“Is that all? Where is the rest of the contingent?” Mahendra Singh Dhoni asked very seriously as the press corps here in Colombo trooped in for a chat.
It’s rather unusual for an Indian cricket captain to be sitting with just five cameras and a handful of print reporters. The Sri Lankan team was equally flabbergasted. “I’ve always seen a big media team from India. I can’t see it here. What happened?,” asked one player.
Eventually Brendon,the local manager of the Lankan team,asked almost with a tinge of guilt,if the global economic slowdown had affected the Indian media. “Is it really bad in India?” he enquired,before adding with a smile,”the players in the Indian team must be missing the rest of your guys?” Well,not exactly.
From the look of it,the Indian team doesn’t mind the extra space at all. “Who says nothing has changed form the last time we came to Sri Lanka,” says one member of the side. “Yes,the team hotel is the same,the décor is the same,and so is the breakfast menu,but the media team is cut by half!”
Adds another senior player in a joke: “As it is there is stifling security,and then the media really scrutinizes us. It’s a good change,we’re not missing the journalists who’re not here. We have enough former cricketers to keep us entertained with their views about us. A bit of more breathing space is welcome.”
With just 15 journalists on tour from India,some players feel it is much easier to build a personal rapport with them because there isn’t a mad rush for sound-bytes. If the trend continues,some even say,it could make a difference in how players are written and talked about,and how they perceive the media.
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