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County Championship 2021

Sky Sports to show live County Championship match in full in IPL’s absence

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 2 minute read

Sky Sports will be televising the Middlesex-Gloucestershire County Championship fixture at Lord’s in full, which starts on Thursday, May 6, in the absence of any live Indian Premier League matches, with the T20 tournament suspended this morning.

Domestic red-ball cricket is rarely aired on television in the UK. In 2020, Sky live streamed the Bob Willis Trophy final on YouTube, but were criticised for the quality of the footage, with the redevelopment of Lord’s affecting the position of the cameras and the audio commentary at times out of sync.

In the absence of high-quality television coverage, the 18 first-class counties have stepped up by providing live-streams of their own, with Middlesex winning plaudits for their multi-camera set-up. Commentary has featured Isabelle Westbury and Adam Collins, named by the ECB as the Christoper Martin-Jenkins domestic broadcaster of the year for 2017 and 2020 respectively, as well as former Sky commentator Matt Floyd.

The decision by Sky to use Middlesex’s stream – with the addition of one manned camera – is vindication of the investment made by the North London side into their county stream.

Gloucestershire currently sit top of group two in the County Championship, with three wins and a draw from four games. Middlesex are fifth out of six, having twice been on the wrong end of close games against last year’s Bob Willis Trophy runners-up Somerset, and having also been beaten comprehensively. However, a thumping, 10-wicket victory over Surrey was a tentative sign of a red-ball resurgence

Wisden.com understands that regular Sky Sports Cricket commentators Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Ian Ward and Rob Key will be added to the Middlesex live stream pair of Collins and Floyd.

Sky Sports have been approached for comment.

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