Two test matches, two pre-test balls ups. Yates wonders what the rest of the Ashes series will bring us and is pondering whether the correct use of the phrase is “balls up”, “balls-up” or “ballsup” (as in that much loved technical term “titsup”).
The First Balls Up
The first balls up came in the minutes approaching the opening ball of the first test when to his horror Yates found that Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere wasn’t working. No mention of this was made on Virgin Media’s Twitter feed or website. Because there wasn’t anybody in those departments to keep customers updated. FFS, as they say in common parlance.
A call to the predictably useless cutomer services line eventually revealed that yes, there was a problem with the TV Anywhere app and it could be anything up to 24 hours until it was fixed. WTF, as they say in common parlance, Virgin Media? A hugely anticipated test series with increasingly hyped media coverage and your “watch Virgin TV anywhere” doesn’t work? If this had happened at the start of the football season you can bet arses would have been kicked hard and heads would have rolled.
So off Yates went to find an illegal stream because yet again the tech didn’t work. As Yates has written before.
All Yates got was a meagre apology. Not very impressive.
The Second Balls Up
The second balls up has received far more press coverage because it came from Cricket Australia. This tweet and photo, a feeble attempt to take the rise out of Monty Panesar, may have been intended as humorous had it been made in 1973 (Spike Milligan’s Curry And Chips from 1969 struggled to find the mark and Milligan was born & bought up in India) but coming 40 years later it was seen by many as racist, patronising and bloody stupid. Martin Samuel gives Cricket Australia both barrels here.
The photo itself was not one of a few cricket fans in the crowd at a test match, as ESPNCricinfo’s Daniel Brettig confirmed. So CA either went looking for this photo (in which case they should have credited the photographer) or actually went out and created the photo. Either way, this is crass and hypocritical from the same national sport governing body which sacked a PA announcer for alleged racism towards yes, you guess it, Monty Panesar.
The real issue here is that this damages the reputation and brand of Cricket Australia. A governing body should lead by example, adhere to the highest standards of conduct and keep away from attempts to be “street”, trendy and humorous. Yes, even social media departments. An inappropriate tweet can go viral very quickly. As Cricket Australia now know. Had an individual made the tweet then they would probably have lost a few followers, maybe been reported as a spammer by a few and generally chastised as a bit of an idiot. For a governing body to do it is quite unacceptable.
As Martin Samuel writes, the @CricketAus twitter bio has undergone changes, becoming the independent news arm of Cricket Australia and knows as CA Digital Media. Yates has a message for @CricketAus:
Gene Hunt gets away with this (caution: some very offensive and pejorative terms used) in Life On Mars because it is set in 1973. Advance Australia Fair? More like Advance Australia Where? Is this where Cricket Australia is, living on Mars in 1973?
Will they try to blame Pat Howard for this? (Yes, this is a bit of a recurring theme)
They can’t use being “independent” as an excuse for posting mindless, boorish stuff. They are part of the Cricket Australia brand. More of this sort of stuff will damage that brand even more.
An appeal to broadcasters, governing bodies and media – please let the bloody cricket be your focus from now on. No trying to be trendy or provoking a response.