Former England great Geoffrey Boycott landed in a fresh controversy over his remarks on women giving expert analysis on men’s cricket in the commentary box.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the former batsman said that those who didn’t play at the highest level should have no business in the commentary box and that includes women since ‘their game bears no resemblance to the power and pace of men’s cricket.’
Citing examples of Gabby Logan, Alison Mitchell and Clare Balding Boycott said that he considered them as excellent presenters but claimed that they shouldn’t be providing expert analysis.
“Many people do not understand there are two types of commentators. There is the one that sets the scene and calls the ball-by-ball play and there is another who gives expert opinion and analysis,” said Boycott.
“You do not have to have played top cricket to be a great ball-by-ball commentator. But to provide expert analysis you need to have experienced the heat of Test cricket and understand what it takes to succeed.”
“You have to know the pressure, emotions and technique required and I do not believe you can learn that from reading a book or because you played club cricket, second XI cricket or, with great respect, women’s cricket. As good as the women are at their game, it bears no resemblance to the power and pace of men’s cricket,” he said.
Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar slammed the Englishman for his comments, saying that women cricketers hold a better strike than what Boycott managed in his career.
She was quoted by Sydney Morning Herald as saying, “It’s time for him to leave the game and let’s remember him as a great cricketer of a certain generation. Talk about power – I didn’t see much power that he displayed. Let’s call up his strike rate and look at some of the numbers compared to female Test cricketers of even that generation. I think some of the female cricketers would have had a better strike rate than he did.”
“It, obviously, helps to have been in similar situations to then go: ‘This is what the players might be thinking’. But the thought process and how people play the game is still exactly the same whether you play men’s cricket or women’s cricket.”
Sthalekar further questioned why similar logic is not used for men commentating women’s games. “The same argument for him is that we shouldn’t have any males commentating on our game because they have never played against females. But that is not what we (cricket) are about,” she said.
“It’s got nothing to do with power. The other thing as well, and this is for guys as women’s cricket is pretty cool and sexy at the moment, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but we need to remember that we don’t need guys coming in asking women to compare it to men’s because it is not. It is different.” she added
Boycott, who is 79, recently ended his 14-year long association with BBC’s Test Match Special commentary team citing concerns arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Former England international Isa Guha is the new face of the BBC’s cricket coverage.
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