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The Wisden Cricketer Readers' Poll - Feedback

Turn the volume down

More feedback on the results of the Wisden Cricketer poll which asked you to name your commentary dream team

Cricinfo staff

August 19, 2005

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On Wednesday we released the results of the Wisden Cricketer poll which asked you to name your commentary dream team . Yesterday, we published your feedback, and it has continued to pour in, so here is another batch. Richie Benaud continues to be the No. 1 choice, although it is interesting that his popularity doesn't seem to extend to India and Sri Lanka. But it's not generally good reading for Sky Sports' established team



Bob Willis attracted plenty of comments © Getty Images
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The full results
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Every time we hear the news that Mark Nicholas is slithering into the commentary position my heart sinks. He is unbearably smug and self-satisfied. He's actually quite an insightful commentator and a good writer, but his grossly inflated sense of his own smooth deliciousness make me want to embark on a violent crime spree. T. Zaremba

Perhaps it is time to petition Sky, so that we can press the red button and have pictures with just the stump microphone - no commentary at all. Bliss. David Collins

Sales of razors and the Len Cohen back catalogue are sure to skyrocket as the prospect of summer with Willis, Botham and Lloyd finally hits home. The prospect of being mugged in your own living room by a gang of insufferable, curmudgeonly grandads is going to undo all the good work the England team have managed to do to popularise the game. This evil must be resisted. The Sky team are best suited to covering irrelevant county games that no one watches with the sound on anyway. For serious international cricket, a team of Benaud, Atherton, Gower and Boycott would be ideal. Piyush Pant

I can't stand to hear Bob Willis drone on about anything. He is terrible. The best commentators are Michael Atherton and Michael Slater, contrasting styles of player in their day, but when Channel 4 pair them together you get sense, insight and more than a few laughs. Sam McNally

Michael Holding had presence as a player and he has carried that into the commentary box. He is insightful, neutral and occasionally witty. Andy Dunn

Richie Benaud has the experience and knowledge of a lifetime, but his bias towards Australia has been quite obvious. Pramod Murali

Botham appears to have copped a lot of flack in your poll but I would disagree with most of it. The man still talks tense and has no quarrels about saying what he thinks. Too many commentators just sit on the fence. John Gibson

What surprised me was the ranking Ian Chappell got. Ian is a great mix of technical knowledge and stories from his playing days. The real shocker, however, was that Shastri and Bhogle got any votes at all. Aloke P Mondkar

I'm not unhappy or surprised with Richie being voted No. 1 as he is terrific. What strikes me as decidedly odd is the lack of support for Mike Atherton. Since he took the chair at Channel 4 I've enjoyed him more than any other. His comments are insightful, relevant and often humorous. More Athers, less Willis! Ultra

Sky have a simple decision to make, sack their entire commentary team who are a bunch of miserable gits full of doom and gloom and simply state the obvious all day, and hire the Channel 4 commentary team who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and easy on the ear. Andrew Ramage

Bumble [David Lloyd] and Gower are the only good bits about the Sky team, even my boyhood hero, Botham bores the pants off me nowadays. Chris Cowdrey provides good radio commentary when on. Bob Coldwell

Watching the Ashes has been a painful audio experience. First I was watching in pubs and had to listen to that goddamn crazy frog song more times than anyone who hasn't been convicted of some horrific crime should have to, and then I get the Channel 4 commentary team. At 3am there is nothing anyone wants to hear less than Tony Greig (except for the aforementioned song.) He seems utterly confused about everything, the gem being when he was mixing up Michael Atherton and Michael Vaughan. Did he not notice that Atherton was sitting next to him? It's about time they let a woman take the mic. Trish Plunket

Boycott, Botham, Willis and Atherton. They're being paid to commentate on a match, yet as soon as England get on top they resemble the Barmy Army. Take a leaf out of Richie's book, call the match and stop reliving the "Good Old Days". If I wanted that I could go and talk to Granddad. Chris Martain

Ian Botham is terribly negative. He should stick to doing charity walks. Geoff Boycott is constantly contradicting himself, and the only time he is bearable is when he makes rash statements that come undone, or accidentally says something funny. Liam McMahon

Why can't people just press the mute button and listen to TMS, or in my case in the summer, the ABC. I have always found radio commentators to be far more interesting and insightful to listen to. And let me assure you, the Sky team are infinitely better than Channel Nine here in Australia: Ian Healy and Mark Taylor have learned to out-Greig Tony Greig in the art of turning what should be a five-word observation into a five-minute overanalysis. David Sirl



Tony Greig: sensible comments © Getty Images
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I believe that Tony Greig is by far one of the best commentators we have come across in world cricket. He adds a lot of life to the game along with sensible comments. It's very surprising that he is so low on the list. As far as Botham is concerned, he is dull and boring at extreme. Even his friends would not want to hear or see him on TV. Raza Ahmed

David Lloyd should be higher, knowledgeable but totally insane, infinitely better than the monotone Willis, Atherton and Stewart. Ian Ward shows some promise but it's a no-no for Nasser Rob Matthews

Charles Colville is one of Sky's greatest assets. He's always interesting to listen to, often very humorous, and also excellent at getting the best out of the many current players who commetate during county matches. Sarah Long

Bill Lawry is the all-time great and my absolute favorite. The way he gets excited with comments like "What a rippaa from Akram" or "Why doesn't he play for Victoria" for touring players, makes watching Tests in Australia the most enjoyable experience compared to other countries. We are fed up up of listening to Rameez Raja and Ravi Shastri. Amir Sohail is like a breath of fresh air and should be encouraged. Umar Siddiqui

Bill Lawry is the greatest commentator to have ever picked up a microphone. His impartiality combined with that exquisite selection of words is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I am mesmerized and astonished at his ability to bring listeners/watchers up-to-date with what has gone in a match in matter of seconds, without even slightly betraying his verbal elegance. Samra

I am surprised that Sidhu was even on the list. I am of course shocked beyond belief that people actually voted for him. Can the 789 culprits please stand up? Actually please stop watching cricket, if you would like to listen to Navjot Singh Sidhu destroy any respect the sport or the players deserve. Amit Bhatt

Channel 4's coverage has been superb, despite dear old Geoff being a bit too vain about his own career, when England scored at two an over and he was the main culprit. I am very worried about the prospect of Botham and Willis, both heroes of mine, being the front men for Sky's domination of cricket from next year. Are these two really, really, really excited about this England team just like the rest of us? If so, why don't they show it? Colin Nolan

I agree about Paul Allot being hard done by. Very insightful commentator. Thumbs up for Michael Holding. I don't understand the negative comments about Ian Botham though- I like his modern day comments and willingness to push some of the technology issues such as Hawkeye and no-ball lights. Tim Newman

I would rather watch Rugby ( the sport I hate ) than listen to Bob Willis on the microphone for the game I love! Qayam

I can't believe no mention has yet been made of the best commentator in world cricket: Donna Symonds. This lady from Barbados puts nearly all of her contemporaries deep into the shade, both with her insightful commentary, and her very easy-to-listen-to voice. Bruce Walker

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