Girilal Jain, the late editor of The Times of India, used to say that, in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake.
So, just like some news channels are completely in the thrall of some political parties, some news channels are also the go-to stations for cricket bosses.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India issued show cause notices to cricketers K.L. Rahul and Hardik Pandya for off-colour comments made on the TV chat show Koffee with Karan, The Telegraph reports that BCCI bosses are themselves not beyond reproach.
Lokendra Pratap Sahi, the veteran cricket writer, points out that the former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, the Supreme Court-appointed administrator Vinod Rai and the CEO Rahul Johri are guilty of “breach of protocol”…
“…giving permission to an ultra-friendly English news channel for interviews immediately after a historic Test series win.
“The news channel, which kept quiet right through the inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against Johri, was alone given the okay to interview head coach Ravi Shastri, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, man of the series Cheteshwar Pujara, and bowling coach Bharat Arun.”
Two members of the support staff of the team are quoted as saying:
“That news channel got permission from the higher authorities. It had to be implemented.”
“Why is Vinod Rai doling out favours to one news channel and one news agency?” writes Lokendra Pratap Sahi, while pointing out that the woman cricketer Mithali Raj‘s email had been leaked to the same news channel.
It takes no genius to come to the conclusion that the “ultra-friendly news channel” in question is India Today.
And the reporter in question is Boria Majumdar, who left his post at Times Now in dramatic circumstances at the height of the Lalit Modi-N. Srinivasan kerfuffle, and joined India Today on a consulting basis.
If nothing else, The Telegraph story shows what a minefield cricket reporting has become in the era of big bucks, where reporters openly align themselves with players, administrators (and indeed sponsors and advertisers).