Cricket viewing for all

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

For the many cricket fans who can’t be at the Bay Oval to see the Black Caps verses England action unfold, the alternatives are Sky Television or the or the old fashioned way of catching the live action by way of radio commentary. 

Both television and radio rely on the knowledge of the game by the match commentators and their ability to turn what they see, into a meaningful reflection, of what happening in the middle.

The two mediums require different skills with the television commentators using their knowledge of the game to enhance what the viewer can see.

The radio commentators need to paint a picture in the mind of the listeners so as they can visualise the action. 

New Zealand is well served with excellent cricket commentators.

On Sky television, former Black Cap wicketkeeper Ian Smith and Mark Richardson, have been around for a long time and are both knowledgeable about the game and excellent communicators.

The more recent additions to the Sky team complement Smith and Richardson and draw upon their experiences in the middle to entertain and inform. 

During international cricket tours of our country, Sky usually intersperses local commentary with commentators from the visiting country. England has produced some gems over the years going back to Henry Blofeld.

"Blowers" whose trademark dress was the bow tie, was both witty and knowledgably with a crisp and clear voice.

Today version of Henry Blofeld is David Lloyd known to all as "Bumble". Funny to the point of bringing tears to one’s eyes, he is also an incredible knowledgeable student of the game. 

Radio Sport men with the microphone, in Bryan Waddle and Jeremy Coney, seem to have been around forever.

They are both precise with their words and the summary of the action in the middle.

Many at the Bay Oval on Wednesday while have their earphones in, as they watch the action, while listening to the Waddle and Coney and their team waxing lyrical about the game. 

It was interesting during the recent Under 19 Cricket World Cup to watch and hear the different styles of cricket commentary.

The Under 19 commentary team were a who's who of former greats of the game.

They provided unbiased commentary in a positive manner with plenty of praise for the skills displayed from players from both sides. 

The Pakistan tour at the same time as the U19 CWC, provided plenty of banter on the Sky commentary bench with lots of advice to the players in the middle.

Contrast that with the cricket commentators across the ditch who make an art form of bagging the Australia opposition.  

While it is easy to bag our sports commentators, this writer says, as one who has picked up a microphone to call boxers into the ring for many years - don't criticise if you haven't done it yourself. 


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