Reams of newsprint have been expended on India’s recent Cricket misadventures. I resolved to keep myself away from making any comments, but felt inexorably drawn towards breaking my resolution. Well, anyway, the straw to break the camel’s back has indeed landed on the camel’s back, so let me get started with it already.
A few issues keep popping up and that make me believe that this whole drama is more due to misrepresentation of facts in some media reports, misreading of media-reports in some other cases or reading a bit too much between the lines in a few others. I will cite two articles here:
Quoting from the first:
From all accounts, Chappell’s report, due to be submitted to the board before April 6, will be scathing in its criticism of the attitude of the senior players including Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh. It is learnt that Chappell, and some members of the board, believe that the return of Ganguly, and later on Tendulkar’s captaincy aspirations, had a destabilising effect on the team, forming groups within the eleven and perhaps stifling the growth of some of the younger cricketers trying to make a mark.
As a direct fallout of this report, most of the cricket fans in India went up in arms against one party or another. Some people went about rubbishing Chappell for his high-handedness and others wanted to consign Tendulkar to a similar fate for his poor form over the past few years. But the operative phrase in the report was “From all accounts, Chappell’s report, due to be submitted to the board before April 6, will be scathing in its criticism of the attitude of the senior players including …”. Did Chappell’s report on April 6 actually do that? I will address that shortly.
What happened next? Tendulkar spoke out to the press and said (from the second link above):
“Again, it’s not that we are defending ourselves. We do realise that we played badly and, as a team, we take full responsibility for that. But what hurt us most is if the coach has questioned our attitude.”
Again, the operative word here is “if”. Tendulkar never said anything about having a bad day or even about having a rift with Chappell. His only remark was that if the coach questions his attitude, he will be hurt.
The rest of the report is speculative:
His statements come in the wake of reports that many members in the team have rallied together against Chappell and Dravid and want Tendulkar to take up their case to the board. Cricinfo had reported on the crisis in the team , one largely owing to the rift between Chappell and the senior players, and Tendulkar’s statements reinforce the players’ stance.
I don’t see any comments by Tendulkar in the entire article making any allusion to a rift or to players asking him to pick up cudgels on their behalf. So isn’t this a case of reading too much between the lines? I think a lot of people let emotions override their thought process and jump into hastily formed conclusions, causing massive misunderstanding – something that never gets corrected. The press is a major reason for this, because it tries to sensationalise irrelevant bits of news with attention-grabbing headlines, then leaves the fire simmering. I guess this incident will go the same way.