Like many cricket fans who tune in from abroad to watch Australia's home tests the enjoyment of watching the cricket is spoiled somewhat by the double-edged sword that is the pathetically jingoistic Channel 9 cheerleaders squad.
This Australian summer has seen the quality of the commentary plunge to new levels of awfulness, so the Reverse Sweep decided to investigate. And lo and behold we have managed to procure a secret Channel 9 document that provides guidance to its team and as such gives damning evidence as to why the 'commentary' team is the worst in TV sporting history.
It's not a very long document with the reasoning seeming to be that the assorted members of the team aren't going to trouble Mensa, so the guidelines need to be concise in order that they are strictly followed. And here exclusively are the guidlines.
TOP SECRET, EYES ONLY: Guidelines for Channel 9 cricket commentary team
Commentary style - Your role is not to provide impartial commentary on the cricket but to act as cheerleaders for the Australian cricket team. Therefore, please refer to the players by their affectionate nicknames such as Punter, Dougie and Pup, and on no account criticise any of the team, so Hauritz is a worthy successor to Warne and not a crap off-spinner who would struggle in grade cricket.
Don't talk about the cricket - The cricket is actually incidental to your main role as cheerleaders (see above), advertisers (see Sponsors) and to spout nonsense (see Individual Styles).
Richie Benaud - Richie is the only commentator who is allowed to provide any sort of insight into what is happening on the field. Therefore, please avoid providing any insightful comments at all.
Sponsors - Please promote these at any opportunity especially KFC, Gatorade and the Cricket Travel Agency. The sponsors are far more important than the cricket - please remember that. So if their is a wicket, don't talk about what happened just focus on the player wearing the Gatorade heart monitor.
Bill Lawry - Bill is your barometer, If you plunge to the depths of his commentary 'ability' then you will be sacked. Please humour his constant references to the crowd "lovin' it" and his generalisations about any opponent Australia is playing.
Replays - This is the only time you talk about the action. Your role is to talk through fifteen replays of each incident always prmoting the power of television.
The Opposition - Don't talk about Australia's opponents unless you are criticising and/or making generalisations (preferably borderline racist) about them. If the opponents are on top you must always talk about how the Aussies are going to turn it around. On no account praise the opposition.
Individual Styles - Each of you should also follow these individual styles in addition to the above:
Ian Chappell - Please only talk about how much better things were in the 70s when you were captain i.e. be yourself.
Tony Grieg - In everything you say you must hark back to WSC and continually promote the use of technology. Ultimately, your arm is that television controls everything - the toss, bowling changes, field positions, shot selection, even the weather etc.
Mark Nicholas - As the token Pom you must live up to all the Australian generalisations of your motherland i.e. be pompous, spout utter crap and be ever so creepy.
Ian Healy - You are the joker of the pack except on no account are you allowed to be funny. Your special role with regards to the sponsors is to always talk about how much you love KFC you fat b***ard.
Tubby Taylor - You must laugh at Healy's jokes no matter how bad they are and always link them back to your playing days. Apart from that please say nothing.
Michael Slater - Your role is to relay the inane conversations you have had with Ponting, Hussey and other members of the Aussie side before play during the action in a sickeningly gushing way. It is even better if you speak about these chats at completely inappropriate times during the day's play.
Richie Benaud - Don't forget to take your Sanatogen and please always use 50 words when only 10 would be necessary.
Bill Lawry - Your mission is to be the worst commentator in cricket history. And to get worse every day. Please keep talkng about the crowd at all times. Even if the Aussies run a single you say 'the crowd are lovin' it".
Heroes: Tony Greig
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