In a bid to be sensational, in a bid to follow the trend of the masses and to serve to the mood of the country, journalism has taken a massive beating. India’s (so-called) leading English news channel Times Now has become an absolute embarrassment to the profession of journalism. I say this without any subtlety not because I work for a rival news organisation, but because their abominable work has put my identity as a sports journalist of India to shame.
Describing India’s loss to Australia in the semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2015 as ‘shameful’, Times Now has made a mockery of everything the Men in Blue achieved, of everything the players toiled hard for. India lost, but they went down fighting valiantly and bowed out with their heads held high. However, Times Now didn’t take the setback gracefully and disgusted or perhaps never had the word ‘sportsmanship’ embedded in their dictionary. (Also read: Anushka Sharma blamed for Team India’s semi-final defeat: How embarrassingly sexist are we?)
Agreed that India didn’t put up their best show against the four-time champions; there was a mini batting collapse. Yet, with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the middle, there was still a glimmer hope with six overs remaining. India had come into the match as the only unbeaten side in the tournament apart from New Zealand; winning seven matches till the semi-final. On the Sydney Cricket Ground track that offered bounce and pace, Australia were always going to be the favourites. They had one of the deepest batting line-ups and arguably the most powerful one. Their bowling was one of the best in the tournament as well as menacing.
Times Now described India’s 95-run loss to Australia as ‘an abject surrender’, ‘a humiliating loss’. More so, when MS Dhoni was gracious in defeat, the Arnab Goswami-run ‘news channel’ labelled the 33-year-old’s post-match press conference ‘captain Dhoni shrugged off responsibility’. (Read More: Kamaal R Khan, Times Now and Anushka Sharma’s critics: Idiots of the day!)
The man, who became a father just before the World Cup commenced, has not had the opportunity to see the smile on his daughter’s face. Yes, he is that man who on being asked if he would go and see his daughter before the campaign got underway responded saying, “I am on national duty. World Cup is important for me and I rather be here. Everything else can wait!”. He is the same man who guided India to victory in a T20 World Cup, a 50-over World Cup and a Champions Trophy – the only captain in the world to have won all three ICC tournaments.
Times Now even ran ticker that read ‘Did the dropped catch clearly show Kohli was feeling the pressure?’, ‘Did Suresh Raina get carried away and gift his wicket’. They went as low as demanding an apology to the nation from Virat Kohli. For what? Playing a bad shot and dropping a catch? It makes me wonder if the producers and anchors throwing up these sensational questions against the players, the same ones who can only talk Cricket and have never held the willow! (India vs Australia – Top 5 Highlights here)
By the looks of it, it seems unlikely the people running the channel know their sport. If they don’t know their cricket, I’m more than willing to extend my support and help them out with a few lessons. Yes, I’m challenging Arnab Goswami for a ‘debate‘ on cricket. After all, the nation wants to know if the Times Now Editor-in-Chief knows his game or not!