2014 Season Commentary Feedback

When prompted to e-mail the BBC and ECB with feedback on this season’s cricket commentaries, Yates sent one response to the BBC and a fuller response to the ECB.  Yates has previously expounded his support for the County commentary teams.

Praise is given where due but so is criticism.  If you’re new to DCTWO then please take it as read that as a Surrey supporter I am a big fan of Mark Church and Johnny Barran’s commentaries.    Some people (*cough* Michael Vaughan *cough*) would do well to embrace their Twitter presences and bring them to the commentary box – his recent tweets have been much better than his TMS output.   TMS in its current state is a vastly inferior product to what it used to be – it needs overhauling.

That said, so does anything in the ECB which Giles Clarke and Paul Downton have had anything to do with.

Yates is looking forward to reading KP’s autobiography.

Thank you to all involved in the County Cricket Commentaries during 2014. May you all winter well.

—–Original Message—–
From: Yates
Sent: 19 September 2014 19:40
To: ‘feedback@ecb.co.uk’
Subject: FW: Commentary Feedback

Dear ECB folk,

This is the e-mail I sent to the TMS crew feeding back on this year’s county cricket commentaries. As you will see, I am a great fan of all the county commentary teams. The same cannot be said for the BBC Test Match Special team, Blofeld and Boycott excepted.

I make no secret of the fact that I am no fan of the top management of the ECB, particularly Giles Clarke and Paul Downton. The top management of the ECB is toff heavy and does nothing to endear itself to real cricket supporters.

These thoughts are offered in the spirit of openness and improvement. The ECB gets a lot right but it makes itself look a real ass far too often. The ECB has a lot of work to do to repair the reputational damage it has deservedly suffered over the last year.

I hope the ECB uses the coming winter wisely and gets a start on with that work. I take no pleasure in my national governing body being an out of touch embarrassment.


—–Original Message—–
From: Yates
Sent: 19 September 2014 19:00
To: ‘tms@bbc.co.uk’
Subject: Commentary Feedback

Dear TMS folk,

As another season ends I would like to place on record my thanks to all the BBC county cricket commentators. Even Dave Townsend. As ever the commentators do a fantastic job in informing, educating and entertaining listeners about their teams. Reithian broadcasting at its best, which should continue to be encouraged and supported.

The BBC’s county cricket commentaries remain a vital part of the cricket season for many people who are unable to get to the grounds. With no cricket on free to air television for many this is the only connection they have with the summer game. While your commentators know this, they do not take advantage of it. They describe the game and performances warts and all where necessary. Social media has helped the commentators engage with their audiences even more, further encouraging the sense of community for that club’s supporters wherever they may be.

This is what good sports commentaries should be like. We neither not want nor need Alan Green’s moaning and whining, which has no place in Reithian broadcasting. Each county’s commentators know their club well and share a passion for that club and communicate well with the listener, whether the listener is a fan of that county or not.

However, whilst the county commentators have done a wonderful job, TMS itself is something I no longer listen to, even with the promise of Henry Blofeld’s tones. Jonathan Agnew’s transformation from investigative reporter and knowledgeable correspondent to ECB puppet is one of the most disappointing things I have ever seen. His position as BBC Cricket Correspondent is becoming increasingly untenable in my view.

The BBC Cricket Correspondent should be someone who uses their knowledge to investigate issues and when governing bodies are at fault, looks to ask the awkward questions why things are the way they are. It is the BBC who pay the Cricket Correspondent’s salary, not Waitrose or the ECB.

Michael Vaughan’s commentary offers little insight and is vastly more annoying than informative; I’d rather have Danny Morrison in T20 mode. Ed Smith’s commentary smacks of “look how clever I am with words”. What added value do Smith and Vaughan bring to TMS commentary? Just as Andrew Strauss contributes little to the Sky Cricket commentators, the same can be said of Smith & Vaughan in the TMS box.

As for the future, please keep supporting and encouraging the county commentaries. There are some fantastic people in the commentary teams. Charlie Dagnall, Alison Mitchell and Lizzy Ammon are excellent and deserve far more time on air than Smith and Vaughan. Tim Linley’s summarising on BBC Radio London has also been extremely good. He’s one to sign once he’s hung up his bowling boots.

At a time where the ECB continues to show itself to be out of touch and toff heavy, the BBC should be looking to make sure it steers the opposite course, bringing cricket to the masses. If you have Henry Blofeld you don’t need Ed Smith. If you want to report ECB issues objectively then you need to replace Jonathan Agnew. Quite what Michael Vaughan offers I don’t know.

Boycott and Blofeld should be your old, wise heads. Please get a new cricket correspondent. Ian Ward at Sky is an exceptional broadcaster and interviewer who deserves a bigger platform to show his talents. A relatively recent player and a skilled communicator, he is what a cricket correspondent should be. You won’t see Ian Ward hawking Waitrose.

Thanks to all your county commentators. May we all winter well and come back refreshed and renewed for summer 2015.

Kindest regards,