Whatever happened to cricket commentary?


It’s no fun listening to cricket commentary by the new crop of West Indian commentators. If you are a cricket fan your alternatives are to either tolerate the cringing and sustained attack on your sensibilities or watch the cricket on mute.

Just a few linguistic gems that come to mind:

  • We saw him did
  • Fine leg and short leg is
  • He is a good debt
  • Just short of a good lengtt.
  • The bowler gave him too much witt.
  • The feeler was not in the right position.
  • Things have changed since the pandamic.

As if these offences were not grievous enough, we have also had to contend with the voice and hair style of a certain Curtley Ambrose, who neither looks the part nor fits the bill. Over in England Darren Sammy has been doing TV commentary on The Hundred, (how did he get there?), and he repeatedly talks about the inning, instead of innings. Hell, is it a West Indian thing?

These commentaries are listened to all over the world.

A few questions: who selects our commentators? What prerequisites should potential commentators have before qualifying as commentators, and being unleashed on the helpless listeners? Is a facility with the English language one of these prerequisites? Why do almost all of them seem to be coming from one particular Caribbean country?

Surely we can do much better, can’t we? I recall listening to commentary on the most recent series involving our women cricketers and being impressed by at least two of the commentators, (one of whom, incidentally, happened to be the son of Viv Richards). And I thought: the cupboard isn’t bare. We can do better – if only we made the effort to seek them out.

The quality of cricket commentary from the West Indies appears to have fallen pari passu with the standard of our cricket. Mediocrity has become the standard. As we work to return our cricket to the standards of old, perhaps we can also pay attention to the standard of our cricket commentary?


Dancea Lipson

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  1. XTE
    August 16, 2021

    I couldn’t agree more with this article.

  2. LawieBawie
    August 16, 2021

    I’m in total agreement with you mate.

  3. August 16, 2021

    We have lost all the greats, Tony Cozier of Barbados, Reds Perriera of Guyana, Roy Lawrence of Jamaica, Leslie Seon of Grenada, Tony Williams of Trinidad and our very own Dr. Jeff Charles. These great guys will never be replaced and can never be replaced. It’s like our cricketers of the 60s, 70s and 80s. We just don’t have this type of cricketers anymore. It is a sad commentary. The only thing today that has bettered yesterdays are our cricket stadiums. Nothing else stands out. Look at our Winward Islands and Leeward Islands cricket tournaments today, from four glorious days before to two sorry days. It is a big shame. And the beat goes on and on.

    • Ibo France
      August 16, 2021

      You are stating that all the renowned commentators that you have named are irreplaceable. Do you know where many irreplaceable people re? In the cemetery. No human being is irreplaceable no matter how great or intelligent the/she is. Let’s take athletics just for argument sake. Some of the records that were set yesteryear many believed that could never be broken.

  4. Calibishie Warrior
    August 16, 2021

    Perhaps I may offer an alternative view while not disagreeing with you entirely. Cricket (as well as other sports) are now commentated upon by people from all over the world and certainly all over the Caribbean and they will have different accents which will make words sound different from received pronunciation from the home counties in England. And that is a good thing. It gives the listener an appreciation of the universality of sport. Even in the UK the BBC has moved to have different regional accents on its commentaries which has given rise to (IMHO) unjustified criticism. Furthermore the tendency of broadcasters to use ex top performers (who may have spent their youth learning their craft rather than academics or elocution) to add colour to commentary is of benefit to the listener to help to understand the action from the viewpoint of on who has done it. I enjoy it.

  5. Channel 1
    August 16, 2021

    Cricket commentary has allowed the politically correct ‘woke’ gender neutral absurdity movement to contaminate it. Imagine a match is being played with men and the commentators – whether forced or not – have seemingly replaced the word batsman with batter in an effort to eliminate gender-specific words from the game it seems. This world is just getting plain out mad.

    The word batter sounds so weird.

    When men are playing a cricket match, what is wrong with continuing to say batsman or batsmen and when women are playing, saying batswoman or batswomen?

  6. Former cricketer
    August 15, 2021

    Maybe you should get Ossie Lewis, Sybo and Loblack to replace them. I just don’t know who would listen to them, apart from their UWP fans that like to hear them criticize Bravo, commentators and Skerrit on the thing they call sports wrap.

    • August 16, 2021

      Ossie Lewis has been cricket commentating for decades and has never shown any improvement. That is a dead horse. Number one, he does not have that commentary voice, number 2, he lacks the flair for words in his commentaries. He is totally hopeless. I don’t think Sebo is any better either from what I have heard. We have just lost the glory days of Jeff Charles. He was the man of the hour.

  7. As I see it
    August 15, 2021

    I don’t know who Dancea Lipson is or where that person is from but to me that person is chose to hit a very soft target instead of the real issue. What is wrong with Darren Sammy, a former West Indies test captain commentating in England? What should Curtly Ambrose hair style prevent him from many years of experience to the game that we all love? Who cares about which island the commentators from? Why are you so concerned about the standard of commentary and not about the standard of cricket in Dominica where we don’t see cricket at all? Why not complain about how Skerrit has killed cricket here just as his corrupt colleagues in the region have killed cricket in their island? I am not saying our current crop of commentators are the best we have produced but at the same time I am happy a few of our former cricketers are still sharing their knowledge and experience to the game they once played. Can you imagine where cricket would be today if they too had taken a back seat?

    • August 17, 2021

      Did Skerrit take your bat from your hand? Did he take the ball from your hand? Did he pass a law in Dominica prohibiting cricket on the island? How did he kill it? With a bow and arrow? I guess you have no knowledge and experience of the game except Skerrit kill cricket? What else did Skerrit kill? I hope he kills that nonsense spewing from your mouth one day. Think for yourself and stop barking what you hear other UWP IGNORAMUSES say. Do you know how to hold a cricket bat? As I see it through your old, fake glasses.

  8. Zandoli
    August 15, 2021

    So you would rather have someone who speak perfect English than someone who know the game?
    I played cricket for the better part of 50 years and I am quite happy with the quality of our commentators. That is coming from someone who is easily turned off by prople with poor language skills.
    Ian Bishop knows the game and also has excellent command of English.
    I do get annoyed by the pronunciation of some words by Darren Ganga, but not to the extent that would cause me to mute my TV. He tends to drop the “H” in words with “TH”. But that is a Trinidadian thing, the same way Dominicans insert “EE” in place of an “I”. Reever instead of River comes to mind.

  9. Ibo France
    August 15, 2021

    Yes, some of the commentators of today do not have a good command of the English language. However, I listened to two of our own commentators from Grenada just recently. These two were exceptionally brilliant. The situation is not as dire as you have made it out to be but there is cause for concern.

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