April 25, 2015
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I am currently trying to recuperate from a period of depression and anxiety. One of the therapies I use to help my condition is to listen to Test Match Special on the BBC.
I support Yorkshire and England. I have been to Headingley a few times, to watch England.
Test Match Special is outstandingly the best sport commentary programme I have ever heard. To compare TMS to almost any other sport programme is like comparing Shakespeare with some leaflet that came through your letterbox.
The art lies in knowing what to say next.
A football match lasts for 90 minutes, and the people who commentate frequently have to resort to clichés.
A game of test match cricket lasts for five days. It may be subject to interruptions for rain or bad light, but the people (both men and women) who commentate on it have to keep going.
To do this, they have to have knowledge of their subject. They have to have respect for each other. They have to have a certain amount of verbal dexterity. They have to be able to talk about things that have nothing to do with cricket, when required.
The period of depression and anxiety I am currently experiencing is not the first. During an earlier one, I heard Jonathan Agnew say the following about umpire Steve Bucknor.
“Umpire Bucknor has an incredible passion for takeaway food. Every time I see him at the hotel, he is surrounded by great, steaming packets of fish and chips, and Chinese takeaway.”
Never mind the fact that Steven Finn is the youngest England bowler to take 50 test wickets, or James Anderson has broken Sir Ian Botham’s record, or Joe Root is the second-youngest England batsman to score 2000 test runs, the youngest being his captain, Alastair Cook.
The stuff about umpire Bucknor’s takeaway food has kept me alive.
While you are commentating on cricket, you are also saving lives.