Ian Johnson, captain in 17 of his 45 Tests for Australia in the 1940s and 1950s, writes in his introduction to journalist Bruce Harris's Ashes Triumphant 1954-5: "Today in cricket reporting, there is a trend away from the factual to the sensational. Many writers seem prepared to sacrifice their soul for a headline. In the search for 'an angle', often built on half-truths, they neglect the wants of true cricket lovers. Instead, they pander to the masses with journalistic outpourings rather than true cricket observations. I neither commend nor condemn this trend, although as a cricketer and cricket lover, I personally abhor it."
This, remember, was in the 1950s. I wonder what Johnson would have made of the media circus, especially in India, circa 2013. Not just around cricket and its illegitimate children - match and spot-fixing, questionable administrative decisions and much else - but around life, the universe and everything.
That TV news stations, by and large, thrive on the four Cs - corruption, crime, cricket and cinema - is now known even outside the newsrooms. Corruption, unless the amount is really big and the person involved is worth the effort, is not too important. It's become too everyday to be newsy anymore. Crime is always useful, especially if a young girl is involved. Cinema, well, it's always there, the gossip items - always dependable. And there's cricket. Or cricketers. It's best if a couple of them don't do well because you can criticise them endlessly. But it's even better if they are suspected of wrongdoing.