A step forward by BCCI

SOURAV GANGULY'S participation in ESPN channel's new programme — The Cricket Show — marks a first of a kind, for it makes him the first cricket captain to be on a regular show even as he continues playing cricket.

SUNIL GAVASKAR

SOURAV GANGULY'S participation in ESPN channel's new programme — The Cricket Show — marks a first of a kind, for it makes him the first cricket captain to be on a regular show even as he continues playing cricket. This would have been unthinkable some years back but more and more Boards are realising that careers of players are limited as far as the time span is concerned and so are allowing them within reason to do some off-field work as well. Sourav has been contributing a column for sometime now and so is no stranger to doing media work but TV is a new medium and he took to it like a duck takes to water. He is one of those modern cricketers who knows the value of a good press and being articulate is able to hold his own in most interactions with the media. The latter point can be a disadvantage more than a plus point as it can and does lead a person to speak a little more at length and the more a player speaks the greater the danger of being misunderstood and misinterpreted.

If Sourav Ganguly as current captain appearing on a TV show is new to Indian cricket, then what about Pakistan where its Chief Executive Officer. Pic. V. GANESAN-

This is exactly the dilemma that the coach of the Indian hockey team is facing as it has suddenly become sought after by the media. So in trying to be protective Rajinder Singh may have upset a few people but there's no doubting his good intentions. He had experience of how when the team struggled there was a lot of tension created by some irresponsible reporting. When players are new to the media game they do not always know what is the right thing to say or how, even if it is the right thing, how it will be presented to the readers and the viewing public. It may not be deliberately done but with the media looking for a different angle to a story and an angle that's exclusive to them, an innocuous comment can lead to misunderstanding and suspicion that breaks the harmony in the team. That certainly happened when the hockey team struggled in the Champions Trophy and since reports are now instantly available to the players even on tours, it created tension that did not help the performance.

If Ganguly as current captain appearing on TV show is new to Indian cricket what about Pakistan where not only its Chief Executive Officer Rameez Raja is doing live commentary but also its Chairman of Selectors, Aamir Sohail is commenting for TV on the players he has helped to choose. Nobody in Pakistan thought it fit to comment on this development and maybe both Sohail and Raja took up their assignments with the Pakistan Board only on the understanding that they would be allowed to carry on with their TV work for which they might have had previous contracts and commitments.

Rameez Raja is allowed to do live commentary, asks the author. - Pic. PTI-

The crucial aspect is whether the game is being brought into disrepute by current players being active in the media. If that's not the case and the players do nothing to disrupt the harmony in the team then really there should be no objections whatsoever. Dilip Vengsarkar actually paid the price for continuing to write a column even after being told that he should not do so by the BCCI. But Dilip's argument was that the rival skipper, Viv Richards was writing one and was actually able to put a bit of pressure through that column on the groundsmen and officials and needed to be countered by an Indian point of view as well. That argument didn't go well with the BCCI who banned him but then as such punishments go the ban came at a time when he was out with an injury, so in effect was ineffective.

It is a step forward by the BCCI to allow Ganguly to do a TV show and other media work. Though there will be some in the Board who may not be entirely happy, it is still a sign that the antiquated thinking of the Board is going and that can only be good news. It is far better to be open with the media rather than allow them little or no access, which leads to unnecessary speculation and such stories. That does no good to anybody.

India has followed the rest. But in this aspect it has shown the world and for that the BCCI deserves compliments and congratulations.