Thursday, 22 May 2014

Women's Cricket on TMS

I know I am a Grumpy Old Man. My children tell me the same all the time and even buy me birthday cards to reflect the fact, but given my age I think it is my role in life. So here goes.....

Happy as I was that BBC TMS decided, rather bizarrely, that they were going to cover the MCC Women v Rest of the World Women on the wireless (as we old people call it), I'm afraid to say that I sat in the Press Box at Lords quietly fuming (it doesn't take much) every time Iain O'Brien came onto commentary.

The commentary duties were shared during the day between himself and the consummate professional Charles Dagnell. Summarisers duties were shared between the bubbly Ebony Rainford-Brent and Barnsley-lass Katherine Brunt. Daggers has a genuine love of the women's game, and it shows. He seems destined for "greater things" (men's cricket) and he will be a great loss to the women's game if he goes.

If Iain O'Brien loves women's cricket then it does not really show. In his first stint on commentary he made the usual complaint about all the girls looking the same and having no numbers by which he could identify them. How about a bit of research? He spent the entire day mixing up the tall and lean Stafanie Taylor with the squat power-house that is Deandra Dottin. He also insisted on calling Taylor "Stefarni" as in Gwen Stefani. Sana Mir became Sana Myrhh and having struggled with Shashikala Siriwardene all afternoon he finally resorted to referring to her as Suranami - a cross between a tidal wave and a South American country!

When I listen to radio commentary it is because I want to know what is happening and frequently mis-identifying fielders or simply failing to name them is simply not good enough. I have to say that I have a similar gripe with Blowers - character he may be, but I like to know what is happening.

I am a huge fan of TMS. It takes me back to my childhood and listening to the Ashes commentary on a portable radio whilst lying in bed. With the lack of television coverage of the women's game, TMS is a vital broadcasting medium for women's cricket. All I ask is that the BBC don't undersell it. I realise it is not a priority in BBC Radio scheduling or budgeting, but you need to find another Daggers asap.



  1. Hi Martin

    You really should have come and had a chat with me on the day. I was up and down from the box often and am always happy to discuss most topics. I'm always interested in feedback, especially when it is in areas where I can be better.

    Your comment where it was hard to tell who was who, was backed up by all, even to the extent where I corrected the wonderful Ebony and Katherine, as gracefully as I could on air, numerous time throughout the day. It was very tough. Unfamiliar figures, styles of movement, without names, numbers, made it difficult. I've watched a lot of England, Australia and NZ play, I've not had the opportunity, like the very good, Charlie Daggnall, has to watch these women play live, nor on TV.

    My research for the game was on the players, their exploits, their abilities, not their appearances. I'll admit I need more work on the pronunciations of the names, for sure.

    Glad, like myself, that you're a passionate women's cricket fan.

    Iain O'Brien

  2. Martin, please allow me another right of reply.

    Getting a fielders name wrong, which I really didn't as often as you are outlining, when calling a piece of play, does not change what happened. It is my job to call what I see happening. As succinctly as possible, and if I can, add some colour by naming the fielder. Naming the fielder doesn't change what happened. If I get where it is fielded wrong, that is an issue, not the name so much. And I'm sure, with more women's cricket and the opportunity to watch, I'll be a lot better next time. Promise.

    Look forward to meeting you one day and sharing our passions for the game.

    Iain O'Brien

  3. If you are going to commentate on an international game that you are supposedly "passionate" about it, then you should already KNOW who all the players are. If you don't... you're not "passionate" - you're just doing a day's work at t' mill. (Which is fine - it's what we all do - I'm not passionate about credit cards either... but I don't commentate on them on the BBC, and then claim to be "passionate" when someone calls me out for being sub-par!)

  4. Hi Syd,

    Heck, I'm off to commentate Derbyshire vs Lancashire tonight, a T20. I've never seen Andrea Agathangelou play, don't KNOW him, wouldn't be able to pick him out of a line up.

    Is that, according to your rational, a lack of passion for the men's game? Oh gee's, I'll just go back to selling underwear and children's books.

    Maybe you missed this line in my first reply: "My research for the game was on the players, their exploits, their abilities, not their appearances."

    Syd, I will be finding out all I can about him before play starts so I KNOW about him. As I did before the Women's game at Lord's.

    Knowing and recognising, especially from 80 meters away and 30 meters up, are two very different ideals. I'd much prefer to know about them and then learn to recognise them, than vice versa. I feel it adds more to commentary. But that's just my view. You want me to send you my notes for the game?

    You's, passionately in cricket