Inter and Milan are both interested in signing Olympique Marseille midfielder Kevin Strootman, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. Strootman left Roma in the summer of 2018 to join Marseille for a reported €25m after helping the Giallorossi reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. However, L’Equipe claims the Dutchman is now free to leave the Ligue 1 side for the right price, and this has alerted both Milan clubs. The Rossoneri will try to add more experience to their squad in January, while at 29 he is younger than Antonio Conte’s preferred target Arturo Vidal. Strootman made 131 appearances for Roma in all competitions, scoring 13 goals. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Baron Paul Condon, former head of the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), has set the cat among the pigeons with his disclosure that match-fixing and spotfixing in cricket was not only rampant in the 1990s and the first decade of this millennium, but also that most international teams were involved in this.He has also been emphatic that spot-fixing has its roots in county cricket, and was further fuelled by the growth of T20 cricket.It would not be impertinent to ask what Condon did to arrest this problem in his near-decade long stint as chief of the ACU. Indeed, why did it take him so long to make these observations public even as the game was being torn asunder by corruption? It would be a disservice to the sport if his research findings and assessments had been stored away as memorabilia for posterity, not affirmative action when he was heading the ACU.Nevertheless, Condon’s revelations have busted the myths that match/spot fixing is essentially a sub-continental phenomenon to which players from other countries are only innocent (or silent) bystanders.Ever since late Hansie Cronje’s nefarious activities were accidentally exposed by the Delhi police in 2000 (Condon’s appointment as ACU chief was a consequence of this), there has been sustained typecasting that the sub-continent is the hub of match-fixing.While the rise of the Asian illegal betting mafia has been well documented and is a fact, the assumption that only players from this region would be largely corrupt is ill-founded: it doesn’t take a degree to understand that greed is independent of race, colour or nationality.advertisementWith cricket boards ranged against each other in a power struggle, or for reasons of dubious national interest, the collective will to fight the menace was lacking and many offenders went scotfree. While a relook at some old cases (as the Delhi police has claimed it will in the Cronje matter) would still be worthwhile, in a broader sense, I think the second aspect of Condon’s revelation – where he mentions domestic cricket as the springboard for corruption – may be more significant in salvaging the future.Condon talks of how corruption is perhaps commonplace in English county cricket. Sharp practices on the county circuit (Imran Khan using a bottle cap to scuff the ball, others like John Lever using vaseline to get extra shine from Essex to Test matches in India) are well known, but Condon says that cheating for money too had crept in via spot-fixing.Domestic cricket in other countries too has not been above suspicions. The early part of this season has been engaged in unraveling the mystery behind Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar inexplicably declaring his team’s innings in the sixth over when the victory target was 130 from 19. Corruption, it is widely believed, is institutionalised in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Unsavoury reports have also emerged about problems in Australian cricket.Players who get away by cheating at the domestic level are more likely to be emboldened to do it at the global level too. The flip side is that players who don’t make it to the highest level and miss out on the massive financial rewards, could be tempted into hanky-panky because nobody is watching. The decision by the Australian and Pakistan boards to have an anti-corruption unit monitoring domestic cricket has not come a day too soon. It might not help in eradicating corruption completely. But every little bit helps.
