As a cricket fan, one knew of anything and everything that happened on the field. But, as one should know, that there are several men behind the picture who make things happen off the field for the players. One such man is Jonathan Rose, Chief of Media Operations for Cricket Australia and also the Media Manager with the current touring side. Cricketfundas.com’s Venkat caught up with Jonathan at the Team Hotel and this is what he had to say.
Jonathan, you are the “Media Manager” of the Aussie team, can I know about the roles and responsibilities to be played by the Media Manager of a cricket team?
Well, a role of the media manager is to be the link between the team and the media and someone who does the balancing act. I am also responsible for giving the media an access to the team. Besides this, my work also includes deciding itinerary, working with the support staff (team management) and ensure that the players are well updated about the ongoing happenings in World Cricket.
The Aussies are known to be media-friendly as compared to us. Is this supposed to have any impact on the team’s on-field performance?
Being media-friendly is and has been a part of the Australian culture. Thus, it is expected that the players are accessible to the media. One of my important responsibilities is to see that the Media does not jeopardize the team’s on-field performance.
Do you think that communication in sport is important, especially in today’s day and age ?
Undoubtedly. I feel that communication is important to channelise information, so that rumours remain rumours. It also brings in transparency. Through the media, there is a quick communication of the information and I feel that more than all these factors, accuracy is the most important. Being accurate is all communication in sports must thrive for. For Eg: The news of Ricky Ponting’s thumb injury should reach Australia as soon as possible so that an alternate arrangement can be made, at the same time, it should be well confirmed and corrected before sending it.
If you were to be the media manager of the Indian team, how would you go about the job in hand? And can you also throw some light about the media scenario in India and assess the positives and negatives?
According to me, its pretty hard to make a judgment as I have not worked with the Indians and I don’t know their work ethics and since I am not used to that atmosphere. Yes, but since the game has a lot of following in India, the media is extremely powerful in terms of quantity. And this in turn gives an ample amount of communication opportunity.
Do you feel that professionalism in administration automatically creeps into professionalism within the team ?
Yes. Undoubtedly, professionalism is an important factor in cricket these days. Well, its got its own advantages. It helps the players prepare for the matches with more discipline, punctuality is ensured. And a team like Australia, which is regarded as the World’s Best today, deserves a professional administration.
Now that the Indian team is partly depleted (without Sachin and Balaji) and still out of form, do the Aussies smell a victory even before the series has begun ? And well considering the performances in Sri Lanka, will this be the time to write a new chapter in Australian Cricket ?
No. I wouldn’t say so. But yes, we are well prepared for this tour, having been through the sub-continent like never before. We played the Sri Lankans early this year, before that the TVS Cup in India, and not to forget the Pakistan series in 2002 and hence our players have gained more and more exposure to these conditions. So, I’d like to put it this way that we are ready to meet the challenge against the Indians.
What importance does this series hold for the Aussies. With titles like the “Unofficial World Test Championships” being given to it, how would you like to compare it with the Ashes – the oldest battle in Test Cricket?
I think that the India Vs Australia series was built up in a dramatic fashion or rather sensationalized. It’s a series between two of the top test teams. But we have maintained a position that it is not a be all and an end all for us. I would like to quote Adam Gilchrist, who said that “Lets not compare this series with the Ashes because its developed its own charm”.
Jonathan, this is one question I would like to ask you. Now that Glenn McGrath is 34 and Shane Warne is 35 and it looks as if they will last not more than a season or two, is there some rare talent somewhere that is ready to fill the not-so-easy shoes of McGrath and Warnie ?
I would like to call these players a “once in a generation” players. There is in fact a lot of depth in talent in Australia and exposure is given to them with the Under-19 or First Class matches and the ‘A’ tours. We also got some good prospects like Shaun Tait. Also the fact that we have earmarked and selected certain players for this series like – Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Nathan Hauritz and Cameron White for the future should give you an idea of the talent and faith we have in them.
I want to know if in Australia, there have been certain schools of captaincy. For Eg: Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and now Ricky Ponting?
Yes. It’s true that we have had captains who had their own style of functioning. I wouldn’t like to make a comment on Ricky Ponting at this stage because he’s young into the Test Captain’s job and he’s started off well and yes, the team is likely to do well under Punter than the others may be, because of his leadership qualities.