Robin Scott-Elliot: Greig's a tasty addition to Sky team but Beefy is a crusty curmudgeon

View From The Sofa: Cricket, Sky / TwentyTwelve, BBC 2

Brian Blessed, I discovered last week while watching the 786th repeat of QI on Dave, once sparred with the Dalai Lama, apparently a keen pugilist. The two met after one of the actor's failed attempts to climb Everest. According to Blessed, the Brian one, they swapped numbers and have stayed in touch, conjuring images of a bruised Blessed leaving his new friend's mountain retreat, bunching his hand into the shape of a phone and yelling: "Dalai, call me." The second most rewarding pairing of the week came in Galle where Tony Greig and Ian Botham were rostered together in the Sky commentary box.

Is there room in the one box for two former England all-rounders who are to self-confidence what Blessed is to gusto? Greig is usually to be found squeezed into an Australian commentary box where it's necessary to shout to be heard. Unlike Sky, who are happily not afraid of silence, the Australians like to have three former Test players on mic at once, which ensures there is never dead air. Greig has always been a shouty commentator, and has always been up in the box since I started watching cricket. His cry, in a guttural Aussie-South African-English, of "got 'im" resonated over many dismissed Englishmen as they trudged back to Australian pavilions during the dark days of Baggy Green domination.

Botham has become the on-sight curmudgeon now that Bob Willis is consigned to the studio (seemingly condemned forever to sit hawkishly in a chair that is too small for him). But there's no harm in that (in Botham being a curmudgeon – there is potential harm in squeezing Willis into a little seat). Greig's addition worked because he is different again to the rest. There was one key player sadly missing. Ian Ward lacks the warmth, charm and class of David Gower. He does, though, manage to ask questions of his guests or make points in less than 1,000 words, which gives more time for Willis to make observations such as Andrew Strauss gave up the one-day captaincy because he was "henpecked at home".

That's not a problem Ian Fletcher, the head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, suffers with as his wife has thrown him out. Twenty Twelve, the (just about) fictional take on London 2012, returned last week with the first of a two-parter on a brewing row over the Shared Belief Centre at the Olympic Park. Algeria and Morocco are threatening to boycott the Games unless a mosque is built, with the French threatening a counter-boycott if any mosque-type concessions are made. "Multi-culturality is the centre pole in the 2012 tent, which we think is a pretty impressive tent in its own right, but also of London's tent and some would say it's what keeps Britain's tent up today, in fact without that pole, it could be argued, there would not be a centre at all. So that's all good and we take that thought going forward in consultation with our belief partners as we tension the last few guy ropes and tighten the canvas of our plans," said Fletcher. Roll on part two.

Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen