Commentators for The Hundred will be told to tone down traditional cricketing phrases and explain words such as yorker, googly and bouncer as broadcasters adapt to a new audience.
Both Sky and the BBC will advise commentators to be aware of the fact viewers may never have seen the game before and to be careful not to slip into cricket specific language. The likes of yorker, googly and bouncer will not be banned but will need careful explanation.
“Elite sport is at the heart of this. Getting the balance right between the new audience and existing cricket fan is really difficult,” Bryan Henderson, Sky’s head of cricket, told Telegraph Sport. “We veer towards more coverage of elite sport (than the BBC) but what we want to get away from is dressing room speak. Terminology like ‘bowling it into the pitch’ might need more of an explanation and commentators might have to challenge each other a bit. But we don’t want to dumb down. It is about simplifying the game but keeping it classy."
Commentators will talk about ‘wickets’ but have been asked not to say ‘over’ while the description of the score will also change when the tournament launches at the Oval on Wednesday with a women’s match between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals. The men’s competition starts on Thursday at the same venue, with the same teams.
"The currency of conversation is runs and balls,” said Henderson. “First innings it will be runs scored, balls faced. Second innings, it will be runs required and balls left so you will not hear things like 130 for two. It is going to be much more ‘London Spirit have scored 100 off 60 balls’. That is a slight shift. The word over remains in the playing conditions because of laws of the game but it is not going to be used much or at all in presentation on television. It will be ‘change of end’. But that is it really.”
Sky and the ECB have also launched what they described as an “industry first augmented reality experience” that will see fans able to download avatars of the players on the Hundred or Sky app. Supporters will also be able to vote for the “hero of the match” (rather than player of the match) via the app too.