but what people won't tell you is the amendment that was made to James' quote in a BCCI AGM in 2008. You can clearly see that Sharad Pawar ratified the amendment that said: "What do they know of cricket who even cricket don't know?"

Some fans were seen burning copies of the book at Churchgate station in Mumbai. However, it was later learned that they had mistakenly assumed that the book had called for Sachin Tendulkar's retirement.

Meanwhile former Indian cricketer Kirti Azad was, as always, candid. "This is a black, black, black day for Indian cricket," he said. "Not even in my dreams would I have imagined that today would be blacker than yesterday."

A source in the BCCI said that Azad's reaction was premature. "We plan to set up a committee to see whether this is a black day, or a black, black day, or indeed a black, black, black day. Let's wait and see what the committee says. Actually let's first figure out who is part of the committee before making such drastic statements."

Social media has been abuzz. Many have suggested that the media's angst is nothing but a media creation. "Stupid paid sensationalist donkey media trying to gain publicity," said a tweet from @ihatethemedia876. Another tweeter, @knowledgeablechennaisuperking, said that the whole thing was nothing but an elaborate ploy by the north Indian media to silence the south Indian media.

However, journalists who cover politics are thrilled by the latest developments. "The amount of politics in cricket is unbelievable," said a leading political editor of a national daily. "In fact there is more politics in cricket than there is in politics."

When asked whether he had anything to say to his colleagues who covered cricket, the editor said: "They are stupid to even give these things any attention. It's clear to one that all that is happening is just not cricket."

All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a writer based in the USA

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 2 
Posted by ramli on (June 10, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Certainly ... a calm head is needed at this time of misdeeds in cricket ... if only that head has a upright mind to deal with culprits ruthlessly .... that is what every cricket fan wants to happen ... not what is displayed by frenzy media ... full of contradictions ...

Posted by manishwa on (June 9, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

Maybe all those who have found guilty should be made to compulsorily read CLR James. Or Lawrence Booth's books. Or even Herschelle Gibbs' biography. Ample punishment.

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