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In Indian cricket, ‘source’ is king

The media squeaked, croaked, screamed and did everything possible to be the first with the news. It was a day when the Indian team for the Australian series was also to be selected, writes Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2008 00:36 IST

It was a day like any other day in Indian cricket. The media squeaked, croaked, screamed and did everything possible to be the first with the news. It was a day when the Indian team for the Australian series was also to be selected.

The ubiquitous source, that trusted friend of ours, who never lets down those in need, was being quoted in great detail on why Sourav Ganguly will not be dropped from the team. The reports said that there has been a quid pro quo, and Ganguly will be picked on the condition that he retires after the series is over.

Reporter after reporter on almost every TV channel spoke with that “know-all” look that suggests that the person must have been an eyewitness to this ‘deal’. Some better professionals even made you feel that they may have played an important role in striking the ‘deal’. Not just Ganguly, all the seniors will now get a decent “burial”, we were told. They just have to choose the time and place.

For many, if this deal story was true, it meant humiliation of the seniors, though everyone agrees that there has to be a gradual phase-out. This series may not be the right time to execute that plan but it has to be done, sooner or later.

But to follow a VRS is not the right way to go about it, as it does give the impression of a favour being done to the players. That is why most of us reacted in indignation.

Ganguly must have been feeling the most aggrieved, wondering why he should always be the first to be targeted. His has been a story right from the day he made his debut, of a man whom no one ever wants but can’t do without.

By the evening, this “deal” theory was being spoken of in muted tones with Ganguly dismissing it with uncharacteristic indignation in front of the cameras.

Finally, it was left to Anil Kumble to tell the world that they had heard nothing of it. His was a voice of reasoned sanity. “Put us under scrutiny but do it respectfully” he was forced to say.

The Indian Board, whose lack of transparent ways, has made this “Source” acquire monstrous dimensions, was in action the next day again, being quoted everywhere, this time to deny the story.

The truth? Well for that you would have to read IS Bindra. He wrote almost a tome in praise of the administrators who have given a new “direction to world cricket”. From Sharad Pawar to Lalit Modi, we were told how great they are.

They sure must be, but unless a ‘source’ tells us that, it can’t be true.