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   While most cricket fans are complaining... (November 28, 1986)

While most cricket fans are complaining that their viewing of cricket on TV is being interrupted by the coverage of the activities of Mr. Gorbachow and party, my friend, who is a keen follower of politics, is complaining about the interruptions of cricket between the coverage of the Russian visitors.

My friend was telling me this morning just before the start of the Pakistan-West Indies match and the Gorbachove-Gandhi press conference: “Every time, when we are at some interesting point of Mr. Gorbachov’s speech, they switch over to some body called Srikkanth batting in Sharajh. Tell me, who is interested in Srikkanth batting or anybody else batting and bowling?”

“You will be surprised how many people are,” I said. “Indians in India, and Indians and Pakistanis in Sharjah are cricket mad. What some magazines refer to as cricket diwanas.”

“That is all put out by these Doordarshan People,” my friend said. “They don’t want to show anything interesting like Mr. Gorbachov and Mr. Gandhi signing agreements and shaking hands, so they some dull educative programmes on how Arabs are being taught how to play cricket.”

“Perhaps, you are right,” I said.

“Of course, I am right,” my friend said. “You tell me, how many TV viewers are there who would prefer to see somebody called Roger Binny running stiff-legged up and down instead of Mrs. Grobachov being taken around the museum of modern art in New Delhi and admiring the works of Hussain. I am sure there is some political significance in her being taken there.”

“If you say so,” I said. “Are you pleased with the coverage of the Gorbachov visit?”

“The coverage is reasonably good, though it could have been more detailed,” my friend said. “But what is galling is that whatever little there is, it is being constantly interfered with by cricket. I mean, if they have to cover cricket. Why couldn’t they do it on radio. Or leave it to the newspapers to cover it, as it is they are boring with photographs of Gavaskar and Madan Lal day after day. As if there is no Rajiv Gandhi.

“I think the ordinary people who buy TV sets to provide entertainment for their families like to watch cricket,” I said. “And, as Mr. Gadgil always used to way, TV if for the common man.”

“The common man is more interested in Mr. Gorbachov and peace talks than your so-called intellectuals,” my friend said. “It is a myth that the common man has to be provided with live coverage of cricket.”

Well. Doordarshan did stop its cricket coverage and show you Mr. Gorbachov and Mr. Gandhi yesterday evening,” I said.

“Yes, but when! After the cricket was almost over and only the last few overs were left,” my friend said.

 
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