The Ashes sees a huge incease in the level of cricket coverage in the UK. A lot of it is very good, such as The Wisden Cricketer’s little guide, Battle For The Ashes, which comes free with this month’s issue. Some of it, like the Guardian’s over-by-over and TWC’s Story Of The Ashes, is downright exceptional.
A lot of other stuff is shit.
Over the course of the summer, you will see articles by writers you’ve never heard of before. They are taking up the slack. They will spell Alastair Cook’s first name ‘Alistair’. They might even put ‘Cooke’. Some will write about ‘Kevin Peterson’.
Then there are articles like the BBC’s ‘Pietersen wary of Aussie threat’.
Cricket journalists love complaining about how boring cricketers’ quotes are. The problem is that during the Ashes, it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to say: ‘This article says nothing. Let’s not publish it.’
Highlights from the ‘Pietersen wary of Aussie threat’ article:
- Pietersen reveals: “They don’t have Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden so they’re not going to be as good as [2006-07].”
- He says they beat South Africa, so they’re not bad either.
- He says it’s going to be a fierce competition.
- He doesn’t think 2005 has any relevance on 2009.
- He thinks England are going to have to play good cricket.
Don’t read the article. There’s nothing else in there. Tomorrow on the BBC, Michael Vaughan says: ‘England have a decent chance if they bat well and bowl well,’ while Mark Taylor says that ‘taking wickets will be key’.