Breaking the bargain

nasty review of P.V. Sindhu’s performance at the World Badminton Championships by Sandip Sarkar for the Hindustan Times:

In the last one year, Sindhu has played 17 matches that stretched to the third game. She won 10 and lost seven. Six of those seven losses have come against players who were unseeded or seeded below her. A top-5 player of the world certainly has to have a better record than that.

Take Spain’s Carolina Marin for example. Just two years older than Sindhu, Marin comes from a country with no recognisable heritage in badminton. But she won gold at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, following it up with gold at Rio 2016.

Okuhara had come well-prepared for the final. By being drawn into long rallies, Sindhu lost the plot, drained her reserves of energy and finally went down on the big points. PV Sindhu is undoubtedly one of top sportspersons of our country but till she does a Marin or a Okuhara, she will not be pure gold standard.

… all as if to suggest Sindhu was taking the tournament easy and hadn’t done her homework. To be disappointed with a sportsperson’s performance is one thing but to complain that she didn’t do her best is quite another.

Sarkar has failed to keep up the other end of the bargain: if sportspersons are expected to treat journalists with dignity, then journalists must treat sportspersons like the professionals that they are instead of accusing them of wilfully underperforming. I also feel that Sarkar’s assessment is especially out of place because Sindhu won the silver at the championships, in the sort of tight game that could likely have spit out a different outcome if played a second time. So I wholeheartedly agree with Mahesh Bhupathi when he says…