If you write about the latest happenings in cricket, you have two sources: the stuff cricketers say at post-match appearances, and the stuff cricketers do, on the field. As a general rule, it’s better to focus on the latter — What does a batsman’s stance reveal about his thinking? What does a bowler’s seam position reveal about his level of skill? What does a captain’s field placements say about his strategic nous?
Another reason to ignore press conferences is that they are almost completely and utterly useless. The latest piece of evidence: days after India’s bowling coach declared Zaheer Khan to be among the “top six” bowlers in the world, Khan has been dropped for the fourth test. When you consider Khan’s possible replacements — Ishant Sharma, an uncapped bowler from Delhi, and Ashok Dinda — you realize just how arbitrary and useless that “top six” comment was.
You’ve alighted on a pet hate of mine. To justify their prominence, press conferences should 1) bring players closer to the fans by revealing something of their personality 2) hold players to account for their performances, decisions, etc. They tend to fail both tests: 1) because players are not interesting enough to listen to; 2) because interviewers fail to push for answers. I long to see a football manager who says he won’t comment on an incident detrimental to his team as he didn’t see it have an ipad shoved in his face so he can see the incident and be asked for his view about it on camera.
I wrote in this vein, as well as about Henry Blofeld and parenting, here: http://wp.me/p1OY5E-6m
In New Zealand press conferences are always dreadful, with whoever is captaining always trotting out the line ‘We are taking a lot of positives from this game, hopefully we can execute better next time.’ That phrase has lost all meaning after this many years of hearing it.
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