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Rabbit rabbit

Comments Off on Rabbit rabbit 06 December 2017

Rabbit rabbit

Finally, I bowed to curiosity and watched highlights of the second Ashes test between Australia and England. There were few highlights for England fans but plenty for Australians. The absolute lowlight was the commentary.

In the opinion of this humble blogger, the greatest TV cricket commentator of them all was Richie Benaud. No one ever came close. He knew the game inside out and was able to explain it all to your average Joe, like me. And he had eight golden rules for commentating:

Never ask for a statement.

Remember the value of a pause.

There are no teams in the world called “we” or “they”.

Avoid cliches and banalities, such as “he’s hit that to the boundary”, “he won’t want to get out now”, “of course”, “as you can see on the screen”.

The Titanic was a tragedy, the Ethiopian drought a disaster, and neither bears any relation to a dropped catch.

Put your brain into gear before opening your mouth.

Concentrate fiercely at all times.

Above all, don’t take yourself too seriously, and have fun.

BT Sport’s team failed in almost every department.

For one thing, there are so many commentators. In the old days on BBC TV, there were two commentators – Benaud and Jim Laker – and no summarisers. It worked perfectly well. BBC’s legendary Test Match Special on the radio required more commentators, most of whom were professional broadcasters, and they employed expert summarisers to comment between overs. BT Sport, in common with Sky, has an enormous team of commentators and they are not very good.

BT’s commentators are not very good because they talk incessantly. The female commentator, Alison Mitchell, plainly knows her cricket but doesn’t know when to stop talking about it. If the ball goes to the boundary, she tells us it’s gone to the boundary. If someone hits a good shot, she will announce that it was a “good shot”. If the bowler bowls a short delivery which troubles the batsman, she will tell us what we have already seen. She is not alone – Geoffrey Boycott and Ricky Ponting conducted a continuous discussion when the game was going on – and I say this not because she is a woman, but it drove me mad after a very short while. Precious little insight, plenty of stating the bleeding obvious. Why tell me what I can already see? If I want a more detailed commentary, I can put the radio on.

It was clear that none of BT’s commentators had read Benaud’s golden rules. It was a tiresome riot of cliches and banalities, they did not know what a pause meant, desperately trying to fill every gap with endless waffle, and concentration levels went through the floor.

Nice pictures, nice cricket but as for the commentary: shut up!

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