They are responsible for describing and analysing the action that plays out in front of us but the cricket commentators can often produce witty and amusing quotes that are remembered across the years. Here are some of the best lines from cricket history.
The Bowler’s Holding the Batsman’s Willey
The much-loved Brian Johnston is guaranteed to appear in any round up of cricketing quotes. In this case, the West Indian paceman Michael Holding was bowling to England’s Peter Willey. It’s widely felt that ‘Johnners’ was being deliberately mischievous.
If you go in with two Fast Bowlers and one Breaks Down, You’re Left two Short
Australian swing bowler Bob Massie had a brief playing career. His stint as a commentator was equally brief and maybe this is why.
This game will be over any time from now
Alan McGilvray states the obvious for ABC Radio.
It is important for Pakistan to take wickets if they are going to make big inroads into this Australian batting line-up
Continuing the theme of stating the obvious, former Aussie fast bowler Max Walker takes up the baton for Channel 9.
It’s been very slow and dull day, but it hasn’t been boring. It’s been a good, entertaining day’s cricket
Some comments are there to confuse such as this one from ABC Radio. Maybe the producer got into Tony Benneworth’s ear mid-sentence and asked him to be a little more positive.
It was close for Zaheer, Lawson threw his hands in the air and Marsh threw his head in the air
There are a few examples of anatomical impossibility in the lexicon of cricket commentary. Speaking for 3UZ, Jim Potter kicks things off.
His feet were a long way away from his body
Ravi Shastri picks up where Jim Potter left off. We know what he’s trying to say and, in a way, this makes perfect sense. In another way, it’s complete nonsense and conjures up a comical image.
On the first day, Logie decided to chance his arm and it came off
While this isn’t necessarily impossible, this would have been a very unfortunate incident that would have ended Gus Logie’s career.
Trevor Bailey was a long-time colleague of Brian Johnston’s at Radio 3’s Test Match Special and this is one of many memorable lines.
Yorkshire 232 all out, Hutton ill – I’m sorry, Hutton 111
Mistakes even happen at the BBC. John Snagge was better known for his commentary on the annual boat race and perhaps his assessment of Len Hutton’s condition tells us why.
In the back of Hughes’ mind must be the thought that he will dance down the piss and mitch one
Former England Captain Tony Greig went on to become a highly respected commentator in Australia. He was known for his verbal battles with Bill Lawry and his occasional gaffes such as this unfortunate case of Spoonerism.
Fast bowlers are quick. Just watch this — admittedly it is in slow motion
Another of Australia’s most noted cricket commentators, Ian Chappell urges his viewers to understand the sheer pace involved before having to qualify his remark.
It would be unprintable on television
There isn’t too much to laugh about when it comes to listening to Geoff Boycott’s commentary, but this delightful piece of nonsense is an exception that proves the rule.
That was a tremendous six. The ball was still in the air as it went over the boundary
Former England fast bowler Fred Trueman was looking to emphasise just how big a six this was but, instead, he simply ends up stating the obvious.
He Couldn’t Quite get his leg Over
While Agnew claims the quote, it’s made famous by co-commentator Brian Johnston who couldn’t speak for laughing in the aftermath of this ‘accidental’ gaffe.
He’s Usually a Good Puller but he Couldn’t get it up that time
A round up of cricket commentary wouldn’t be complete without mention of the great Richie Benaud. The trouble is, he was so polished behind the microphone that it’s difficult to find an accidental slip of the tongue.
Perhaps this memorable comment was no accident?
Laird has been brought in to stand in the corner of the circle
This is as close to a mistake as we could find from the great man. Speaking for Channel 9, Richie decides to defy the laws of trigonometry.
The Queen’s Park Oval — as its name suggests, absolutely round!
To keep Richie company, respected West Indian commentator Tony Cozier confuses listeners with his description of the Queens Park Oval.
We’ve got a Freaker!
John Arlott wasn’t quite up to speed with modern terminology as a streaker ran onto the pitch at Lord’s in 1975.
I think we are all slightly down in the dumps after another loss. We may be in the wrong sign…Venus may be in the wrong juxtaposition with somewhere else
While this wasn’t strictly a piece of cricket commentary, it deserves a place in this round up. While interviewed in 1993 after his England side had suffered a seventh straight test match defeat, Chairman of Selectors Ted Dexter finds a bizarre excuse.
Ray Illingworth has just Relieved Himself at the Pavilion End
We should probably give the last word to Johnners. Always irreverent but hugely knowledgeable and respected, he was a legend amongst commentators.
Nobody intends to be disrespectful to the great commentators of the past and all of these quotes are remembered with affection. We also appreciate that some of the gaffes on here aren’t completely accidental.
Commentators are there to describe the play and also to offer valuable insight that we might not have picked up ourselves. They do a fantastic job but some of the lines are memorable for all the wrong reasons.