Media monitor: An off-Monday for voice, vision and print? You’re kidding!

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India’s Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane’s all-formats skipper, has often called him by that nickname in post-match interviews. But since he has made a splash or two in the Indian Premier League and occasionally been a stand-out performer for the Indians over the last few years, Kohli’s handful of familiar references to the middle-order batsman is really of no consequence.

How on earth can anyone whose job it is to report on international sport not know how to pronounce the name of a player who has, since 2011, played 56 Tests and 90 ODIs for India?

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But on the 6.15pm sportscast yesterday, i95.5FM’s Roxanne Gialdo informed us that, leading the Indians in the three-day warm-up match against West Indies A, which had ended in a tame draw, ‘Ayinkya Rah-hayne’ had scored a half-century.

I kid you not.

To his credit, the indefatigably garrulous James Saunders made no mistake with the stand-in Indian captain’s name during the TV6 news later that evening. However, he ended the story on the three-day game this way: “The real thing begins tomorrow with the first ball at 9.30am.”

And then, moving right along to the next item, he had this to say: “Well, the West Indies and India start their two-match Test series on Thursday from 9.30am.” With a straight face.

I kid you not.

Earlier in the sportscast, reporting on the water polo tournament currently taking place at the Aquatic Centre in Balmain, he had shared this bit of news about the local age-group teams: “The boys and girls were defeated respectively.”

I kid you not.

Frankly, the less said about Saunders, the better. Someone in authority at TV6 had better let him know that the less said by him during the sportscast, the better.

Last week, for instance, after closing one news item with a sound bite from the captain of one of the female age-group teams, he segued to the next with this line: “From a pretty woman to …” something or other.

Photo: James Saunders (via Facebook)

I kid you not.

And the ‘live’, spontaneous stuff is not the only area where there are problems. A long-running promo for the Lawless One’s Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sports programmes every night invites us to share with him the “most insighting sports questions”.

It’s enough to incite to violence those with a genuine concern for education.

I am certain the i95.5FM sports bulletin that daily follows the noon newscast carried a report on the Ashes Test which ended in a draw on Sunday. England’s heroes were the in-form Ben Stokes with the bat and, with the ball, newbie left-arm orthodox spinner Jack Leach and the increasingly redoubtable pacer Jofra Archer.

No trouble at all for Don Lee, Gialdo’s partner-in-crime—fortunately, nomenicide, butchering people’s names, is not yet on Gary Griffith’s list. After all these years, the Don still can’t get Manchester United’s David De Gea’s or Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s name right.

Archer showed that Steve Smith, the seemingly unflappable scorer of two centuries in the First Test, could indeed be flapped and Travis Head had to step up and help spare Australia blushes with a fighting, unbeaten 42. Still no trouble for the Don.

Had I not had other midday fish to fry, my sense is that I would have been an earwitness to a nomenicide. Australia’s real second innings hero was the ground-breaking middle-order batsman who replaced Smith in the team.

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His name? Marnus Labuschagne.

The editor on the Sports Desk was not at his best either. The Ashes story says that Labuschagne, (pronounced LAH BOO SHANE) “replacing Steve Smith as Test cricket’s first substitute, made 59 …” The scoreboard, however, informs us that there were four batsmen still “To bat: PM Siddle, JR Hazelwood, NM Lyon and SPD Smith”!

Three captions appear on Page 26 of the same paper. One, slugged SWORDPLAY, reads thus: “Wearing historical costumes and armament, history enthusiasts perform a fight during the Ancestors’ Day Festival.” Another, slugged LEADING THE HERO, tells us that “History enthusiasts perform a nomadic parade during the festival.”

I think they raise serious questions about linguistic proficiency. “… perform a fight”? “… perform a parade”? Surely somebody who should know better is performing the ass!

Additionally, the Express’ editorial ends with this sentence: “This is why we urge Commissioner Griffith against jumping to conclusions and to allowing the facts to emerge by due process.”

I kid you not.

And what about Alicia Boucher lamenting the passing of a media colleague on the 7pm news? Was it her grief that blinded her to the contorted structure of her opening sentence? Or was it a deliberate attempt to capture in some convoluted way the meaninglessness of the loss of a life randomly hewn down by the Grim Reaper’s scythe?

Photo: Alicia Boucher (via

The editor must have taken the latter view because this is what Boucher was allowed to say: “The person on camera doing things and experiencing life and having fun to the fullest isn’t something Justin Dookhi did for show.”

I kid you not.

Sport, we must conclude, is not the only area of weakness. But, given the quality of sports reporters and commentators we have had in recent times, starting with the much-ballyhooed one(s) on the superlative station—no names necessary—are we not truly fortunate that our sportsmen and women contrive to produce their best on the world stage?

Really, it would come as no surprise if they were all manifestly jinxed.

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About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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