On the Front Foot: BBC should still act over thoughtless Boycott

In the wake of Michael Yardy leaving the World Cup because of depression, some deeply unfortunate comments were made by Geoffrey Boycott. These were rightly castigated by everybody else in cricket, whether current players, former players or reporters.

So far, Boycott has escaped censure by his employers for his remarks on BBC Five Live which, if not malicious, were certainly thoughtless. In every ill-conceived word he implied that Yardy was suffering because he was not a very good cricketer. Here is a sample.

"I'm surprised, very surprised," Boycott said. "But he must have been reading my comments about his bowling, it must have upset him. Obviously it was too much for him at this level. If any blame is attached, it's partly to the selectors because, I'm sorry, he's not good enough at this level."

Talking about the apportionment of blame, some must be attached to the BBC for supposing that their Test Match Special summariser and former Test opening batsman was in any way equipped either medically or compassionately to speak on the subject.

The talk, as it always does, eventually got round to Boycott, and how he never suffered because he was always good enough to get in the team. All this ignored the fact that Yardy is a good cricketer (not a great one) who is the captain of Sussex, has made the very best of the talents at his disposal and played a part in England's World Twenty20 triumph last year. His bowling is not to everybody's liking but it is serviceable in some forms of the game, as Boycott should have known, and he was part of England's only victory in a major limited-overs competition, something Boycott never was.

Andrew Strauss, England's captain, went as far as he could in criticising Boycott. "It just showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. To link it in any way to how he has performed in the World Cup is a long way wide of the mark. We were disappointed with those comments."

Privately, players are seething. Later that day, Boycott, again thoughtlessly, called the commentator Simon Mann a wally when a lizard invaded the commentary box and caused Mann some consternation. Draw your own conclusion as to whom the epithet might be best applied.

As with Yardy's bowling, Boycott's hectoring summarising style is not to all tastes. The BBC have not acted yet, as they ought to have done, but Boycott will find his position under continuing scrutiny from now on and may eventually find it untenable.

Murali records safe

Muttiah Muralitharan is leaving the international stage after this World Cup with all the wicket-taking records in his possession. He has 800 Test wickets, 455 more than anybody else still playing, Daniel Vettori, and 530 of the one-day variety, 217 more than anybody still playing, Shahid Afridi.

Records are made to be broken but it may take a little while.

Punter may be pushed

Where do these things come from? It was all over one of the papers last week that Ricky Ponting would be retiring after the World Cup.

Cracking stuff and, at 36, maybe not entirely a shock. But Ponting has repeatedly said he wants to continue playing, he said it after the misguided story and he said it again after Australia's World Cup defeat in which he scored one of the great battling centuries.

You read it here: Ricky Ponting is not retiring. He may be sacked but he is not retiring.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain