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The banter bus backfires when live cricket returns to the BBC for the first time in 21 years

The banter bus fails as live cricket returns to the BBC for the first time in 21 years … hosts Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan would be more effective from the pundits seat

You could see what the BBC was up to when a Phil Tufnell segment on the rules of Twenty20 was shown leading up to their first live cricket broadcast since 1999.

Bat both sides and come for 20 overs. The team with the most runs wins. A standard over is made up of six deliveries. ‘

Cricket hasn’t completely vanished from the face of the earth in the years since Tony Lewis and Chris Broad were part of the soundtrack to a British summer, but the BBC apparently needs to prove they can find new audiences for a sport buried behind it. Sky’s paywall for so long. The strategy for doing that seems to consist of commanding attention – making noise – at any available time.

James Anderson (left), Michael Vaughan (center) and Isa Guha share a joke on Sunday

James Anderson (left), Michael Vaughan (center) and Isa Guha share a joke on Sunday

When Tufnell didn’t describe everything he could see – “He’s swinging his bat at his teammates, there” – he was doing a Chuckle Brothers routine with Michael Vaughan that would rush back most of those who could afford the choice. to Sky for an hour or two.

James Taylor’s tie, Tom Curran’s mustache, Tufnell’s “cricket rules” – all fueled the joke bus.

“Why is it called a googly?” Vaughan asked, for a laugh, at one point, as Tufnell had commented on an Adil Rashid delivery, “That’s the google.”

No one knew or was inclined to try, so this hospital pass was thrown to Andy “Zalts” Zaltzman, the statistician, who worked in what Vaughan called “The Stat Cave.”

Phil Tufnel was doing a Chuckle Brothers routine with Michael Vaughan (right)

Phil Tufnel was doing a Chuckle Brothers routine with Michael Vaughan (right)

Phil Tufnel was doing a Chuckle Brothers routine with Michael Vaughan (right)

BACK TO THE BEEB

  • 21 years since the BBC’s last England match – the 1999 World Cup, when Alec Stewart’s host lost a humiliating group stage.
  • Twenty20 did not exist and Tom Banton was seven months old.

AN ALL-STAR CAST

The 1999 BBC Team:

  • Presenter: Tony Lewis
  • Commentary: Richie Benaud, David Gower, Geoffrey Boycott, Barry Richards, Chris Broad

“Not quite sure,” he said, but instead released a statistic on Babar Azam completing the fastest 1,500 runs in T20 history.

There is actually no definitive answer to Vaughan’s question. The derivation of the word could be the formative ‘goggle-eyed’ response to such a delivery. But Sky would have thrown a few theories into a ball. With this new audience on board, it was definitely worth a try.

Vaughan’s wisdom and experience and Tufnell’s sardonic humor would actually both serve a live broadcast of BBC TV much better from the expert summaries’ seat, supporting lead commentators like Simon Mann and Alison Mitchell, who are fluent and non-irritable at the microphone.

It is, of course, a brutal and thankless task to try to match the erudition that Sky’s Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Shane Warne and David Lloyd have been delivering for years.

But if the BBC is parenting, a split screen may have explained the difference between an off-cutter and a back-of-the-hand ball – introduced in the conversation by Vaughan.

A table with the fastest players to 1,500 runs would have tightened Zaltzman’s output – “the man who eats stats,” Vaughan said. Neither split screens nor statistics cards were displayed.

Richie Benaud, whose face flickered on screen in a retro montage of BBC live cricket at the top of the show, once described the secret to good commentary.

“Get to know the value of economics with words and never offend the viewer by telling them what they can already see,” he said.

Benaud passed by quietly, but he’s anchored in the collective memory of so many golden summers from the days when cricket was free to watch.

The game and the world have moved on, but it is not just a feeling to say that he had the wisdom of the ages.

Sometimes less is more.

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