Ooh well it’s all gone down to the wire, hasn’t it? Where will we be watching the India series that is starting on Friday?
Obviously I’m hoping for Channel 4. It’s not just the hazy nostalgia for the 2005 Ashes series (although that is a pretty major draw) but the incredible opportunity for cricket to win big audiences when most of the population (and all of school age) are at home for most of the day to watch.
Admittedly, the thought of Star Sports commentary doesn’t get me too excited: it’s a service I first became familiar with while backpacking in 2006 and I’m not sure how much has changed since then. Mind you, Sky Sports when Shane Warne is on is far worse so perhaps it’s not worth grumbling about.
Simon Hughes also claims not to be in the mix for any Channel 4 coverage. This would be a huge shame and a loss for viewers. His Analyst slots in 2005 were so informative, the forerunner to Sky’s Third Man segments and a real game-changer in cricket coverage. Perhaps in all sports coverage, when you think how far the BBC moved things on with Match of the Day and then Sky put it on speed first for football and then every other sport going.
In terms of getting through a work day with the cricket on, there’s no doubt that doing so to Channel 4 is way more professional than doing so to Sky Sports. If it’s terrestrial, it’s just background noise, the standard daytime TV that is perfectly acceptable. Now sticking on Sky or BT, let alone Disney+, that’s a statement that you are actively seeking sport to watch and pay attention to. It’s completely different!
Having Sky Sports on your phone in the workplace is always a bit illicit. But Channel 4? No one would complain if you had a bit of Countdown on in the background, would they? It’s too innocent. Especially since we’ll all have the commentary turned down for the aforementioned reasons.
The fact that the Ahmedabad Test is a day-night affair running from 9.00-5.00ish only makes this even better. The thought of millions of viewers tuning in can only be good for cricket, especially during current circumstances. Following on just about closely enough from the World Cup Final of 2019, which had a huge audience on Channel 4, there will be enough viewers to sustain Test cricket for years to come. If we get as good a show as India’s recent run in Australia we’ll be in for a treat and I want as many people as possible to see it.