Monthly Archives: April 2012

Can Somebody Just Shoot the Channel 9 Commentary Team!

Unfortunately no one’s going to. In fact, with these guys it’s a question of whether you‘d rather get shot:

a) in the left eye
b) in the right eye
c) in the left ear
d) in the right ear
e) in the mouth

They just flat out s*ck. All of them. It doesn’t help that the ones from the Packer era were handed lifelong contracts; which means its infitesmally difficult to push retards like Tony Greig out and Ian Chappell out of the box. Ageing Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry won’t be around the scene for much longer, so the bunch will go from bad to worse I expect.

Here’s a play by play, in no particular order:

Shane Warne: A rather recent addition, and I can see why people would take to him – he lightens up the commentary by a mile. I don’t mind most of him really; he calls the game the way it is and is happy to talk about and elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. BUT. Terribly self indulgent and when he spontaneously likes a point he’s made, he tends to repeat himself, several times in the same sentence. I caught some Ashes 2010 footage the other day and there was this incident when England appealed for a Watson caught behind but didn’t opt for the referral. Which is when Warnie turned into a broken record:

“They’ve appealed but not gone ahead for a referral which is quite bizarre because they have appealed and then decided not to go to the third umpire, I mean why appeal so confidently and then not go for a referral. I can’t understand this…they’ve all appealed and Strauss has not gone for a referral”

Jeez. Shut up you dolt. We’ve already caught you the first time around.

Michael Slater: Give. Me. A. Break. With this guy. So excitable, like a kid in a candy store or something. What ticks me off the most is him not listening to the other two in the box when they’re talking and then repeating the same thing five minutes later. But he hits his worst when he partners with Healy. They annoy the hell out of me, “Slats and Heals”. Slater in particular just jabbers all kinds of rubbish and keeps swooning over New South Wales players. Occasionally he asks the other two a sensible question and simulates a bit of worthy chat or banter but in essence it’s justs “oohs” and “ahs” from him the rest of the time. And whats with the auditioning to become the voice-over guy for movie trailers?:

“Ponting was the Australian skipper with the world at his feet until one day…”

Mark Nicholas: English, but has never played a test match in his life. And it shows. He is simply over the top, and makes absurd calls like Usman Khawaja’s flick shot “being very Asian-like”. What a w*nker. Other examples from summers gone by include adding adjectives in front of players names – “Evergreen Strauss”, “Wonderful Murali”!? Can’t stand his hyperbole or the toffee accent, too frikkin polished. And. He thinks this non-event was “one of the great balls”?

Ian Chappell: Ah, Chappelli. The one with the “I”. As in “I did this” and “I did that”; I find myself yelling “SHUT UP YOU GOOSE!” everytime he’s on and begins to ramble along. I do value his opinions, but they are usually negative, pedantic and repetitive. Especially the whinging about things which no else gives a sh*t about, while ignoring what is actually happening in the game.

In summary, Chappelli’ll find his little gripe for the day, and proceed to bang on about it for the next 6 hours. It’s dedication to irritation like that that becomes so easy to fault. Whether it is his time for a short leg, or his all-time favourite rant about the positioning of the slips cordon, or the colour of the grips on players’ bats, he manages to continually pick out something really abstract to whine about and follow through. Even if every international captain and player took entirely sensible decisions onfield, I bet this guy will still find something to cry and moan to. Again, he’s from the times of Kerry Packer, so sacking him is out of the question. He’ll get a gig every summer until I die of depression if it has to come to that.

Bill Lawry: I don’t think Lawry’s retired yet, and he’s still good. Belongs to the dad’s army gang, so he’s generally very listenable. So you can’t really blame him when he refuses to get caught up in the banter between Slats and Heals or Tubbs – notice that he’ll always drive back the focus to the cricket. Good stuff, Bill. But gets a bit premature sometimes, unwanted calls of “HE’S GONE!” and “SIX” when someone remotely looks to be hitting a boundary or is potentially about to be caught is just ridiculous. And his terrible over exaggerated predictions – sometimes he’ll call a score for Australia that they’ll never get close to. All said and done though, this guy is far from the worst. Hope he stays on a wee bit longer.

Mark Taylor: From memory he entered the box right after he retired in the 90s. He looked to be slipping into the Slats mould at first, but I don’t know what’s happened; either he or I have changed, I really don’t mind him. Best of the younger lot in my book. He has a pretty open mind when it comes to looking at all aspects and all sides and it’s easy to see why he was such a good captain. But mumbles rather than speaks which is a turn off. A nice mix of layman and expert speak if and when you can decipher him. Whereas initially I thought of him as too vanilla for a commentary stint. My only gripe with him is his constant insisting that <insert curator of ground where current test is being played at> “is one of the best in Australia”? Doesn’t that go without saying? Or does skill and ability not come into it when nurturing and selecting them?

Richie Benaud: The oldest of the bunch, and the most recognizable voice of the Australian summer. Though he’s losing his marbles as the days are passing by and after its become three in the box, all he does is spew out something entirely weak and illegible every few minutes or so. Still, reminds himself not to overdo it which is good. Doesn’t have much fuel left in the tank I imagine.

