A Cricketing View has some harsh words for Nagraj Gollapudi’s interview with Harbhajan Singh, wherein Singh says, “[The Indian national cricketers] are not worried about their places, people go out to play for the team rather than playing for themselves.” For View, though, this calls out for further clarification:
By cherry picking the most outrageous (and absurd) quote from Harbhajan Singh and putting it in the title of the interview, Gollapudi guarantees himself lots of clicks, but he also guarantees two kinds of responses – those who believe that everyone is corrupt and there is no meritocracy anywhere, and likely to leave this essay thinking – see, some meritocracy, and some wonderful results! These are the people who think that the selectors are a rule are incompetent and dishonest. The other kind of response he guarantees is that of someone left deeply unsatisfied with a half-baked interview with India’s senior spinner. Someone who will read that headline, and immediately think to himself – Hmmm, but job security stems from success too!
A couple of quick points: first, writers rarely choose their headlines; that’s the copy or online editor’s job. Second, View should be more angry with Harbhajan’s inane quotes than Gollapudi’s writing. Sportspeople regularly give shitty interviews, filled with cliches and also-ran bromides about success, “giving 100%” and so on. Third, the reason journalists often write essays on interviews rather than offer transcripts is the format offers readers a quicker distillation of the salient points. Some interviews go on for over 30 minutes; including every word would sometimes be foolish.
Fourth — and most importantly — I don’t think Gollapudi “guaranteed” the results View offers, because I didn’t think of either of those two responses when I read that interview. I thought Harbhajan was referring to Greg Chappell’s tenure, a stormy time when players supposedly were unsure of their place or role in the national team as Chappell sought to shake things up and move people around. That’s all.