Please note: This is a humorous piece – pure fiction.
Sachin Tendulkar’s unexpected announcement about his contemplation on retirement has sent major media houses scrambling for ways to handle the colossal amount of resulting repercussions. People, process and technology are all set for a massive upheaval in the world of sports journalism.
Minutes after the statement, change requests flooded the mailbox of Trendulkar Inc., the company that designed Match Report Plus SuiteSRTM – a media software designed and customised for the fag end of Sachin Tendulkar’s career.
Released in April 2011, Match Report Plus SuiteSRTM (MRPS) is a cutting edge application that has been uniformly used by almost all cricket news providers across India – online magazines as well as reputed print establishments.
The application runs on an internal engine that processes hundreds of online cricket feeds. The parsed data is automatically put through an inbuilt module, the SRT-Bashing-Procedure, that uses latest Genetic Algorithm techniques to generate customisable anti-Tendulkar rants tailored to any match, situation, current topic or just to fill in the rare quiet days in the cricket calendar.
A towering landmark in news services automation technology, the product generates ready to use media reports that need minimum tweaking to go into print or electronic publication, complete with predicted number of hourly views, likes and tweeter shares.
Catering for the rare demands of numerical accuracy, the application also has the option of setting “Statistical accuracy required” for each generated news item on Tendulkar, enabling a minimum of minus-50% to a maximum of 15% adherence to actual facts and figures.
“It has been a huge asset in the days of exponentially growing demand for news that borders on Goebbelsian propaganda. Especially with the very few qualified journalists struggling to meet the enormous requirements,” a spokesman for a major news agency said tonight.
MRPS has been instrumental in generating approximately 2,73,850 media reports per day on the Tendulkar’s retirement issue since May 2011.
However, this sudden announcement against the run of play has queered the pitch for the news vendors.
“The announcement has swayed the emotions and the application has to be severely tweaked to continue to generate reports without compromising on TRP,” a source close to Trendulkar Inc. informed us. “There will have to be recalibration of the Statistical Range, hitching it up to nearly 40% accuracy – beyond that will jar a bit too much with deep rooted perceptions. The randomising and truth transposing modules will have to take be toned down. Additionally, hashtags such as #selfish will have to be replaced by #respect.”
The amount of hard-coding makes the changes difficult, but our Trendulkar Inc. contact refused to admit errors in design. “We were working on a quick, optimal solution given the almost eternal Indian appeal for abusing their greatest cricketers. Exception handling was not a primary requirement.”
The changes, though, have to be made quickly. Trendulkar Inc. is hopeful that all the lines of program will not go to waste. “Some of the denigration code can be readily reused for MS Dhoni, and the rest can be shelved for a couple of years till Virat Kohli establishes himself further.”
On the other hand, media houses are toying with the idea of hiring consulting companies like Accenture or McKinsey to help them with the resulting change management.
“Our training departments have entire courses on Sachin Tendulkar Ridiculing Techniques, and 80% of the young sports journalists have been made to go through the curriculum rigorously,” informed R. Vaishampayan, the CEO of Digi-Media Group. “The announcement has put us off our orbits for sure. Along with the journalists, the training workforce also has to re-skill themselves.”
Mr. Vaishampayan also admitted that dark days lay ahead for cricket journalists. “Once the man actually retires, the entire field of Indian sports journalism will need to reinvent itself.”
(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)
NB: The above article is pure fiction.