David Lloyd was a joyous antidote to today’s bland commentators – Sky and the BBC need more pundits like him, not fewer

Test Match Special has nothing to boast about either: it is held together by the magnificent professionalism and character of Jonathan Agnew, and if he were to leave then the exercise would become pointless. Soon, if the pitiful quality of our cricket isn’t sufficient to drive people away, the tedious and shallow quality of the commentary will do it.

Lloyd is nearly 75, and perhaps age was a consideration in his decision. One hopes Sky were not stupid enough to push him. ‘Johnners’ was commentating into his eighties, and ‘Blowers’ almost to that age: we all thought ‘Bumble’ had a few years in him yet. 

A successful commentary team requires a selection of voices – male and female – of different accents, backgrounds and types. TMS especially has in recent years sounded increasingly like a PE masters’ and mistresses’ convention, with all the colour and flavour one would expect of such a gathering. Both Sky and the BBC need to cast the net more widely, and establish true diversity – with some people over the age of 50, and some who do sound as though they have just come off the sharp end of a grouse moor; and, despite the excellence of Lloyd, Agnew, Atherton and others, to remember that one does not need to have played first-class cricket to be able to describe it in the most brilliant terms. Arlott and Johnston managed all right. 

But perhaps in an age when Test cricket appears to be dying, and a form of the game few of us recognise as genuinely being cricket is in the ascendant, staffing commentary teams with people who sound as though they’ve just been dragged at random off the floor of a supermarket is, indeed, the way forward.

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