Meant to note this down last week and forgot. We’re now doing commentary for mobile phones – and it’s really brilliant. I know it’s a bit sycophantic to praise Cricinfo’s services but, let’s face it, we do rock – and this is really very cool. If you’re away from your PC, just download this program and you can keep an eye on our accurate (yet irreverent…) commentary on your phone. It’s quick and free.
Technology has moved on massively even in the short time I’ve followed the game. Back then, in the familiar gloom of the 1990s, few people bothered with Sky. It required a “dish” which implied a small and unobtrusive space-age work of genius. In fact, they were the size of a small car and were concreted onto the sides of flats which almost collapsed under the weight. They were also bright white, or they were until the pigeons took aim.
All change. The dishes are now properly unobtrusive – digital, even – and are sucked onto the walls of every estate in Britain. And here is the BBC’s Test Match Special producer, Caroline, with their own version.
I miss the old days sometimes. Ceefax, waiting for the colours to change (not out batsmen were in white, I think, and those dismissed turned green. Appropriately.) Can’t remember what blue meant. But there was a thrill in watching the screen, if the radio was knackered, waiting for it to change. And there was usually (but not always) a delay in updates if a wicket had fallen…so you’d sit there, sweaty palmed, and wait for the batsman to turn green.
This was all before Cricinfo came along. Now that we’re doing ball-by-ball commentary editorially – with more of a voice, colour, interesting facts etc – the response has been incredible. We even get emails from fishermen at sea…in the middle of the bloody sea, reading our website and following commentary. It’s ridiculous.
So I don’t miss the old days that much. There is too much cricket being played; the game is played at a new, frenetic pace (except when Collingwood’s batting); Zimbabwe are, well, whatever. But the coverage, and access of cricket news for the fans, is unprecedentedly broad. It’s pretty damn good.
What do you miss from the dark old black-and-white (or white and green) days and what modern marvels do you like the most?
Until now, with the odd exception, ball-by-ball commentary has been performed by mystical faraway people with no names. As if by magic, bang on time, the scorecards at Cricinfo appear and within a few minutes a stream of fascinating (and for many people, vital) commentary is revealed.
The veil of intrigue as to the identity of these people is, on Thursday at least, to be removed as me and my colleage, the utterly venerable Jenny Thompson, will be providing live ball-by-ball commentary. My editor and boss started the ball rolling the other week, during the one-dayers against Sri Lanka, which was (near enough) the first time an editorial team had access to it. Actually that’s rubbish: our colleages in India, Jamie and Sriram, have been doing it for the India v West Indies series – and a splendid job they’ve done too.
Anyway it’s all pretty new and exciting and, hopefully, me and Jenny (and others of course) might provide something a bit different. We’ll see how it goes. I’m keen on pointing people from the scorecard to various things on the site – be it a funny/interesting new photo that’s just landed; a “breaking news” story – and generally bringing our own personal style (within house rules, and The Cricinfo House Style) to proceedings.
On that note…what do you like/dislike about Cricinfo’s scorecards and live commentary? What do you want to hear about when you’re stuck at work, clock-watching? I promise not to do a Henry Blofeld re his fascination of butterflies and London buses…but a stray pigeon simply has to be mentioned.