If you are planning to pump up your body at the gym, buying protein supplements may not be a bad idea. Mixed with water or milk, they go hand in hand with body building and are the best way to repair worn out tissues after exercise, say experts.Proteins are building blocks of the body. After a workout session, a body’s requirement for protein shoots up to repair damaged tissuesl; therefore, the intake of the supplement drinks within 30 minutes, also called the crucial or golden period, is a must, say nutritionists while advising that it should be done under expert guidance.”Protein is a vital nutrient for muscle repair. When consumed through natural sources like egg or milk, it is digested and absorbed into blood, which utilizes it wherever needed. The entire process may take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes or could go up to two hours, depending upon the protein consumed,” Prajakta Sarmalkar, nutritionist and lecturer at Gold’s gym in Mumbai, told IANS.A natural source of protein takes longer to get absorbed in the blood and this is where protein shakes come in handy. “Protein supplements are partially digested, allowing the body to absorb them more easily. Post-workout, there is a golden period or crucial period of 20 minutes where the body needs high protein,” said Sarmalkar.Elaborating on how these supplements give quick results to the body compared to the natural source of protein, fitness guru Sheru Aangrish said: “When we eat raw food, proteins are broken down into BCCA (branched chain amino acids) and food digestion takes place. With supplements we can consume a direct form of BCCA.”Also, vegetarians cannot eat natural sources of protein like meat, eggs and fish; therefore, Aangrish feels protein shakes are a good substitute for such people. “I am a vegetarian and protein supplements become very vital in a vegetarian’s case. We have to depend on milk and soya to get the adequate amount of protein,” he added.But there are many who abstain from protein shakes. For 24-year-old Chetan Manhas, a fitness freak, these supplements are a complete no, no. “I have heard stories of how these shakes pump up your body for a brief time and once you stop having them, your body loses all the pump. So, in a way, they give you illusionary shine that doesn’t last for long. So, I stay away from them,” said Manhas.But personal fitness trainer Aashu counters that if “you are into heavy weight lifting and suddenly you decide not to take supplements, the body will suffer because the muscles won’t be repaired in time and automatically the body will lose the pump”. Sarmalkar feels discipline and knowledge are required for the proper usage of these supplements and adds: “If a supplement is taken under someone’s guidance, it can be advantageous but if it is consumed in excess, it could be disadvantageous. An excess amount of protein is converted into fat.”Every product has its pros and cons and it is important for consumers to gain proper knowledge before he or she starts consuming it. “People should be educated on this topic. They should learn how to read labels and not go by what others have to say. Taking a supplement isn’t a bad choice, it can be a part of your healthy lifestyle,” said Aatikaay Narula, CEO of Evolution Sports Nutrition Pvt Ltd, a range of wellness and endurance supplements.(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at [email protected])advertisement
With Mahendra Singh Dhoni banned for a Test, Indian opener Virender Sehwag is set to lead the visiting side in the fourth and final Test at Adelaide.The Delhi dasher, who has been struggling to tackle the pace and bounce of Australian pitches in the series so far, would be eager to avoid a second straight overseas series whitewash.In fact, it was at the Adelaide Oval that Sehwag got his last Test century away from the sub-continent. Team India and its fans now hope that Sehwag regains his form at the venue and salvage some pride for India after a humiliating series loss down under.With Dhoni struggling to make a mark in the first three Tests, Sehwag would have to come up with his best strategy to conquer the ruthless Australians. However, after a humiliating whitewash in England and a series loss in Australia, his biggest task would be to regroup the team and fight for pride.What makes things interesting is that Sehwag is yet to lose a Test as captain. In the three matches that he has captained India, he has won two and one match ended in a draw. While his win record at home is 100 per cent, Sehwag has managed to maintain a decent record heading India overseas.Failure of batting line up has been the root cause of India’s failure in Australia and that is something Sehwag has to deal with. He himself has been going through a lean patch and after a fine 67 in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test he has been on a downward spiral that reached abysmal levels in Perth.advertisementIn the six innings so far in Australia Sehwag has just managed to score 118 runs at a poor average of 19.66. What makes matters a bit worrying is Sehwag’s own performance when he is leading the side. He has managed to score 173 runs at an average of 28.33 in the three Tests he has headed the side.If India have to avoid a whitewash, Sehwag holds the key. With the captain’s cap on his head, it is time for him to provide some winning shots.
