Hyperbole Watch: The Greatest Game on Sky Sports

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What’s Sky’s upcoming documentary, The Greatest Game, about then? It should be obvious really, shouldn’t it? You know, with a title like that. The Greatest Game. Let’s look for some clues.

Well, it’s a moodily-lit Ben Stokes kinda documentary.

But that doesn’t really pinpoint things.

Now here is looking thoughtful-yet-resolute.

Again, this doesn’t really help us.

If you’re wondering whether they had a second camera during the moodily-lit interview, it looks like they did.

If you’re wondering whether they have footage of Stokes on safari, it looks like they do.

But none of this is really giving us a decisive, unarguable answer. Which ‘greatest game’ is this thing about?

Oh, wait, 2019 one-day kit?

Okay, now we know what we’re dealing with.

Verdict: Guilty of hyperbole

“The 2019 World Cup Final was the greatest game of cricket ever played,” claim Sky in their blurb – yet it wasn’t even the greatest game of cricket played by England that summer.

With catches that were actually sixes, deflected boundaries and a whole slew of run-outs where the runs that were prevented were more important than the wickets, the 2019 World Cup final was fully bonkers and in that respect a very pure and excellent example of cricket at its rather confusing best.

But it wasn’t as good as Ben Stokes and Jack Leach at Headingley a month later. That’s just a fact. Ask anyone. Ask Timothée Chalamet who plays Paul Atreides in Dennis Villeneuve’s version of Dune.

Timothée Chalamet says…

Look, no-one’s saying that the 2019 World Cup final wasn’t a great game. It clearly was, both when taken in isolation as the final of a major tournament, but also from a narrower England perspective as the climax of a longer story of limited-overs underperformance and how that had been addressed by Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss over the preceding four years.

But does that make it the ‘greatest’ game of cricket ever played? Clearly not. King Cricket has highlighted the Headlingley Ashes Test from that same summer as an example of an England game he clearly feels was superior. I’d agree, but minor differences between his opinion and mine also hint at a deeper truth, which is that the ‘greatness’ of any given cricket match hinges on the perception of the individual.

A Pakistan fan or a West Indies fan would easily be able to come up with a whole host of matches they felt were ‘greater’ than the 2019 World Cup final. And that’s before we get to experiences that may be even more specific to an individual.

Because for many, the greatest game of cricket will have been one they themselves played in. Not necessarily a professional match. Not perhaps even a proper 11-a-side organised match at all. Maybe for some the greatest game of cricket was played in an alleyway, or down a driveway. Perhaps it was played on a PC or with Owzthat dice.

So it is that I ask: who made Sky Sports the arbiters of cricket match greatness?

Wise words from Timothée Chalamet. Wise words indeed.

You can watch the trailer for The Greatest Game here, if you want – but we have to say that other than the safari shot and Jason Roy in a very old-fashioned looking motorcycle helmet, you can probably guess most of it, right down to some of the actual quotes.

In their defence, Sky Sports are usually pretty good at this kind of thing and you can be pretty confident there’ll be greater depth than can realistically be conveyed in a 49-second trailer.


  1. What if you’d asked Paul Atreides himself? I can’t see him being an ODI fan, at least not over test cricket. Not profound enough, not enough opportunity for surly introspection on the ultimate fate of the universe. He would definitely consider the Headingly test to be greater the ODI final, but not in the sense of enjoying the result, only in understanding its importance on the path towards darkness.

    Duncan Idaho might prefer ODIs, although I think that’s less certain. I’m going with T20 cricket for pretty much all the Harkonens, even Sting. He feigns a certain depth, but all his stuff is just pop songs really. David Lynch, now there’s a man who would revel in that ODI final. It was only one severed ear away from being exactly like his work.

  2. Owzthat isn’t played with dice, a cube, but with six sided cylinders. I don’t want this to be overlooked in a discussion of the greatest game of cricket ever played.

  3. The Headingley Ashes Test was superior because I was there, rather than being at home painting the living room ceiling and switching between TMS and Sky depending on which commentators were on.
    I did vaguely think about sending you a match report, but it’s only been three years, so probably a bit recent.

  4. I want to agree with this Timothée Chalamet fellow, I really do. In fact, if he had not said what he did, I would have probably said something similar. But I cannot agree with him for two reasons: 1. I don’t know who he is, and 2. One should, as a rule, not trust people with accents over their e’s. If you are going to leave half the world’s population wondering how to pronounce your name, what kind of a person are you, really? Borderline psychotic, perhaps and definitely a sociopath.

    1. Timothée Chalamet has some French blood, which possibly explains the use of the accent in his name.

      My mother was named Renée in the East End of London in 1922 by working class parents without even a hint of French origin. Where the accent idea came from in her case is lost in the mists of time. Most of her family believed that she latterly “acquired” the accented version of her name, but on my mother’s death I uncovered her birth certificate and the accent is there, along with another mysterious intervention by her parents. I sketch these thoughts here only because I have for some time intended to write an Ogblog piece on that story and this thought from DC has jogged my memory to do so.

      By the way…

      …It isn’t hard to pronounce; just think of the sound at the end of the word “way” and you are there. “ Timothay”…”Renay”.

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