Television

TV channels to petition Pawar on 'cricketer-speak' ban

MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: Indian cricket just doesn't seem to get off the limelight.

Now, various TV channels will be meeting Indian cricket bosses over a ban on individual players doing special shows and interviews on telly.

"We are slated to meet Sharad Pawar (president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India) tomorrow on the issue and discuss the futility of such a ban at a time when a cricket series is about to begin," Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of the newly launched CNN-IBN news channel, told Indiantelevision.com today.

According to Sardesai, whose father Dilip Sardesai represented India innumerable times in the 1960s and 1970s on the cricket field, the timing of the ban is wrong.

CNN-IBN signed a deal with ace spinner Anil Kumble for special interviews as part its cricket dispatches from Pakistan. It has also roped in cricketing legend Kapil Dev and Imran Khan for a cricket show.

"If the BCCI wants to put such clamps on cricketers, it should do it with a prospective effect for future series. It should not be done just before a series is beginning and TV channels have concluded agreements with several players," he adds, outlining the line of argument that would be taken by channels in their meeting with cricket officials.

The Indian cricket team is presently in Pakistan, warming up to the local conditions before the big duel with its arch-rival, which always is a big draw in the Indian subcontinent for the public and sponsors.

Media reports indicate that before the tour started, cricketers like Harbhajan Singh, Kumble and Virender Sehwag had entered into deals with Aaj Tak, CNN-IBN and Channel7, respectively for special and extra sound bytes.

However, reports also say the Indian players were issued letters by the BCCI a day before they left for Pakistan barring them to do such activities, putting some in a quandary.

Such measures, as pointed out by a senior cricket official of the media committee, are part of BCCI's efforts to "regulate" mushrooming TV interviews and signed articles in newspapers by cricketers.

But critics counter-punch that these measures are nothing more than gagging cricketers from expressing their minds on cricket and cricket-related affairs, which have a penchant for becoming controversial. Especially when millions of rupees are involved.

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