There is a very different feel to Sky’s coverage of the World Twenty20. It’s not the usual Test match team of presenters and pundits and we’re quite thankful for that.
It’s not that Sky’s coverage is normally bad. It’s just very familiar. That David Gower and Ian Botham world can get a bit wearing.
“Just saw Gatt. He’s fat, isn’t he?”
“You like to stay up late drinking, don’t you Sir Ian?”
When these guys talk cricket, that’s fine, but the bonhomie can seem rather tired. Gower and Botham in particular have been doing virtually the same things together for the last 30 years. Sometimes they even seem aware of that themselves.
In contrast, the guys in the studio for the World Twenty20 appear to be genuinely enjoying themselves. It was Ian Ward, Paul Collingwood, Marcus Trescothick and Jimmy Adams yesterday. They seemed to spend about half the time laughing, which was quite endearing.
That isn’t to say they’re just dossing about though. They joke, but they make serious points. It’s striking how they have very specific things to say about Twenty20 cricket and you realise that the sometimes faintly sneering or dismissive tone that accompanies the summer coverage of the format is perhaps borne of the ignorance of the older presenters.
We wonder how much of this is down to Ian Ward. He is very good nowadays. Genial and easygoing, but unmistakeably in charge. He’s like a cool teacher who jokes with the kids and somehow cajoles them into doing work at the same time.
We would never marry Bob Willis, so we don’t see why we have to spend quite so many hours looking into his cold, dead eyes, wondering whether he’s plotting to kill us. We haven’t seen Nick Knight doing that thing where he asks himself questions before refusing to commit to an answer either, so maybe he’s not involved. It’s good to have a change.