January 15, 2010

England in South Africa 2009-10

Amateur arm-chair critique

Nitin Sundar

Test cricket’s leisurely pace harks back to a bygone era, when there were no live television broadcasts, and radio commentary held sway. Even today, it has its ardent followers, the kind that faithfully tune in to BBC’s Test Match Special (TMS). Unfortunately, non-English followers of the South Africa series cannot access TMS since BBC does not have commercial rights to stream England’s away tours, to international audiences. All that is set to change, thanks to a group of amateur commentators who have started making waves, literally. Tom Clark is the producer of a radio commentary show, hosted free of cost on a website called Test Match Sofa. As the name implies, the self-professed arm-chair critics watch live action on television and say it as they see it. Clark is happy with the popularity of the show, which has sky-rocketed since the Cardiff Test match of the Ashes. “We’re living the dream of being a Test Match Special commentator but because we do not have the political aspect of keeping on good terms with the likes of Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad we can be a bit more irreverent,” says Clark. Sofa, so good.

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Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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