My Mentor: Peter Oborne on Mihir Bose
'He took us to India to play cricket on many occasions'
Monday 22 January 2007
In 1985 I was unemployed and desperately seeking a job in journalism. I started to write the odd piece for the newspaper Financial Weekly, which was owned by Robert Maxwell and I was asked to apply for a reporter's job. I went to meet Mihir Bose and the features editor Jeff Randall in the City Golf Club, a bar, and all we talked about was the forthcoming Test series.
That Saturday morning the phone rang and it was Bose. He said: "Would you like to play cricket next Sunday and would you like a job?" I said yes to both and fell off my seat. Getting my first job in journalism was a very important moment. Bose and Jeff Randall appeared to write most of the paper and I have never enjoyed myself as much in all my life.
I found myself reporting on company results and while I never had the faintest delusion that I deserved to get the job, we muddled along, breaking lots of stories and creating enormous mischief. Bose was a very relaxed, imperious figure in the office who constantly cadged small cigars off Randall and approached deadline with an almost Buddhist calm.
He was extremely mysterious in that you never knew who his contacts were or how he got these stories. He is also a remarkably civilised and well-read individual. You could have discussions with him about art and history and philosophy. He was constantly writing biographies and books and he had an enduring ability to ruffle feathers.
He was reporting football matches for The Sunday Times and he ran a cricket team, the Bose 11. He took us to India on many occasions where he proved a fantastic organiser. Bose had this great art of turning up with Test cricketers. You would find yourself on your way to some windblown, dogshit-strewn ground sharing a grotty taxi with someone like Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, one of the great spin bowlers of all time.
Mihir Bose is the BBC's sports editor. Peter Oborne is an author and political commentator
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