Good news – TV viewers in Britain will be able to watch an hour of Ashes highlights on free-to-air television, every day of the series.
ITV yesterday announced they’d secured the rights to the coverage, which will be screened on ITV4, so you’ll need to have Freeview or other digital service to get access.
The idea of cricket on ITV still seems a bit weird, even though the commercial channel covered the IPL earlier this year.
But their coverage should feel very familiar, as it’ll be hosted by Britain’s Best Dish presenter, and not-quite-good-enough- for-England former Hampshire captain, Mark Nicholas.
The actual commentary will come from Australia’s Channel 9, with their traditional cast of Bill “he’s a hero” Lawry, Tony “telecast” Greig, and the animated duck. Personally, watching Channel 9 is a kind of guilty pleasure I look forward to every four years – and I suspect I’m not the only one.
Anything will be an improvement on the BBC’s disastrous Ashes highlights effort in 2006/7, which was thoughtfully transmitted at midnight, just as the next day’s play was getting underway.
Worse, it was presented by Manish Bhasin, a faintly ludicrous fourteen year old who’d seemingly researched the laws of cricket from the back of a very small fag packet. The only – perverse – enjoyment lay in watching Geoffrey Boycott become increasingly exasperated by his idiotic questions. To adapt one of the great man’s phrases, my mum could have done a better job.