Friday, July 03, 2009

Papering over the cracks

For the paper that boasts Neville Cardus and John Arlott in its sportswriting heritage, the Guardian's cricketing coverage can be pretty lamentable.

They gained a few bonus points for having Duncan Fletcher as a columnist over the past few years, but then promptly lost them for inflicting the thoughts of Ian Bell on a unsuspecting readership Thus we were forced to endure such Wildean phrases like 'it's the first test of the series, so the lads are all pretty keyed up and ready to go' from the batting scribe - pretty lame bearing in mind Warwickshire was the county that gave humanity Shakespeare, and the Electric Light Orchestra.

Sometimes you get the impression that the cricket writers, Selvey included, are trying just a bit too hard to live up to the Guardian's pinko lefty reputation by almost editorialising about issues close to the game during match reports rather than simply providing a decent analysis of the days play they've just seen. 'Sidebottom plays his county cricket for Nottinghamshire, a county irrevocably scarred by the actions of the scabs - heirs to Judas Iscariot the lot of them, who sold out the brave legions of the NUM by crossing picket lines during the 1984 Miners Strike' Actually I made that up, but you get the idea. You agree with the sentiment, well - I do, but you're left wondering what on earth it's got to do with an article about quick bowling.

Their coverage of the county championship veers from 'desultory' to 'f*** all' depending on how much coverage they're giving the last Premiership transfer rumours.

Sometimes, though, they do pull the odd rabbit out of the hat, like these descriptions from the special 'Ashes Pull Out' from todays paper -

- Alistair Cook is the one who has the look of an ever-so-slightly deviant choirboy.

- KP is the one who challenges stereotypes about masculinity and campness by blending them all into one strapping lump of charisma.

(True story - At The Oval test in 2005, my wife and I were sitting next to Stephen Fry. We exchanged the usual pleasantries whilst a few people sitting round us asked for autographs -his, not ours. When KP walked out to bat just before lunch, my wife said to Fry that she didn't realise Kev was so big, having only ever seen him on TV. Fry leaned over, and in a conspiratorial tone, said 'Well, I wouldn't kick him out of bed!')

- Andrew Strauss is the one who would come across as posh, even if he was wearing a shell suit and had an Embassy Regal dangling from his mouth.

- Matt Prior has the unsettling appearance of a villian in a dystopian horror movie.

And, the best of all -

- Tim Bresnan looks as though he's won a pub raffle to play for England.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Guardian's coverage in 2005 was actually pretty good, not least of which was Gideon Haigh's diary.

Does anyone know for whom he is writing this summer ?


Miles Down-Legside