Trouble sleeping? Try listening to the Ashes coverage

I found myself tuning in to the live coverage in the dog hours of the night, and found it very comforting

Share
Related Topics

Only the very blessed will not be familiar with the unforgiving hours in the middle of the night when, for a variety of reasons - physical or emotional - we find ourselves awake. These are times of self-doubt, paranoia, and anxiety, when the demons arrive and it's possible to feel friendless and alone.

For the next few months, however, there's a very quick remedy. Instead of lying awake, restless, trying to repel the dark thoughts, I'd suggest turning on a radio, TV or iPad in order to be soothed by familiar voices earnestly discussing a mixture of the trivial, the banal and the arcane. Don't even think about counting sheep: the sounds and the rhythms of Test match cricket are much more effectively soporific.

I'm not being entirely serious, but on the first day (or, for us, night) of the Ashes series between Australia and England in Brisbane, I did find myself tuning in to the live coverage in the dog hours of the night, and very comforting it was, too. Even (or possibly especially) if you don't really care about Test cricket, it can be a delight to watch or listen to, and the fact that it unfolds over many, many hours - like the Ring Cycle with helmets and pads  - means that there is more than the occasional longeur, a time to be filled with flights of fancy and discussions about anything from the cloud formation in the Queensland sky to refreshment options.

Notwithstanding the illicit thrill of watching live sport in the middle of the night, there is a tranquility that comes from surrendering oneself to action taking place on the other side of the world in the company of people who, representing a range of regional accents, really know what they're talking about. I am particularly partial to the fruity mid-Lancashire burr (as in Black-burrn or Burr-nley) of David Lloyd (or "Bumble" as he is always called: yes, all the commentators have got a playground nickname). When Lloyd is at the microphone, I close my eyes and think of England, or at least Lancashire.

Virtually no one who commentates on, or analyses, cricket on radio or television is what you might term a professional, in the sense that they are all ex-players rather than career journalists. This is a gathering trend in all sports coverage, and extends also to newspapers. A friend of mine, who worked for a rival quality paper, told me the story of a lunch held at his office for everyone who was covering a recent cricket World Cup. He looked around the room at a distinguished cast of former internationals, including some legends of the game. "Blimey," he said, "I thought we were trying to cover the World Cup, not win it!"

What this means is that we are granted a remarkable level of expert reportage and insight from the likes of Aggers, and Athers and Bothers (I know Botham's real nickname is "Beefy", by the way). This level and range of expertise is unique to cricket coverage, and it's a shame it doesn't extend to other disciplines. Actors who become film critics, chefs who review restaurants. And maybe even politicians who have real, first-hand experience in their particular field. Now there's something to keep you awake.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: LGV Driver - Category C or C+E

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national Company that manu...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - OTE £30,000

£13000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?