Ricky Ponting’s autobiography has caused quite a stir. Most notably his candid remarks about Michael Clarke have made some ripples. Ponting must be pleased. I previously had no intention of reading his book but now I most certainly will. As soon as my daughter finishes reading the copy she was given for her birthday recently. Anyway, I guess I am not alone in having a heightened interested and sales should be good for Ricky.
It is an interesting situation. I don’t want to steal Ricky’s thunder but the short story is that Ponting had concerns about Clarke’s readiness to assume the captaincy. See the Cricinfo story http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/679155.html This was especially around the time of the dressing room incident with Simon Katich. I was particularly interested in this because Ponting validated my views expressed in my blog post “Interpreting the Brawl” http://www.dongles.org/2009/02/Interpreting-the-brawl/, written at the time. As that blog post is featured in my book that is being published later this month, I felt rather pleased about that.
As a blogger who is not particularly close to the players, I often wonder how close to the mark my observations and conclusions are. I would often like to know what is said behind closed doors. What really happened during the homework fiasco? What is the true relationship between Clarke and Watson? The biggest criticism of Ponting from former players seems not to be what Ponting said, but that he said it publicly. He broke the sanctity of dressing room confidentiality.
Late last week, Mark Taylor weighed in with some measured remarks. He wasn’t overly emotional but he did make the point that while Ponting is entitled to say what he likes, that he, Tubby, was disappointed. Tubby has written three books and has left plenty of good stuff out.
And now Warnie has come out with guns blazing. He made similar points to Taylor but in typical, emphatic, Shane Warne style. With Warne and media communication, I’m always left wondering what his agenda is. He claims that Michael Clarke is his ‘best friend’ so objectivity goes out the door right there. In addition, I definitely have the feeling that Warne thinks he should have been made captain when Ponting was. So does he enjoy having a go at Ponting because of old scores?
I remember when Warne released his list ‘50 greatest players’ and Lehman was above Steve Waugh on that list. Seriously? I would not be surprised if Warne thought he should have been made captain in 1999, or at least would have done a better job than Waugh. And once again, Warne and Lehmann are good friends. Warne often uses the media to promote his own agenda. And why not? These days, isn’t that what the media is for?
No longer do we have Newspapers: we have ‘Viewpapers’. Gone are the days when journalists could be considered ‘clerks of fact’. These days, they seems to be encouraged to be idiosyncratic and emphatic with their opinions.
And surely the code of silence of the dressing room is challenged by the era of open communication. How much communication do we see on social media that used to be private, that should be private, but is now done for all to see? One friend writes on the wall of another, “Thanks for having me over last night. It was a great night. lol” Or the poor guy who finds out on Facebook with all and sundry that he has been dumped. These things have to be said but why does it need to be done publicly?
A young opening batsmen (reasonably) takes exception to something in a newspaper and contacts the writer by… Twitter. A full on Twitter war ensues and even though the young batsmen had a fair point in the first place, he made it so badly and was so hopefully out of his depth in a public war of words, that he looked a fool.
I resist social media in many ways and these are the reasons why. I’m no expert but I do recall some points of my training in communication. One of those points was to make the message suitable for the audience. These days, it seems many people are not even discriminating about who the audience is, let alone how the message is phrased.
I look forward to reading Ricky’s book in full. I believe he does go on to say that Clarke seems to have turned out all right and he needn’t have worried after all. But that balancing factor doesn’t seem to be important in the public discussion. I might even do a review of Ricky’s book. Maybe. When I get time.