Events and people that shaped the game

No. 17

The first television broadcast

Seventy-two years ago, video cameras broadcast a Test for the first time, from Lord's. The coverage has evolved since, but the good still outweighs the bad

Steven Lynch

April 24, 2010

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A

Television took cricket to a larger audience © Getty Images


A Lord's Test is always special. But 1938's was more unique than most: it was the first cricket match to be shown on television. At 11.29 on June 24, a little over six months after the birth of Kerry Packer, Ian Orr-Ewing handed over to Teddy Wakelam, sat by a couple of cameras on the top tier of the Nursery End, to begin commentary as Ernie McCormick bowled the opening over to Charlie Barnett.

Coverage of cricket has inevitably evolved - remember those old videos where every second over was viewed from behind the wicketkeeper? - and has been fundamental to Packer and to the development of one-day cricket in particular. Now we have double-ended coverage, Hawk-Eye, more than 30 cameras, stump-cams stump-mikes, Snickometers. Yet in some ways the advances have been a double-edged sword: television holds too much clout for the traditionalist's comfort, a recent example being the sacrifice of a decent contest to accommodate day-night matches during the World Cup. Good outweighs bad, though: anyone in any doubt should shove on a video of Botham's Ashes, of Sachin batting, of Warne and Murali at their most magnetic. Television has brought cricket's distinctive magic to parts that no other medium can reach.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine

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Posted by Actonian on (April 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT)

Does anybody know whether any of this footage is still in existence and if so is it available on DVD ? Can't find anything on YouTube.

Posted by anilkumble82 on (April 25, 2010, 16:28 GMT)

Thanks Steve, could you tell us if someone hit a six and it was hit outside the stadium into another stadium like a football or hockey.

Posted by nelrod03 on (April 25, 2010, 2:38 GMT)

Now we have Spidercam. Had seen a bit in the ICL & now seeing it @ the IPL semi-finals. Close up from just above the pitch & zoom back to upper level

Posted by Sidhanta-Patnaik on (April 24, 2010, 14:57 GMT)

Nice information. Always adds that edge to a cricket buff's reportire

Posted by   on (April 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT)

Steve, I wanted to ask u something else too. I asked this before but has there been any opener in the history who on his debut of any kind of cricket, (test, ODI, T20(I), first class or List A) hit a six on the very first ball of the match he faced.

Posted by friendshire on (April 24, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

great information.. thanks a lot.. could u tell us anything that someone had hit a six and the ball passed from one city to another, the stadium could be very near to any city so this might be record in history

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Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.
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