A club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every,A club game in Srinagar’s Hazratbal areaWho knows what they made of Danish Ahsan, as he walked to keep pace with the arrival of dawn? Surely they would have seen him, the men with guns on both sides of the Valley’s barbed wire. The teenager setting off at four every morning, the soft tattoo of his footsteps the only sound on the dark, cool road from Dialagam to Anantnag. The boy was neither runaway nor renegade but a dreamer, who would not let distance – or unreliable transport – gets in his way of arriving at his own promised land: a rundown sports ground in Anantnag. By 6:30 a.m. Ahsan’s long walk was complete but his journey just begun. With 200 others, he would change out of his dusty clothes into carefully preserved white shirt and trousers, and for a few hours become someone else. That most unexpected of natives, the Kashmiri cricketer.FEAR FACTOR: Sher-e-Kashmir stadium wears a deserted lookAt the ground, it is match day for boys across three age groups selected from a talent search camp and Ahsan is among them. It’s Friday, the khutba is ringing out from the mosque that overlooks the ground.The men in charge of the cricket exchange shrugs about missing the badi namaaz and keep going. Among them is district captain Ghulam Rasool, who once rushed into a mosque with fellow cricketers, all still in their whites. The puzzled congregation had looked at each other and whispered, “Yeh kaunsi jamaat ke hain?” (Which sect is this?). Rasool’s smile is saucer-size, “We said, ‘hum bat-waale hain’.”This acknowledgement of two varying faiths is both incongrous and organic, but cricket in Kashmir is itself incongrous, something so frivolous and normal in a place that has lost its frivolity, and its normalcy.advertisementCRICKET FEVER: The new ground in SeerThe game in the Valley lives in its own time zone. When the rest of the country’s season ends, Kashmir’s begins; as the others curse the heat, the Valley’s cricketers swarm onto the Polo ground, college playfields and disused golf-courses, each one proof that the game has survived.In 1996, when the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) decided to open up their home ground, the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium at Srinagar after a seven-year freeze, it took 20 workers four months to unearth the playing square under four feet high grass. The city’s club league was quietly re-initiated with 15-16 clubs.”When I think about it today, how foolish we were to risk initiating formal cricket again,” says Manzoor Ahmed Wazir, JKCA vice-chairman. Sixty clubs now contest the Srinagar league.PROFILE ABID NABIFirst Down, More To ComeHis name is now uttered across J&K with hope in its echo. Visitors are asked if he will ever play for India. His coach Mansoor Ahmed, knows what will happen, “If Abid goes through, many, many more will follow.” Only two seasons into the game and 40 first-class wickets, Nabi 20, is the first player from J & K to make it to the North Zone Deodhar Trophy team and the first to play a first-class game against a touring side. He was called up to give India’s finest a workout in the nets before the Test against England.Nabi grew up in Srinagar. Spotted in school by Ahmed, Nabi was given two instructions. Just bowl. And just bowl fast. The ACC took him on and everything else was kept simple.Nabi is one of a joint family whose livelihoods depend on learning trades, not sport. Three ACC coaches assured his father, a mason, that the club would look after all expenses and this game would help the young bowler find a job. And play for India.”I didn’t have to worry about a thing,” Abid says, “I was told just perform.” From the time he played juniors, Nabi was told, “You’re the only one from Kashmir who can make it.)”The lean, 6 ft 2 inch baby-face wears weighty expectation like a medal. He is proud to represent his state, his surroundings, even if the state’s Ranji team does not get a proper set of kit and plays matches in a series of assorted white shirts.If things go well, he could wear a shirt given to only the few. Bowling to the Indians in Mohali and then unwinding in the dressing room has left its trace. “You cannot understand what it meant to be there,” he says. “I had dreamt of just seeing players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid. There I was, bowling at Laxman, sitting with them, talking to them-me, a boy from Kashmir, imagine that…”In Anantnag, everyone with anything to do in the district’s cricket is pitching in, led by Abdul Qayuum, the state’s most successful fast bowler (“as fast as Srinath”, they say). Matches are umpired by Mohammed Shafi, opening batsman of the Ranji team and Sajid Nisar, who played state under-17s and under-19s.advertisementThey coach while umpiring, checking footwork and follow through. Mushtaq Ahmed, an ex-intervarsity player lost his son in an accident and has come “because I think of all these boys as my son.”The sentiment and energy found in Kashmir’s scattered grounds is tangible but to the outsider, inexplicable. J&K has only a couple of turf wickets, there is little formal coaching outside Srinagar, no settled calendar. The state team has never made it past the Ranji Trophy