Taking the mic: Live and direct from the Royton Riviera with Jack Dearden

Having a ball – providing it’s free to air television?

AT the time of writing there are two World Cups currently taking place: cricket and women’s football.

Jack Dearden, BBC Radio Manchester host

Be honest – which one are you more aware of?

One is free to air on the BBC – admittedly supported by licence fee payers – the other isn’t.

Yes, I know it might not be the best time to mention the licence fee and I have absolutely no gripe at all with Sky.

They raised the bar in my opinion when they first appeared on the scene and other broadcasters have upped their game.

Surely though the fundamental aim of any governing body of any sport (England and Wales Cricket Board) is to encourage as many people as possible to play your sport.

It’s the first Cricket World Cup in this country for the last two decades. So, don’t make it inconspicuous.

The quality of coverage isn’t in doubt. It is very good and maybe only subscription television could provide the coverage demanded which other terrestrial television would find difficult to fit into their schedules.

If you aren’t a Sky subscriber would you know it’s taking place?

What happens if you are an 11-year-old maybe the next generation of a cricket supporter and you don’t have Sky ?

It’s a big call for me to sell your sporting soul. Maybe, I’m old fashioned but sport, any sport, wasn’t invented for Chief Executives and lots of other people to make money. That isn’t the reason sport exists.

I’m aware you can view the highlights on Channel 4, but if you’re really serious about promoting your sport surely the best way is to make it free to air?

I’m sure Sky will come under pressure to make the Cricket World Cup final free to air and I’d hazard a guess it’s likely to happen.

For the record 6.1 million people watched England women’s football World Cup game against Scotland.

In other news what a load of bails cricket has become. No, you haven’t misread it. We are actually talking bails – new ones that is.

There’s one easy way for the bowler to get the batsman out in a cricket match: hit the stumps.

However, that hasn’t always been the case in this World Cup. Five times in 13 games since the tournament started a bowler has hit the stumps and the electronic ‘zing’ bails have lit up but stayed firmly in place.

Australia opener David Warner was one of those to be given a lucky escape when he edged India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah on to his leg stump and the bails didn’t move a jot.

India captain Virat Kohli was suitably unimpressed: said: “You literally have to smash the stumps really hard to knock them out. These are fast bowlers; these are not medium-pace bowlers.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan described it as “ridiculous” on Test Match Special.

“It’s 80-odd miles per hour and it has hit leg stump,” he said.

“If you’re not getting out when you’re getting bowled, it’s a concern.”

My mate Vernon who is a big cricket fan, reckons the reason is the grooves in the top of stumps are too wide, therefore the bails remain in place, even when the wicket is struck. Whatever the reason it’s just not cricket is it ?

Speaking of unusual happenings. Latics have a new manager Laurent Banide.

He’s 51, French and has managed Monaco (and Al-Kuwait, Al-Dhafra, Al-Nasr, Al-Kharitiyath, Al-Dhafra (again), Al-Wasl, Al-Orobah, Al-Kuwait (again) and Umm Salal SC.

If you check out reaction on social media it’s fair to say it’s not a decision which has universal approval – as yet. But let’s at least wait and see.

I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined still look both ways before they cross the street.

However, can’t wait to see Laurent Banide on the touchline on a cold night in February.

Actually, as it’s Boundary Park or Ice Station Zebra we might not have to wait until February.

Here’s my one piece of advice: ‘Laurent, pack a scarf it will come in handy.

“On reflection, you might need it for the pre-season games!

Yours in sport,

You can hear me on BBC Radio Manchester and find me on Twitter @TheJackDearden

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