It seems almost a heresy to even think this but after listening on and off to the Test Match Special coverage of the opening day of the first test of the summer I’m pretty disturbed by the underlying attitude of the programme to county cricket.
I may be being oversensitive and overreacting to a few isolated comments but I don’t think so.
Let me say at the outset that it upsets me greatly to be even mildly critical of this wonderful programme that has been woven into every one of my summers for the last 47 years since my Dad introduced me to TMS, coincidentally during the first test of the summer of 1971 against Pakistan.
But this needs to be said. County cricket may not be of the elite standard of Test cricket (although I’d fancy a good few of the current Division One sides to give this current England team a serious examination) but county cricket is alive, well and widely supported. And ironically covered exceptionally well by the BBC across the regions. Somerset’s Anthony Gibson is one of many superb commentators who blend their love of their counties with top-notch broadcasting skills and a deep-rooted love of cricket itself.
Commentators such as Martin Emerson, Dave Bracegirdle and the much-missed Dave Callaghan are peerless companions throughout my summer and long may it continue
So to hear Geoffrey Boycott dismiss county cricket with an “I don’t watch it”, James Vince’s splendid match saving double-hundred at Taunton as being compiled “at Old Trafford or somewhere like that” and Phil Tufnell’s surprise that Dom Bess can actually land it on the cut strip offends.
I’m not asking for the occupants of the TMS box to go to county cricket regularly, but it wouldn’t hurt them to tune in to the BBC coverage of their own county from time to time to embrace the competitions which, many many thousands like me, do on a daily basis throughout the season. The county championship, in particular, is a thing to cherish and is the heart and soul of professional cricket in this country.
If the TMS production team need evidence of how much the county game means to so many I suggest they have a look at the figures Somerset published recently on the level of social media engagements and live stream views in the early part of the season.
I’ll still tune in at every possible opportunity to TMS because it is a huge part of my life and something I cannot do without. But today BBC Somerset’s coverage of Essex v Somerset in the RLODC takes preference. Sorry TMS