TBEN’s decision to cover England’s tour of Pakistan was remotely branded a ‘scandal’


The TBEN faced furious criticism on Sunday night after it decided not to send a commentary team to cover England’s first tour to Pakistan in 17 years. It is clear that a combination of cost savings and security protocols underpin the decision.

Test Match Special, cricket’s flagship, will instead call the action on television footage from a studio in Salford.

Julian Knight MP, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee, told the Sunday Telegraph: “It is a scandal that the first series in Pakistan will not be properly covered for nearly a generation. always cost cutting, but while they waste huge sums on the likes of Gary Lineker and moan under the weight of middle managers there is no way they can be taken seriously.

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It comes as another blow to traditional listeners after the TBEN announced the closure of Radio 4 Long Wave earlier this summer, meaning TMS will only be available through digital platforms in the future, despite millions not having access to it. .

Henry Blofeld, a TMS commentator for 45 years until his retirement in 2017, deplored the TBEN’s failure to send to Pakistan as “very sad”.

“Is it a matter of TBEN cuts? Is it a matter of security? It is a matter of difficulty to get the cooperation of the broadcasting authorities there?

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“We live in a time where everything is much tighter. It’s very sad, but it’s a matter of housekeeping, isn’t it?”

The TBEN hopes to send their usual commentary team in December to cover the test series in Pakistan. They also have rights to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

The TBEN has lost the overseas rights to Talksport in recent years to focus instead on ICC events and the Ashes in Australia.

Talksport had rights to the tour from England to the West Indies in March and also did not send a full commentary team, but relied on the action being called from home with input from the ground.

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Sky takes the international feed with their staff commentator Mark Butcher analyzing England from Pakistan. David Gower will be covering the series as one of the commentators for the host broadcaster, meaning he will be back on Sky for the first time since his contract was not renewed in 2019.

The Sunday Telegraph has approached the TBEN for comment.

Meanwhile, Matthew Mott, the head coach of the one-day team, has insisted that Ben Stokes and Alex Hales don’t have to be “best friends” to help England win next month’s World Cup.