Positive media criticism will do India world of good

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Monday, January 6, 2003, 17:39 [IST]
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Bangalore: A team, which everyone perceived had progressed in leaps and bounds; a team, which was reckoned to be a strong contender for the World Cup crown, is coming a cropper in New Zealand.

What do you think is going wrong, what is the remedy, were we overrated in the first place, are we lacking in application or is the pitch just too bad? The air is filled with similar questions and many more.

I, for one, believe something like this was waiting to happen (although I did not expect it to be this bad).

I don't suppose the answer is that simple! It has taken a combination of errors to land India in the soup it finds itself in. Starting from the kind of pitches we play our cricket on, through the technique and finesse displayed by our cricketers, to the way the game is being run in our country, any number of discrepancies can be detected for the appalling show.

That, however, in my opinion, may not be the only problem area.

We the media need to shoulder much of the consequence for the manner in which the Indian team performs.

We are never moderate in our praise and criticism of the team. It doesn't take much for us to take our heroes on a glory ride before we can crush them beneath our soles.

We should take a common stand; let this team win a series in Australia, South Africa or Pakistan (let alone England, West Indies or New Zealand) and then we will take our hat off. Until then we are going to appreciate what they are doing but not make them out to be the best in the world.

There are certain people out there who in an effort to promote players (because of the mega bucks that is available in the market) are not realising the amount of damage their promotional campaign is causing the nation.

Yes, our players need our support and good will but let us measure our appreciation according to the magnitude of the performance, taking into consideration the dimensional aspects of the game - like the depth (quality of players) in the opposition, the height (the ranking) of the opposition, the breath (toughness) of the opposition and finally the conditions (home/alien) prevailing.

And let us wait for a while before we can give a player or the team his/its due. It just takes one performance for us to parade them.

I just suppose if we are a little miserly in our appreciation then they will learn to reciprocate accordingly. Now, they know all it takes is one home series for this debacle in New Zealand to be forgotten and then it is back to square one.

The converse is also true; we shouldn't be too harsh on them. After all, it is easier to be out here writing than out in the middle playing. Only the players out in the middle know the kind of pressure and toughness of the task on hand. We should be constructive in our criticism but be careful enough not to tear them apart.

All in all, the media has a big role to play and we should discharge our duties responsibly for the benefit of our nation. And from time to time should look within ourselves to ascertain how much we have contributed to India's rise and fall.

A constructive media will do Indian cricket a world of good.


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