first round bar once (in 2002, captained by Qayuum). Role models are thin on the ground and no player from the state has played for India.ON STRONG WICKET: A girl bats in a Gulmarg schoolTo Kashmir’s cricketers, these are home truths, like soldiers and sandbags. Each time they enter the stadium, they show their special ID cards and submit to a security check. The CRPF has occupied the stadium and clubhouse for the last 15 years. The old dressing rooms are now storehouses for ammunition.Still, the players change into whites. Still, bowlers swivel around and holler, “how’s that?” at umpires. Still, batsmen uncurl cover drives and hold their pose a tad longer than modesty demands. In Kashmir, cricket’s mythology is reinvented, its fussy rituals given a new layer of meaning. Besieged by insanity and inhumanity, the game represents order, rootedness, even sanity.Srinagar held its first Ranji Trophy match after a 16-year-gap last season. When former India bowlers T.A. Sekhar and Javagal Srinath came talent scouting for the MRF Pace Foundation, 400 turned up. Fast bowler Abid Nabi has just become the first Jammu & Kashmir player to be picked for the North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy.To a generation that grew up during insurgency, all of this represents a mighty stride. When Shafi was picked for the state junior team for the national under-17 event, militants had put out notices forbidding local boys from representing Kashmir outside the state. So he stayed at home. Nisar says his father sent him to learn cricket to keep him away from the twin scourges of the time-‘the smoking drinking crowd and militancy’. After an average Ranji season, pacer Fayaz Ahmed vanished. “Paar chala gaya” (went across the border), some say, a euphemism for taking up the gun.INNING ENDS: Close of play called over Pulwama’s saffron fieldsThere is a game on in the Mirza Nooruddin Memorial Knock Out run by the Amateur Cricket Club (ACC) and they have hoardings around the boundary. The club has been given a three-year shot at hosting matches on campus and a field on which to prepare new turf wickets. Its location, one long hit from the Dal Lake, delights the ACC’s Mansoor Ahmed, also Nabi’s coach. The breeze off the Dal, he says, helps the ball swing prodigiously. He would like teams from outside Kashmir to come to the Valley in the summer to show locals where they stand.Qayuum wants the state team to be invited to events like Buchi Babu and Moin-ud-Dowla to know how the game is really played. Even as the JKCA’s share of gym equipment sent out by the cash-rich BCCI to all association is lying unusued, there is talk of building a new stadium outside the Sher-e-Kashmir’s high security surroundings.advertisementTHE BAT MAKERSAn Industry Under SiegeSHARP BLADE: Bats being testedIn a 5 sq km area of a place called Hallamulla Sangam, India’s traditional bat-making industry is grappling with the flickering moods of the times. All through the town, advertising the virtues of the famous Kashmiri willow tree, bats and their colourful bat cases are hung out on display like so many pieces of exotic fruit. The Valley’s willow, an established rival to the more expensvie English willow used to make cricket bats, still travels far. To Jalandhar and Meerut, where the seasoned wood is given the finish needed and sent to the major metros where the big brands put their stickers on it.Kashmir’s 150 bat-making units annually earn between Rs 3 lakhs-Rs 101-12 lakhs depending on the size of their businesses. But today, the bat makers find that business is dipping. Not because of fluctuating tourist numbers, but the smuggling of willow wood outside the state in trucks ostensibly carrying apples. This trend started a decade ago, and has cut into the demand for willow treated and seasoned in the area.A proposal to widen the Srinagar to Anantnag highway is also threatening to push the showrooms and bat shops that now line the road.What does cricket in Kashmir mean? To the game? The national project? The state’s young players learnt to love the game from Doordarshan’s telecasts! Formal coaching to them is not dreary discipline but epiphany. They want to know how to adjust to turf wickets, how to read quality spin. “Dravid’s cover drive? I want to hit the ball like that,” says Raees Ahmed Nedaf, from Pahalgam. In the Anantnag camp, Ahsan was told about the use of the top hand and suddenly, miraculously, could control his strokes.Kashmir’s cricket will always be a little surreal and the only way to build on it is to embrace its imperfections. To accept that the new police ground in Seer near Pahalgam might also do double duty as a helipad. To understand that if the game must go on in this beautiful, blighted landscape, those inside it must think outside its boundaries and those outside must sense the Valley’s will.Danish Ahsan was picked for the Anantnag district under-19 team. Sometime in mid-September, the boy will bat on a real turf wicket for the first time in his life.
It sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra,It sounded like an innocuous question from a TV reporter – “It will be your brother’s birthday three days from now, how do you plan to celebrate it?” Except it was at the funeral of the boy in question, Abhishek Mishra.A final-year student of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mishra had drowned in a waterfall near Ranchi, a death instantly propelled into the spotlight because he was accompanied to the excursion by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad’s daughter Ragini.Welcome to the loud, weird world of 24-hour news television with its parallel universe of breathless and sometimes heartless anchors, the unlikely stars and specials with cheesy B-movie titles. It’s a mad mix of news and nonsense, causes and circuses, fundamental issues and feel-good frivolity. It is often grisly, sometimes ghoulish and usually plain voyeuristic.Sensationalism is taking over Indian mediaClick here to EnlargeFrom the public visit to Varanasi of a very private couple (Abhishek Ki Ash) to the private spat between a very public couple (Rahul Ne Shweta Ko Rulaya), every episode is designed for maximum impact and minimum illumination. Want a quick scroll?Try this. Nagin Ka Khauf, the saga of a 12-year old boy pursued by a snake; Prem Tapasya, the tale of a yogi living in with his disciple; Gharwali Baharwali, the story of a man’s extramarital affair; or Maut ka Drama, wherein Kunjilal, a 75-year-old astrologer from Betul, Madhya Pradesh, had the country holding its collective breath after claiming he would die between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on October 20 last year.advertisementIt’s the kind of shrill in-your-face coverage that had Naresh Gupta, Adobe India CEO, bowing before the media and beseeching them to stop the saturation coverage of his four-year old son Anant because the kidnappers could have harmed him.”In the new global economy viewers look for titillation in news which is why we show a lot of cinema, lots of cricket and plenty of crime.”LAXMI NARAIN GOEL, DIRECTOR – NEWS GROUP, ZEE NEWS It’s also the kind of relentless campaigning that can force Priyadarshini Mattoo (see box) to get justice seven years after she was murdered.In this chaos and cacophony, it is easy to miss the real megastar-the medium itself: Twenty-four-hour news TV, which reaches out to 50 million cable homes in a dozen languages. At nearly 20 per cent per annum, it’s growing full throttle. With 38 news channels at last count, more than in any nation on the planet, news TV is growing faster than any other genre in India.From just two channels six years ago, one new news channel joins the race every four months now. As a genre, television news viewership ranks fifth, below entertainment, regional, sports and children’s channels.”Viewership ratings are a critical element because we depend on advertising revenue and clients go by research findings.” G . KRISHNAN , CEO , TV TODAY From a nation that first tasted satellite TV thanks to a news event, the 1991 Gulf War, India now binges on news TV. A study by public relations firm Edelman shows that 49 per cent of Indians tune in to TV first for trustworthy news and information, compared to just 31 per cent in Asia Pacific-TV has clearly beaten newspapers as the medium of first contact with news.When a five-year-old boy spends 52 Truman Show-like hours in a 60-ft well, the entire nation watches and prays even if it means listening to: “Dharti mata ki god mein pachaas ghante bitane ke baad, ab apni ma ki god mein hai Prince (after spending 50 hours in the lap of the earth, Prince is now in his mother’s lap).””Sensationalism in place of substance, trivia in place of content, exaggeration instead of moderation and living for the instant and not even the hour have become the greed of contemporary visual media,” says Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, himself no stranger to the siren-like allure of the cameras.A 61-hour songathon by Aakansha Jachak of Indore created a world recordClick here to EnlargeFrom political parties to business houses, everyone courts news channels, timing their announcements around prime time and judging the importance of a news event by the presence of OB vans. It’s also raking in the cash.Six years back, news television had less than a 2 per cent share of the total TV advertising market. It now stands at nearly 12 per cent or Rs 650 crore of the annual Rs 5,500 crore TV ad spend. “It’s a demand-and-supply combination, because there is a certain male audience for products like automobiles, banking and finance which TV news brings in,” says Shekhar Swamy, president of R.K. Swamy BBDO Advertising.advertisement”As the fastest growing genre of television, news has in fact been eating into the primetime viewing of popular soaps.”L.V. KRISHNAN, CEO, TAM MEDIA RESEARCH The growth of news