Geoffrey Boycott hits out at BBC following Test Match Special omission
Outspoken commentator criticises decision to leave him off commentary team in Twitter jibe
Geoffrey Boycott has hit out at the BBC following his omission from Test Match Special's commentary list for 2020.
Boycott, 79, was the notable absentee on a list of names for a summer of coverage that will feature the first Test cricket to be broadcast on BBC TV for more than 20 years.
And while the BBC implied in a statement to the Guardian that Boycott's absence from this summer's Test series against West Indies and Pakistan was a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak, his response to a Twitter user on the subject suggested it was a more long-term decision.
Replying to a Guardian story suggesting that Boycott's time at the BBC was up, the user wrote: "White, male, straight, tory and knows about cricket. Surprised he lasted this long at the BBC."
Boycott retweeted the comment, adding: "Absolutely right", before subsequently deleting it.
He later took to Twitter again with a more measured statement, pointing out that he recently underwent a quadruple heart bypass, and that the bio-secure arrangements for this summer's series were not the right environment for him at this stage of his life.
"I would like to thank @bbctms [and] @BBCSport for a wonderful 14 years," he wrote. "I have thoroughly enjoyed it and just love cricket with a passion. I also wish to thank all those that have said how much they have enjoyed my commentary and for those that haven't- too bad.
"My contract with BBC finished end of last summer. I would loved to continue but need to be realistic & honest with myself. Covid-19 has made the decision for both of us."
Boycott added that he hoped to be called upon for occasional summariser duties as the season progresses.
"Due to the current situation, Geoffrey is not part of the commentary team for the [West Indies] series," a BBC spokesperson said. "However, we are monitoring the situation closely and we hope to look forward to him making an appearance on TMS this summer."
Isa Guha, the former England women's World Cup winner, has been named as the BBC's lead presenter of a daily highlights show during each of the Tests and one-day internationals, alongside the likes of Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook, Carlos Brathwaite and Phil Tufnell.
Boycott's association with the BBC dates back to the 1980s. He has been a regular on TMS since 2005, after a stint at Channel 4 during their six years of coverage of Test cricket from 1999 onwards.
Last year he received a knighthood in Theresa May's resignation honours, a decision that caused controversy following his conviction in a French court in 1998 for assaulting his then partner, Margaret Moore.
He later told the BBC's Today programme that he "couldn't give a toss" about the outcry against his knighthood.