What a story.
There is a young gentleman in his forties who has changed cricket, the way it was played and watched.
There is a young minister in his early fifties known more for his tweets and now a pretty friend than his game-changing meetings with delegations from Congo and Senegal.
And there is a franchise of young investors being pummeled by a ruthless bunch of political heavyweights.
The war broke on twitter, with an angry post – called tweet – by Lalit Modi.
He out the holdings in one of the two franchises sold recently.
This was against the confidentiality agreement binding on him.
For a day, there was a stunning silence from all sides. And the Kochi team owners, who only have a franchise now but no team or players, said nothing.
The second day, the Kochi franchise announced it was suing Modi.
We at Hindustan Times – actually me – did not quite fathom the story, which went as an anchor, the story right at the bottom of Page One.
It was not as if I didn’t realize the importance of the story completely. It was first slotted for the second lead position, and then for some reason – isn’t one of the Murphy’s Laws about the inevitability of failure – pushed it down.
Next morning, I did not know where to hide.
My morning jog was a listless one.
How did I miss the significance of the story?
The decision was mine, and I felt terrible.
It’s a terrible situation to be in, believe me. A bad call such as this can be very embarrassing, and once it’s out there on the stands and in homes, nothing can undo it. You have to live with it.
The only way to deal with it is to come back with something better.
And we did: Modi’s relatives among IPL owners.
He was not exactly hiding them. But he did try and shine in comparison by making a case against Tharoor, implying latter’s friend Sunanda Pushkar was fronting for him.
We made up for the bad display of the previous day. And we were now in the thick if it. And the day after we were even better. Almost the entire Kochi franchise gave us interviews, separately.
Sometimes, it helps to start badly on the story. But I don’t ever want to be the one starting badly because it’s a terrible feeling to be staring at a page that has BEATEN written all over it.
There was one other memorable occasion when we failed to react, and it was again about cricket. But please don’t get me wrong, I am passionate about the game, and have watched every single match played by India.
The last bad miss was about trouble between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell. Sourav let it out at a press conference during a tour of Zimbabwe in 2005.
After a century to end a bad run with the bat, he said to a stunned bunch of reporters that just that morning he had been asked to step down as captain. He did not say who asked him.
We put the story inside.
The next morning, I felt like calling in sick.
Most other papers had gone to town with it, and rightly.
That was another horrible morning.