TalkSPORT and Test Match Special | I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It

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I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It is a semi-regular feature where we ask a fella called Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket. We are in bold. Prince Prefab is not.

England tour Sri Lanka and the West Indies this winter and the big news for cricket’s (in)visibility in the media is that talkSPORT have got the radio broadcast rights, so there’s no Test Match Special.

Well I don’t listen to Test Match Special but even I’m livid. One of my favourite things is talking on the radio that goes on for hours. I think it might be time to riot.

Well there’s always the talkSPORT talking on the radio that goes on for hours. They’re so committed to it that they even put ‘talk’ in their name. Have you ever listened to talkSPORT? Can you imagine what cricket on talkSPORT would be like? (And what, exactly, do you imagine that cricket on Test Match Special is like?)

Well I should have been clearer. I like long talking on the radio that is not on talkSPORT.

I heard talkSPORT once in my friend’s car about ten years ago. It was angry men shouting about football and I did not care for it. I think I can imagine what cricket would be like on talkSPORT and I do not think I would care for that either.

What do I think TMS would be like? Sort of like posh old chaps talking about the breeds of birds on the pavilion roof, the slant of the sun over the south-facing stand, their sandwich filling of the day, their favourite type of cake, a bit of poetry they remembered from school, making a note of a wicket or a six. That type of thing. Close?

Well it’s evolved a bit in recent years – most of what you describe was basically Henry Blofeld’s exact contribution – but stereotypes are generally rooted in fact aren’t they? There’s still an undercurrent of all that.

We suppose TMS has moved towards the middle ground of late and the very fact that it’s cricket will probably drag talkSPORT more towards the middle ground too. There’s also Guerilla Cricket, which is the irreverent option. Those guys commentate on the TV coverage and broadcast online.

I might give TMS a go. I fall asleep at night listening to podcasts of things I’m not very interested in. I find it soothing.

Well, like we said, they haven’t got the rights, so you’ll have to wait until summer. They are however going to… [checks announcement] “… give fans a chance to hear their favourite TMS broadcasters, like Aggers and Michael Vaughan, give their expert view on England’s tour of Sri Lanka and take part in discussions around all the big issues in the sport.”

Yeah, that sounds suitably uninteresting. That should do it.


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  1. In all fairness, this does not read like a bad line up:

    The other good news about it – in contrast to previous occasions when talkSPORT had the winter rights – is that they will not be interrupting play with excruciating adverts this time. It was the adverts that were the real agony previously…

    …and Chris Cowdrey’s whiney voice – that was agony too…

    …but I did like Jack Bannister’s voice…

    …and I did like England (seemingly) winning away test series against the odds whenever talkSPORT had the rights. Have I imagined that last bit or is there veracity to that correlation?

      1. I think TalkSport are part of the wider Murdoch family which (for now) includes Sky, there’s certainly a lot of cross-promotion in the Murdoch press for TalkSport (or talkSPORT, as they have it – no doubt echoing their presenters’ and listeners’ penchant for starting to shout halfway through making a point about why ‘United should give it Giggsy till the end of the season’ or similar).

  2. How do Guerilla cricket do commentary without having “the rights”? Couldn’t TMS just do the same thing? Watch the telly and talk about it? How can they even justify not letting someone do that?

    1. TMS can’t do that because they whinged so hard about Guerilla cricket doing it that they would immediately be tried and convicted of rank hypocrisy.

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