television has also been fuelled by lower launch costs. Aaj Tak, a 24-hour news channel which is part of the India Today Group, was launched at a cost of Rs 40 crore in December 2000. Today, however, it costs only Rs 3 crore to launch a small news channel.Bandwidth costs on satellites have dropped from approximately $3500 (Rs 1.5 lakh) per Mhz per month to $2000 (Rs 90,000) per Mhz per month for regional beam and $6500 (Rs 2.9 lakh) per Mhz per month for wide beam to $5000 (Rs 2.2 lakh) per Mhz per month.This growth is now beginning to bite at the heels of TV’s prime locomotive, the soap. Two years ago Delhi housewife Nancy Hajela, 42, cut down on watching Ekta Kapoor serials because they were getting increasingly predictable.News TV is mutating, changing the audienceClick here to EnlargeShe watches over four hours of news every day now. “It’s much more interesting,” she says. Now, Harish Tomar driving a car from the passenger seat triggers more public debate than Parvati’s travails in Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii.This broadening of the audience has led to a change in the profile of the TV news advertiser. The usual profile of the TV advertiser-a mix of corporates and financial services-is now slowly giving way to FMCG firms and consumer durables. “News TV has managed to broad-base itself to a mass audience,” says Television Audience Measurement (TAM) CEO L.V. Krishnan.Very hyped Prince case and ghost running a carClick here to EnlargeTelevision news, which would have completely ignored nobodies like Kunjilal even two years ago, has now begun chasing them. The interest is often mutual. So when retired government employee Chedi Lal, borrowing from Lage Raho Munnabhai’s Gandhigiri, stripped down to his briefs in Lucknow in October to demand a revision in pension, he remembered to bring a TV camera crew along.If the definition of news has changed, so has the coverage-with well-groomed anchors, anchors, designer clothes and colloquial Hindi. “TV covers everything from a funeral to a Friday cricket match with the same sense of breathless urgency. If everything is important and nothing is trivial, then what is news,” asks sociologist Shiv Visvanathan.Well, how about rival ghosts battling over a village belle and women claiming to be reincarnated snakes- Zee News even runs a half-hour weekly show, Kaal Kapaal Mahakaal, devoted to the paranormal. Critics say the channels that blur the distinctions between news and entertainment run the risk of diluting their brand character.TV’S BODY LINEEven gestures, a lack thereof, make headlines and multiple action replaysSALMAN’S HUG: All his Salaam-e-Ishq co-stars got a hug onstage at a fashion show, except John AbrahamCHAPPELL’S MIDDLE FINGER: The coach showed it to Ganguly supporters at Eden GardensadvertisementPONTING’S PUSH: The Aussie captain and his mates shoved Sharad Pawar off the frameUMA’S TEARS: Her tearful allegations of a murder plot at a press meet got her ratings “The day you become entertainment, you lose your credibility as a news channel,” says Channel V head Amar K. Deb, who has launched the show Well Done, a spoof on the TV news genre, with fake anchors like Charkha Bahar. MTV veejay Cyrus Broacha, who anchors another news spoof on CNN-IBN, is on his knees: “We were always the most shallow form of television and we looked up to news TV. Now, after stories of milk adulteration and casting couches, we bow to them. They are the originals.”Sometimes news TV crosses the line altogether-media persons who handed 30-year-old Manoj Mishra diesel and a matchbox in Patna to set himself on fire on August 15, now stand charged with homicide and abetment of suicide.Sometimes, it gets taken for a ride-TV crews in Delhi were shocked to discover that the ‘special police officer’ they were interviewing over a Belgian diplomat’s murder in September, was actually a local resident who did a Borat on the channels.TV reporters from the “aap ko kaisa lagta hain (how do you feel)” school of journalism routinely quiz their subjects with this line. When asked how he felt when his older brother Shammi was in the ICU, actor Shashi Kapoor retorted that he felt like dancing. Another bright-eyed reporter asked Naresh Gupta’s distraught wife if she felt like crying because her son had been kidnapped. “Vultures aren’t becoming extinct,” rues a senior TV journalist, “they are joining TV.””There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market. The challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit.” RAJ DEEP SARDESAI , EDITOR – IN – CHIEF, CNN – IBN Channel heads, however, say trivial TV is the exception and not the rule, and point to the larger crisis of content that all media faces. “There are competitive pressures and we cannot be oblivious to the market; the challenge is to avoid getting into the sandpit,” says Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN. The sandpit is the mayhem called primetime which has