People like Warne the bowler, not the commentator

January 3rd, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 3 (IANS) In an overwhelming response, Australian cricket lovers voted that spin wizard Shane Warne is not as good with the commentator’s microphone as he was with the cricket ball. People watching Channel Nine’s telecast of the South Africa-Australia cricket Test this week at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) were asked to vote on the question whether Warne was likely to prove as good a TV commentator as he was a bowler. In response 73 percent said no.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that reasons behind Warne’s lack of popularity as a commentator could be that the bowler does not have a distinctive voice; so, unless he’s visible on-camera, viewers cannot be sure it’s him speaking.

“Personally, I had trouble telling him from Michael Slater. Slater has a more educated voice than Warne, but they’ve got the same sort of cadence and the same hard A vowel. I’d put a camera on Warne, and whenever they ask him for a comment I’d let the viewers see him. That way, viewers would start recognising his voice,” one leading light in sports broadcasting said.

The daily went on to add that another criticism is that Warne laughs too often, perhaps believing viewers expect him to live up to his larrikin image.

“In many of the things he did, he tried to be funny. I’d be telling him to forget that. ‘Just give us colour, Warney, and if you’ve got a good story to tell then tell it. But don’t try to be funny, because it’s not your bag. You’re not Kerry O’Keeffe,” the sports broadcaster added.

“Warne’s biggest asset is his enormous credibility, based on the fact he’s one of the greatest bowlers the world has seen, and this is what he should be capitalising on. When he says what he thinks about Nathan Hauritz’s bowling, we sit up and listen. He has value. He’s got a nice smile and a kind face and he comes across as a nice bloke.”

But the newspaper also said that as per general perception Warne on the screen is credible and likeable, even if he has plenty to learn about the commentator’s job.

“Warne is a good communicator. He can string words together. His stuff on-camera down on the field with Mark Nicholas is very good. They ask him for an expert opinion, and he gives it. He’s really an interviewee in this situation, and he’s very good at it. As a commentator, though, you’re expected to lead, to call what you see, which is a very different role that Warne’s not yet comfortable in,” a sports executive from a rival network was quoted as saying.

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