It probably wouldn’t be easy telling a joke straight after Peter Kay, or attempting a 20 foot putt after Jordan Spieth.
It’s the same problem trying to follow Sky Sports’ peerless cricket coverage so there is some sympathy with BT Sport who, most irritatingly as it happens, snapped up the rights to the current Ashes series.
But my goodness they have made a pig’s ear of it, which shouldn’t be that much of a surprise as they are the station who believed Robbie Savage would make a good football pundit and who employ some of the worst football co-commentors in the history of that blighted and unnecessary role.
BT set their Ashes tone straight away by giving Ricky Ponting and Michael Vaughan the mic for the first few overs of the first Test at Brisbane. After six balls my ears were hurting after listening to Vaughan rabbit on and on and on like that Duracell battery bunny.
I wouldn’t mind if he had something interesting or informative to say, but the former England captain seemed to believe he was talking to people who had never watched a game of cricket in their lives.
Actually Michael most of us watching will have played the game often enough to know what a slow pitch behaves like, what a ‘good leave’ looks like and that you once skippered England to a famous Ashes victory. And was it written in the terms of the broadcast that James Vince is compared to Vaughan at every opportunity?
Vaughan also managed to shoehorn irrelevant references to his wife into his perpetual wittering, but his own standing did improve once Graeme Swann took over commentary.
Oh my lord what a buffoon, BT have signed up.
There is nothing worse than a man with an inflated opinion of his own comedic value and Swann is that man, even though he’s said nothing remotely humorous since explaining to a court he’d been forced to drive his Porsche to Asda to buy a screwdriver to rescue a cat stuck under some floorboards.
Blokey banter is Swann’s forte and it’s cringeworthy rather than clever, inane rather than entertaining. Naturally he also managed to namecheck his wife in a rather dull way.
The obsession with shots of the in-ground swimming pool also grated as did Geoffrey Boycott’s advocation of batsmen playing no shots and a run rate of under two an over.
The Sky Sports team have cricket commentary down to an art form. Only speak when necessary, don’t insult the viewer’s intelligence and don’t employ giant egos capable of running away from difficult tours at the halfway stage.
BT Sport broadcast to a small audience which might actually be a good thing given their coverage is likely to make followers turn to the outstanding Test Match Special radio commentary, or switch it off altogether to go to sleep.
England’s capitulation at the first sign of any heat will have a similar effect.