Hindi language channels battling to the death with stories of shock and awe.”In an average of 500 hours of fresh programming beamed every day, such incidents don’t take up even five hours or just 1 per cent of programming,” says Star News CEO Uday Shankar. Yet, it is these exceptions which supply the rocket fuel for channel ratings in an age when channel heads say the ordinary simply doesn’t sell.Matuk Nath, Julie case in Patna and Maut ka drama in MPClick here to EnlargeThe problem is no one knows what will sell. “How can we explain that even in a mature market like Delhi, the viewership of Mumbai blasts was a lot lower than that of the small boy who miraculously survived a 60-ft fall?” asks G. Krishnan, CEO, TV Today, which broadcasts Aaj Tak and Headlines Today (both sister concerns of INDIA TODAY).On December 12, 2005, Aaj Tak exposed 11 corrupt MPs accepting cash on camera in return for asking questions in Parliament, a moral victory for the traditional tenets of journalism. “Yet, when we showcased a car being driven without anyone on the driver’s seat, it drove our viewership through the roof. The car story got a channel share of 41 per cent, while Operation Duryodhan got just 35 per cent,” says Krishnan.Sameer Manchanda, joint managing director, CNN-IBN, says the media is at an evolutionary cusp which channels looking for their own evolutionary positioning. “It’s not always a numbers game-a loyal audience gets a bigger premium than a mass audience.”Indian media has turned the spotlight on the corrupt and crimesClick here to EnlargeWith channels engaged in a bloody war for ratings based on TAM, channel heads privately rue what they call the TAM-ification of news TV. “If you don’t have high ratings, you don’t have ads and if you don’t have ads, you are dead in the water as TV has no secondary revenue source,” says a channel head.Is this race sustainable? Sociologists predict the end of tamasha news. “Indian viewers are gradually learning to discern the difference between news and trivia and they are now much more critical. I only expect it to get sharper over the years,” says sociologist Ashis Nandy. Until then, it’s going to be snake chases, ghost sightings, reincarnation dramas and driverless cars.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna heaved a sigh of relief as the All India Tennis Association on Thursday allowed the duo to team up for the upcoming London Olympics after both of them adamantly refused to partner Leander Paes in the mega-event.”We are excited that we will be playing together at the Olympics and our sole focus is now on our team’s preparations for the Games,” they said in a joint statement.”We are delighted to have been nominated as a team to the Men’s Doubles event at the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The events of the last few days have been extremely challenging for all concerned, but we respect them as necessary steps in this process.”In making each of our decisions, we were guided by our strong convictions regarding what we believed was fair and we are pleased that this is reflected in the outcome. We are greatly appreciative of the support we have received from across the world,” the statement added.As far as AITA’s decision to pair up Leander with Sania Mirza for the mixed double event, Bhupathi said, “I think we need to wait till 28th (of this month) if Sania qualifies.”Obviously our first step was to go to London . We are hoping that she gets a wildcard and goes to London as well.They (AITA) told me that it depends on our performance in Wimbledon also.”In the past, both Leander and Bhupathi kept aside their differences to represent the country, but things seemed to have reached a point of no return this time around.Asked about his reluctance to partner Paes in London, the Bangalorean said, “Because I am not really only interested in playing in the Olympics, I am also interested in doing as well.”The last four times we did play but we didn’t win.Hopefully, a new combination will work out and we can do something different. I hope I can put my money where my mouth is.””There have been a lot ot of twists and turns and lot of phone calls being made (over the past few days), but I am glad that two teams are going and four of us get to experience the Olympics and give it a good shot.”Bhupathi further said that Paes should not have said a few things in the “public domain”.Bopanna felt the AITA made the right decision.”It was an extremely timely decision by them. It was not easy for them but they have made the right decision,” he said.Refusing to comment on the bickering between Paes and Bhupathi, Bopanna said that the goal was always to “fight all the way to get India a medal.”Bhupathi said they will use Wimbledon as practice ground for the Olympics.I am just happy that we are going to London and we are going to use the next one month preparing and be ready. We have been preparing for the past seven months and we can use Wimbledon as a great practice venue for the Olympics. Happy that we are over with the entire episode and can use the next 3-4 days to prepare for Wimbledon.”About Vishnu Vardhan , who has been selected to partner Paes in men’s doubles in London, Bhupathi said, “Vishnu is a dangerous player. I am really happy for him. Hopefully, it’s all settled and we can move on now. I hope for the best.”advertisement
