Source: ECB

Thoughts on The Hundred – Part Four – Commentary

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Everyone used to Sky’s coverage of cricket will be familiar with the voices that describe it for them.

But the Hundred provides a quite distinct challenge: a series of double-headers with a women’s game preceding a men’s.

The overall result has been a display of woeful ignorance of the women involved, but only by the male commentators.


You could spend a week counting up the numbers of times those two pronouns have been used by men who have not been willing to acquaint themselves with the players and their place in the game.

There is a descending order of competence, with a very few, led by Mark Butcher, showing they really know and enjoy the women’s game and can guide the viewer informatively through the rapid action on screen.

Sadly that graph-line descends sharply. It is marked by the number of times the commentator resorts to the all-inclusive ‘she’ and ‘her’ to cover his inadequacies.

An entire over will pass without the name of the bowler being offered; excuse: it’s there on screen. The same fielder will return the ball three times in succession; but who is she? (Fielders are only revealed on screen when they have taken a catch}. After a piece of action (delivery/stroke/field) the ‘shes’ will multiply confusingly.

Here’s a contrary example, the absence of ‘shes’ is striking. (Action! Stafanie Taylor is clean bowled): ‘Oh, that was absolutely superb! Held it back a fraction, just enough. Completely did her.’

Rob Key was describing a bowler from his own county. Name, please? Not offered.

For the men who haven’t genned themselves up, the automatic fall-back is the business of tactics (or ‘strategy’ as it is known in The Hundred). ‘Why isn’t she bowling a full ten? I can’t understand it.’ ‘You’ve got to make the power-play pay’. ‘She should have mid-off back and long-on up’.

Ah , relief!

Inevitably the people who do know are the female commentators and especially the guests (Ebony Rainford-Brent, Lydia Greenway, Mel Jones, Tammy Beaumont et al), both ex- and current players. It’s almost embarrassing to hear them fill in all the details the men have been unable to impart during their previous stints.

But their numbers are few, and all too often the option is two male commentators who have known each other for decades and readily resort to referring to the men’s game or chaffing each other about their past careers.

The ultimate aim of The Hundred is to introduce a simplified version of cricket to newcomers. Not managing to identify who’s who on the field is not the best way to achieve those ends.