· Mark Nicholas leads new presenting line-up
· Fans to be flown to first West Indies Test
· No adverts to be broadcast during live play
talkSPORT has unveiled a new team for its exclusive uninterrupted live coverage of England’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka which starts this month and a special competition for the West Indies tour in January.
talkSPORT’s lead presenter, Mark Nicholas, is well known for his work anchoring coverage on Channel 4, the highlights package on Channel 5 and coverage across Channel 9 in Australia. Joining him in the commentary box in Sri Lanka will be England great and current host of Drivetime, Darren Gough, best known for his 467 wickets for England across all formats.
Alongside Goughie will be former England wicketkeeper and three times Ashes winner Matt Prior, plus former England batsman Mark Butcher, former England spinner Gareth Batty and Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene.
Also featuring across commentary will be Sky Sports pundits Mike Atherton, David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, Nasser Hussain, Ian Ward and Rob Key to give all the latest cricketing news and analysis throughout the tour, which includes all Test Matches, ODIs and T20s. No adverts will be broadcast during the live action and will only feature during natural breaks in play.
As the home of the fan, talkSPORT, will not only be bringing the cricket to the fans, but in partnership with the Barmy Army will also be bringing fans to the cricket.
In an exclusive on air competition, two lucky listeners will be flown out to Barbados for the first West Indies Test in January to join the Barmy Amy and support England with flights and accommodation included. All listeners need to do is submit their best lyrics for a new Barmy Army song to the talkSPORT team. More details will be revealed on air soon…
talkSPORT’s partnership with the Barmy Army doesn’t stop there, with the station broadcasting a fans eye view, from the Barmy Army camp throughout the tours with all the inside stories and fan reaction.
talkSPORT National Radio Controller Liam Fisher said: “talkSPORT’s free-to-air coverage will be all about the fan, with smart, fun, passionate and engaging commentary throughout England’s tours across our two 24/7 dedicated sports channels, talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2.
“Radio is a treasured medium in cricket and our role at talkSPORT will be to both entertain existing audiences and attract new ones to the game. Our first class on air commentary team will be with fans for every ball of the day, with uninterrupted live play and a healthy serving of trademark talkSPORT fun.”
Mark Nicholas said: “The Sri Lankan tour is a real watermark moment for this England side following an emphatic series win over India, but against the backdrop of Alastair Cook's retirement and a poor record away from home. Now is the time for Joe Root's team to sort that out - while confidence is high and interest is buzzing. One thing is for sure, with the West Indies to follow, it’s a winter of cricket not to be missed and talkSPORT will be the place for your fix of all the live action, with coverage that promises lively commentary and conversation alongside passionate opinion. I can't wait to get started.”
The Barmy Army's Chris Millard said: “Our fans are the most fun, knowledgeable and passionate in the world and that’s why our partnership with talkSPORT is the perfect fit. Together our aim is to drive as much excitement and support towards the England team and the game we love. I’m confident through a mixture of Barmy interviews, inside stories and our exclusive on air competition we will do just that.”
Coverage will be cross-promoted on other talkSPORT shows including Drive with Darren Gough, broadcasting live from the tours, along with the relaunched Following On cricket podcast every day of the tour to give fans their full cricketing fix. Meanwhile the station’s Re-United series, that brings together former sporting rivals, will feature a cricket special generating more quality cricket content.
talkSPORT won the rights from the BBC’s Test Match Special programme for the full tours of Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa, having covered big tournaments including the ICC Champions Trophy last summer and the World Twenty20 in 2016.
The first England game to be broadcast will be England’s first ODI against Sri Lanka, starting on October 10, live on talkSPORT 2.