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Broadcaster's 'rib tickling' irks Team India coach Duncan Fletcher

Friday, 13 December 2013 - 7:08am IST | Place: Johannesburg | Agency: DNA

The South Africans are loving it. Watching their team pummel MS Dhoni & Co. is giving them a lot of joy. And SuperSport, the local broadcaster, is joining the fun. Not anymore, perhaps.

In an uneasy turn of events, Team India coach Duncan Fletcher gave the Vukile Majola, junior producer, SuperSport, a dressing down during the innings break of the third ODI in Centurion.
Why? Because the channel was repeatedly showing footage of Virat Kohli getting hit on the rib-cage by a Morne Morkel bouncer in the first ODI of the series. The report first appeared in www.wisdenindia.com.

Wednesday’s match was called off after rain played spoilsport. South Africa posted 301/8 before thunderstorms hit Centurion. India did not face even a ball and because there was no scope of live action, the played out recordings of the visiting batsmen’s struggles in the series opener.

Kohi, clearly the world’s most prolific ODI batsman, was shown nursing his wounds with an ice-pack. The channel also showed the right-hander practising the pull –– a shot he couldn’t execute to perfection on that delivery –– during a net session before the game. What’s more, the broadcaster rubbed it in by captioning the sequence: ‘Kohli – softened up’.

The report added that the Indian team management sent for the SuperSport official. Once in their change room, he was asked for an explanation, and blasted for ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and ‘disrespect’. He was also ordered to ‘stick to the cricket’ in future.

When contacted, Team India media manager Dr RN Baba first refuted the claims. He then contacted dna and said this: “Yes, it is true that the channel’s director was called to the dressing room. But all we asked for were the clips of our bowlers in the series. There was no controversy whatsoever,” he said.

Clinton van der Berg, communications manager, SuperSport, said, “I’m not sure what SuperSport did wrong. We are in the business of producing good television. We reflected what occurred and there was a genuine storyline there. It sounds like good television to me.”

Wonder what Fletcher thinks.

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