Memo Fox and Seven: Choose your commentary team wisely

Bill Peters Roar Rookie

By Bill Peters, Bill Peters is a Roar Rookie

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    The change of Australia’s televised cricket coverage means not only can we hope to see new technologies and techniques, but there is the chance to wipe the slate clean when it comes to commentary and revive the lost artform.

    After 40 years of listening to the Channel Nine commentary team, which has moved from the revered to the reviled over recent years, we can now expect to see a whole slew of new faces gracing our screens as both Foxtel and Channel Seven roll out their respective commentary teams for Test matches, the Big Bash and women’s internationals.

    Everyone has their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t, and who is worth listening to and who is in the ‘James Brayshaw’ category of commentary.

    Should there be two people in the ‘comm box’ or should there be three? How much video and statistical analysis do we need as viewers to enjoy the game? Do we need to hear about the ‘old boys’ stories between commentators when the cricket on the screen should be speaking for itself?

    One wonders if any of the Channel Nine commentators will survive into the new era on either network. One also wonders will the viewing public care?

    Mark Nicholas would appear likely to pick up a role, and the universal worshipping of Shane Warne will probably see him involved. Ian Chappell and Michael Slater do gigs overseas, as does Michael Clarke, but both Mark Taylor and Ian Healy have rarely ventured away from their summer jobs, while Bill Lawry may finally move into retirement.

    All these commentators have been subject to criticism of their style in recent times, and a complete change will be a breath of fresh air.

    Both networks will likely need two commentary teams, especially when the Test matches and Big Bash games are scheduled on the same day and evening. Given the success of the coverage and commentary of the BBL in recent years by the team at Ten, you would expect that Damien Fleming, Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting will be picked up.

    The ability to mix these commentators into the Tests and ODI coverage as well will give the game a fresh sound and outlook, which can only be a benefit.

    But beware Foxtel and Seven – the choices you make now will severely affect how popular your coverage is in the future.

    Both networks need to heed the public outcry in recent times on the state of the commentary, and ensure the proper people and protocols are in place before the season begins. A return to the Benaud doctrine of ‘if you can’t improve on what is on the screen, say nothing’ should be at the forefront of any discussion. Needless dribble between balls is not necessary.

    The choice of commentators is paramount, not just utilising who they already have on contract. Seven deciding to use Bruce McAvaney and James Brayshaw would be a disaster. Foxtel pushing some of their network stars would be a similar problem. Foxtel already has some good people, such as Allan Border, in place, and perhaps even an experienced host in Gerard Whateley, depending on his contract obligations with SEN.

    Whatever direction our new cricket networks choose, their commentary teams are arguably the most important decision. Hopefully both networks will consider the public’s opinion and, much like Indiana Jones when in his pursuit of the one true Grail, they will choose wisely.

    For the record, I am interested and can be contacted at any time.

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    The Crowd Says (41)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 7:00am
      i miss the force said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      No Brayshaw, KP and Clarke. they are my only requests.
      do networks do surveys to see who the public enjoy? i am sure Channel 9 didnt

      • April 16th 2018 @ 9:27am
        Pedro The Fisherman said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        No AB either. If Australia is running the show he will have nobody to agree with (incessantly).

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:25pm
        Keeper said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

        No clarke or Nicholas

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Ryan H said | April 19th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Surely Brayshaw is every chance though to be part of the Channel 7 setup given he is calling AFL on there now?

    • April 16th 2018 @ 8:00am
      qwetzen said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      ” much like Indiana Jones when in his pursuit of the one true Grail…”

      eh? Wasn’t Indy after the Ark of the Covenant? It was King Arthur who went looking for the Holy Bail…

      Incidentally, Arthur became captain of the Camelot XI by pulling a microphone out of a rock.

      The mixing of metaphors could be much Fun.

      “Now listen — Drunken tv execs staggering around bars distributing microphones is no basis for forming a top class commentary team…”

      • April 16th 2018 @ 8:29am
        Glen said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        IJ and the Last Crusade was the holy grail one.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 6:38am
          qwetzen said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:38am | ! Report

          Ta. You’re correct. (I don’t recall it all.)

      • April 19th 2018 @ 3:03am
        The Anti-Don Freo said | April 19th 2018 @ 3:03am | ! Report

        Supreme TV cricket commentary derives from using insightful ex-players not from some farcical popularity contest…

    • April 16th 2018 @ 9:02am
      Ken said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      Gerard Whately ??? Now I know you are joking !

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am
      JamesH said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      Gee Brayshaw gets a hammering doesn’t he? Sure, he’s no one’s favourite commentator but there are worse. Heals and the ‘Bowlologist’ come to mind.

      I was listening to Sandy Roberts on Fox Footy for the first time in ages and the guy hasn’t improved behind the microphone. Just kept getting his calls wrong. Too much silky smoothness and not enough content; sort of the commentary equivalent of elevator music.

      My first choices for the main rotations would be Punter, Whateley and Gilly, with a guest commentator from the touring side. Skull in small doses for comic relief. I can’t really think of anyone from the Nine team I’d miss.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 16th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Bunney said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Brayshaw gets hammered for a reason.

        There are a number of Ch9 commentators who drive me batty with their inane diatribes – SLATER, TAYLOR, KP – but Brayshaw was the worst.

        There are plenty of decent guys out there – in the live stream of the Shield final, they had ex-Qld players Peter George, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Cutting, Chris Hartley and their insights into both the Qld team and the competition were excellent. They would probably come out with dull dross like the rest of them if they had to it for 5+ years straight though!

      • April 16th 2018 @ 5:47pm
        jameswm said | April 16th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

        I can’t see why Brendon Julian would be inappropriate for the anchor role. He does fine on the cricket with Fox.

        Punter and Gilly agreed. And Fox will involve 1-2 women too.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 9:19am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Ponting is the best. Lawrence Mooney as Malcolm Turnbull is an absolute must.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 9:53am
      E-Meter said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Kerry O’Keefe

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