Sky has spent the last few years busily redefining what people understand by the phrase ‘abject cricket commentary’.
It’s a peculiar mix of vulgar, boring, sycophantic, miserable and deeply stupid – seemingly devised by an ad executive via late-80s Radio 1 controller with little understanding of, or fondness for, cricket.
Sky has led the way in gaudifying cricket, which is something I don’t have a problem with in the right context and if it’s done well. WWE American wrestling, for example, is brilliant at this sort of pageantry. Cricket, especially UK cricket, isn’t.
Take a look, for example, at this spot from a recent 20/20 game at a wet Hove, astonishingly described by David Lloyd using the word ‘razzamatazz’.
This looks a bit like something you might expect to see in the Carribean, only it doesn’t really work in this context. It’s a fine example of cricket people just misjudging what works in different situations in cricket.
A bronzed booty jiggling around in front of a load of bare-chested supporters in a pool in Barbados is a tad different from a wet Bank Holiday weekend on the south coast with an ass somewhere between pornographic and Carry On film being gyrated in front of three middle-class kids and their Mum, all wearing cagoules.
Here’s another example of cricket people getting it wrong. It features the hapless Nick Knight – really, what did do to deserve this? – doing some sort of cricket dance based on umpiring signals to a remix of Dreadlock Holiday.
To suggest that this doesn’t work is to radically overestimate the magnitude of how much the phrase ‘this doesn’t work’ can accurately convey how much something doesn’t work. It’s pitiful, and it beggars belief that whoever is in charge of of cricket at Sky didn’t immediately fire everyone within a ten-mile radius the first time he watched this. It’s like seeing Gordon Brown trying to convince people to vote for Labour by dancing to House of Pain.
Just how appalling it is was helpfully pointed out by the Sky commentary team yesterday, when they spent the whole day taking the piss out of it. And if the Sky cricket commentary team – the most miserable, humourless, back-stabbing, fogeyish bunch on the box – are taking the piss out of you, you really are in trouble.