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BOCAUE—Facing a very determined foe in a battle of attrition where neither side was willing to budge an inch, Barangay Ginebra was efficient in the stretch, and just like that, swung the pendulum of momentum its way in the PBA Governors’ Cup title series.The Gin Kings bounced back after losing the previous two games, shutting down Meralco when it mattered to pull off an 85-74 victory and take a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series before an all-time Finals record of more than 36,000 fans at Philippine Arena here.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Robredo back to ‘groping with a blind vision’ No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Slaughter challenged every shot inside and fought hard for every rebound he could get involved in, while Tenorio came back from a scoreless Game 4 to jumpstart the Ginebra offense with nine first quarter points that got off the Kings on the right foot.Ginebra built an 18-point lead but found itself in a dogfight in the third quarter with the Bolts, who connected from afar to even take the lead a couple of times.But when the going was at its toughest, Tenorio and Slaughter got all the help they needed as the Kings held Meralco to two Allen Durham free throws for more than five minutes near the end of the contest to pull away.“We just didn’t battle, we went to war,” Cone said.GINEBRA 85 – MERALCO 74GINEBRA 85—Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.MERALCO 74—Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.Quarters: 21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio, missing entities for the Kings in the last game, came out and asserted their identities early as Ginebra built an 18-point lead in the first half before finishing off the Bolts with a flurry in the endgame.But coach Tim Cone said that, at this point, they would like to think of playing just one more game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“It doesn’t win us anything, but in a best-of-three series, it’s important for us to win the first game.” Cone said. “You got to go out for a win [in this game] so you can dictate the next two games.“But our mentality right now is we want to play just one more game,” added the league’s winningest coach of all-time. “We’ll worry about Game 6 in an hour. Right now, we just want to enjoy this one.” Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Ceres, Kaya fortify bids LATEST STORIES
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games TANDUAY ALAB PILIPINAS 95 — Balkman 26, Brownlee 25, Domingo 14, Urbiztondo 13, Parks 10, Hontiveros 3, Celiz 2, Maierhofer 2.SAIGON HEAT 87 — Morgan 27, Scott 26, Esho 23, Williams 9, Arnold 2, Nguyen HPT 0.Quarters: 20-21, 42-47, 70-63, 95-87.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid MOST READ Alab Pilipinas. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netTanduay Alab Pilipinas did just enough in the clutch to hold off the Saigon Heat, 95-87, for their third straight victory in the 2018 ASEAN Basketball League Sunday at CIS Arena in Saigon.Renaldo Balkman was superb anew for the Philippine side with 26 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, four steals, and a block, while Justin Brownlee also notched a double-double with 25 markers, 15 boards on top of three dimes, a steal, and a block to lead Alab.ADVERTISEMENT Lawrence Domingo also stepped up with 14 points and four rebounds off the bench, Josh Urbiztondo got 13 markers off his 3-of-5 sniping from threes, and Bobby Ray Parks had 10 points, five boards, and two assists in the win.Alab recovered from its poor start where it stared at a 17-9 deficit, taking control of the game in the second half to grab a 64-54 lead in the third frame.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThe home team got to within three, 90-87, with a pair of free throws from Maxie Esho, before Alab ice the game at the free throw line late.Alab improved to 6-4 with three straight victories on the road. Grey steps up anew with career-high for GlobalPort Saigon, on the other hand, dropped its third straight defeat and fell to a 4-5 slate.The Filipinos now brace for Chong Son Kung Fu on Wednesday at Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex in Laguna.Moses Morgan paced the Heat with 27 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 24.4 ticks left.Akeem Scott chimed in 26 markers, seven boards, three dimes, and two steals, while Esho got 23 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim