Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dislikes, prejudice and overuse

The flap over at Cricinfo about Dileep Premchandran's article titled, rather cutely, Anyone but Little England, is a bit stunning. When I read Premchandran's piece, I was a little surprised by its content and tone. A little more humor would have helped, given his position at Wisden Cricinfo. After all, he wanted to go on a little rant about how English teams over the years have turned him off, for reasons ranging from the political to the cricketing (not much in between though). This needed to be artfully cloaked in the kind of satirical wit that is necessary to deflect charges of prejudice. Which he is, but everyone has theirs, and his came through as totally benign. But the response to it, accusing him of racism, is way over the top, and Premchandran's response is adequate (though he is backpedalling when he does the "Some of my best friend's are..." defense).

The problem is that Premchandran wanted to make a large point, one that needs careful argument, and lots of careful pulling apart of strands like, why Indians dislike English teams, and love Australian ones, and what the reports from England, of prejudice against Indians living there, have done over the years to influence Indian opinions about England (not to mention the way the English press has treated Indian cricket over the years). But Premchandran is part of the establishment now; Cricinfo is very establishment indeed, and he should have known that a careless riff like this was going to get him into trouble. As a letter from a fan, it would have meant nothing. As a Wisden editor, brother!

My main problem with Premchandran is literary as can be seen above. Furthermore, why does he continue to overuse the word "coruscating"? Some judicious googling will show you just what I mean. Give it a rest already.


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