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Monday, November 27, 2006

Aged men a trois: how the media reported the Test

# Channel Nine has so many commentators available (including R Benaud, I Chappell, I Healy, M Nicholas, W Lawry, S O'Donnell, M Slater, M Taylor, P Tufnell) that they've been rostered in threesomes.

# Stephanie. Channel Nine has also, for the first time in more than 20 years, engaged a woman, Stephanie Brantz to support the aforementioned males. Stephanie will not, at least at this stage, join the men in what Richie Benaud used to call "the central commentary position" but has a roving commission conducting interviews with celebrities (loosely described) , oddballs and others during the dull patches of play.

# The ABC radio commentary is mostly reliably straight up and down medium pace apart from Kerry O'Keefe's manic, provocative or incisive (and sometimes all three) contributions. The ABC cricket website has plenty of photos and chit chat but no scorecard.

The two best gaffes that I heard were on the ABC: Quentin Hull copped a string of expletives from a well-lubricated English supporter he was interviewing; and Jonathan Agnew commented on pie stains on Peter Roebuck's jacket, to which the sometime Somerset captain replied frostily that the said garment had just been returned from the laundry.

# The BBC cricket website is much more comprehensive than the ABC's. The only criticism I have is that in Australia we can't listen to the Test Match Special commentary on the internet.

# Many other print media outlets are offering video reports of one kind of another: they're almost all long on talking heads or demos of how to bat, bowl or field and short on footage of the actual play. An example is one featuring CMJ of The Times. The News of the World's coverage includes a very elderly-looking and uncharacteristically hesitant Richie Benaud. Blame the camera operator?

# For the depth and breadth of its online coverage Cricinfo remains an essential reference. Check its complete scorecard which has a handy summary of significant developments during the game.

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