Tony Greig: Does this guy commentate every shift of every session? I swear, every time I tune in he has to be on. Keeps raving on about the “wonderful technology on offer here in Channel 9” and reads an ad every five frikkin minutes. Gatorade, Vodafone memorabilia, KFC, and I even remember him plugging Desperate Housewives a few summers back. As if he has ever seen a f*cking episode in his life. And where the hell is he from? Born in South Africa, played for England and now commentates in Australia? I reckon he should just stick to Sri Lankan games so he can lodge up there and stop annoying the rest of us. He’s clearly past it.

Ian Healy: There’s a reason why I saved him for last. Needs a bullet. Simple as that. Worst sports commentator ever, let alone from Channel 9’s cricket bunch, Healy has no challenger to a global crown. The waffle that comes out of his mouth is cringeworthy most of the time. It’s prolly the keeper in him, the constant barracking and cheerleading for Australia. In one of the ODIs in the tri-series just gone by, he was adamant that Australia would get a wicket in the last 2 or 3 overs because he couldn’t accept the fact that they were going to lose. There’s nothing too sickening about a bit of hometown bias but I doubt Healy can see that there’re two teams playing. He dismisses everything that comes off for the other teams as “lucky” and the one that clinched it for me was the other night when he said that even if David Warner did nothing else in his career he’d still be a “legend of the game” and remembered as such. Huh?

Gilly should just come in and kick him out, just like he did so in the test team all those years ago. But I doubt it, for Gilly just hops on when the team are in Perth and hasn’t committed to commentary yet. Then again, I suppose he’d get successfully neutered and Channel 9d if he does and turn into one of the boys in there soon enough. Same old script’s been playing for years.

PS: I bet the segway stunt in the 2011 Boxing Day test was staged.

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Overall, they’re all a pain to listen to, and after a while, their voices just become noises in my head. What happened to the days when there was actually an international presence in the commentary box? Michael Holding from the Windies was a great caller, and there was also a Pakistani I believe. It doesn’t help that the only one among the panel who watches some international cricket that Channel 9 don’t cover is Tony G, who I cannot stand. It gets painfully obvious that outside of the Australian home summer very few of the others catch any test cricket: they neither know what the current rules are nor what the players have accomplished recently and even when they’re getting fed the stats they still manage to scr*w it up half the time. There is a terrible lack of knowledge of visiting players and teams. This is nothing new, by the way. They’ve been like this for as far back as I can remember.

Most folks in Australia are apparently equally peeved about Channel 9’s team, and a handy escape is to sync C9 video with ABC radio’s grandstand commentary. It wasn’t that bad when I tried it this summer really – Kerry O’ Keefe is terrific, and Harsha Bhogle is decent at worst. But Glenn Mitchell……no please no. He is a shocker. He will scream and shout even when absolutely NOTHING has happened. Doesn’t bode well for the radio listener, who cannot see a thing of what’s going on: “…and OH DEAR that has HIT HIM ON THE PAD! NOT OUT says Aleem Dar.” I was listening to the cricket on ABC during the Ashes in 2010 (when Hussey and Haddin were rearguarding at the ‘Gabba), and Glenn was making it sound like a wicket was about to fall every ball. Just settle down mate!

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Cheers for listening to that rant then. Nothing new here all said. Even Adolf Hitler’s of the same opinion.

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Guess who’s back?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that this Pommy side is not the #1 test team in the world. Heck, if I summon the local net bowler from down the street and ask him to bowl at the England batsmen in broad daylight whilst screaming the type of delivery beforehand, he’ll still be a favourite to scalp three of their top six. They are really that bad against spin bowling of any half-decent standard.

So in essence, after mauling India 4-0 last summer, Saffer A have got point blank whitewashed in the tests that’ve followed; first with the 3-0 against Pakistan in the Emirates, and it’s increasingly likely that they’ll slip up against Lanka in the second test as well. This after yet another thrashing in Galle to script their own 4-0. And that’s got to be the shortest amount of time a team has held on to the top spot. Supporting England has got to be a perennial wait for that dog in its day moment – they’ll stand up to be counted once every generation if you’re lucky.

Though to be fair, their batters had a valid reason to fall back on in the Pakistan series – that they were spun out by a trickster in Saeed Ajmal, who bowled a full repertoire of doosras, teesras, arm balls and heaven knows what. But in this ongoing Sri Lankan series, they’re being spun out by Rangana Herath for crying out loud! Who averages mid 30s in test cricket, above 40 in one day cricket, and to put it mildly, isn’t a particularly good bowler. But I guess any average spinner looks like a world beater if and when he bowls to the Poms.

And this isn’t going to change. I love sport psychology, and from all evidence it looks like each of them are being overcoached. Have a look at Bell or KP at the crease – they bat like their brains have been scrambled with too much advice about ball trajectories, paths and speeds. Just notice the number of pre-determined swipes and slogs. They just don’t cut it, literally. That’s when you should quit pondering and do a Sehwag instead – just go out there and whack it.

As for their coaching staff, Flower and Gooch should be a tad worried at this rate – the English batsmen will loose them their jobs if this keeps up!

Can’t wait to get this bunch over in India this November. 4-0. I want nothing less.