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Ajit Wadekar’s demise severely underplayed as TRPs rule media

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India have always been a poor traveller when it comes to cricket. Having played a lot of Tests — both home and away — India never won a Test series abroad till 1971 when they trumped England at their own backyard under Ajit Wadekar’s captaincy. That way, the former Mumbai captain actually taught India how to win abroad.

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Not only winning a Test in England, Wadekar in the same year managed to beat the mighty West Indies in the Caribbean islands which was thought to be near impossible in those days. The West Indies of that period is considered to be arguably the best side ever to have played Test cricket. Under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd, the team boasted of players likes Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards along with pace battery of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Sylvester Clarke et al.

So, rational thinking would have given the credit to Wadekar as he deserved more than what he got. More so, when the stalwart died on India’s 72nd Independence Day. The news of Wadekar’s demise got buried in inside pages of most of the frontline print media publications with little or no coverage on television. This was mainly to accommodate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech and another former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s deteriorating health on that very day.

Yes, both Vajpayee and Modi were important fixtures of the day but at the same time Wadekar also couldn’t be undermined for the sole reason that he died on a special day which we Indians celebrate with much aplomb. The fact that he was the man under whom we won our maiden Test series against a country which ruled us for two centuries at their own backyard speaks volumes about his achievement. So, Wadekar’s demise on 15 August 2018 could have been much more talked-about than it turned out to be.

It’s understood that the TRPs and commercial interests are of utmost importance but it shouldn’t be the sole criterion in the fourth estate which is a regular practice these days. Media’s one-eyed behaviour is nothing new but it has become blatant of late and the latest ones are Vajpayee and M Karunanidhi’s passing away. During these days, it seemed nothing else happened in the country to be covered.

Even the way Sridevi’s accidental death was made to enact on prime time shows on pretext of investigating journalism was something that showed the Indian media in poor light. There have been several other instances where the media went overboard just to score brownie points on the TRP charts.

As a consequence, Wadekar became a victim of media’s apathy as his death coincided with ‘more’ important matters on that very date. It’s the current trend in Indian media and if it walks the path that it is at present, then sooner than later media will cease to be the fourth estate in the world’s largest democracy. Also, the word ‘democracy’ would only be confined to books and not in reality.

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