New Zealand's Doug Bracewell appeals unsuccessfully for the
wicket of South Africa's Henry Davids during the first T20
match in Durban. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Sky's cricket commentators have been told they must be
nice to the Black Caps and are not to regurgitate their
The controversy surrounding the sacking of captain Ross
Taylor has fired up debate for the summer game but fans
expecting Sky commentators to weigh in will be waiting a long
time, the company says.
"We don't put down sporting codes because we're in the
business of promoting sport," Sky spokeswoman Kirsty Way
Sky and New Zealand Cricket had a business partnership, she
said. "It's natural for our commentators to promote our
The comment was made ahead of a thrashing by South Africa in
the first Twenty20 international, overnight Friday. They were
defeated by eight wickets with 47 balls to spare.
Former New Zealand cricketer and commentator John "Mystery"
Morrison said Sky's policy was "pathetic". "The day that
people don't debate and argue these issues will be a sad day
for the game," he said.
He said commentators should be allowed to voice their passion
and interest and scrutinise the game.
"It's totally irresponsible to ask commentators to just be
cheerleaders. I think that's been a trend in recent times and
it's dumbed the game down."
Cricket has been rocked by heated debates over Taylor's
demotion, including a false report that legendary batsman
Martin Crowe burned his NZ Cricket blazer in disgust.
Morrison said real events should not be ignored. "I know Sky
has a business relationship with NZ Cricket but I think they
let the game down if they just ra-ra it because, in actual
fact, it deserves a lot of scrutiny at the moment."
Way said the rule applied to all sporting codes and Sky liked
to have a "balanced commentary". But she admitted the
definition of criticism was subjective. She said commentators
were happy with the policy. "It's just ingrained in all of
our people naturally."
Sky commentator Simon Doull said he hadn't been gagged. Craig
McMillan, Mark Richardson and Ian Smith declined to comment
or return calls.
- Herald on Sunday