So I’m reading BBC Sport this morning and an article caught my eye about Kevin Pietersen joining TMS for the World Cup and I shook my head in despair. I have no particular issue with KP but it just goes to show that when it comes to broadcasting, stations often prefer to go with the ‘name’ instead of the person best suited to the job.
When Sky Sports decided to bring in Andrew Strauss for England Test Matches, it was just more of the same. Strauss is a very poor pundit and has not developed at all in the years since he first became part of Sky’s top tier.
KP had a brief go at commentating during the Big Bash. I adored the Big Bash and found the level of cricket and the level of coverage first rate (although the constant promos and discussions for who the Australian cricket player going into the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here did seem to be flogging that horse one too many times). In a game he he chomping at the bit to get in the booth and after a bit of a batting collapse, he came in before his planned time.
Now the Big Bash had four guest appearances this season from what I saw. Sir Viv, who is an absolute legend and one of the greats of the game has been involved in BBL coverage for a while and whilst he’s great, he’s not a great voice. Andrew Flintoff was involved in the BBL this year and was fantastic and a natural behind the microphone. If Sky wanted to add a younger voice to its team (and kicking out Strauss) then they could do a lot worse than Flintoff. He would be tremendous if involved in the T20. Bumble did a guest stint as well and was typically great. Then we get to KP…
He came in like an over excitable schoolboy giggling at everything he said. Laughing at your own jokes is bad enough but laughing at everything you just say is poor. He was ‘interviewed’ by Ricky Ponting and I think it is fair to say that only one of the two came out with any credit and it wasn’t the English batsman. He circled around issues and never seemed comfortable. It wasn’t car crash TV but it was certainly the low point of the whole coverage of the Big Bash and his performance in the booth was the worst of all the commentators by a significant margin.
I just wonder why TMS (and Sky with Strauss) value the name over the actual quality. Yes of course some pundits can get better with time but TMS has many pundits who can do a good job on radio but they felt the need to get a big name to bring something extra to their coverage. They are wrong. They didn’t. TMS has such a good reputation for putting out excellent coverage of cricket with good play-by-play voices and good pundits.
In the Press Release linked to earlier, they listed some of the names who KP will be joining and they include people who have developed and become very good at punditry. KP never seemed like a natural pundit when he was playing and on the brief occasions I’ve heard him, he hasn’t impressed either. To be good at this job you need to be either insightful, engaging or funny and preferably a good mix of all three. KP isn’t and nor is Andrew Strauss. This is just another case of the value of a name instead of adding quality to the broadcast and for that, the BBC should be disappointed in itself.
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