THE cricket industry is in crisis talks over fears it will be unable to create enough expert commentator positions to absorb the growing army of former players.
In recent years, game administrators have expanded the game's formats to include Twenty20 and added six months to the playing season in a desperate bid to expand the number of commentator jobs.
“We have also added pay television sport channels, digital television and radio stations and really banal cricket instruction shows at half-time but we are barely keeping up with demand,” industry spokesman Dennis “Flowerpot” Jones said.
Cricket is a sport invented about 300 years ago to keep men off the streets during summer. It is played over 14 months of the year in countries once invaded by Britain. The action takes about half a second followed by four minutes of commentary comparing that particular half second of action with something that happened in 1966.
The primary role of a cricket match is to produce statistics that allow about four obscure records to be broken on each day of play. Commentators talk for hours about these records and things they remember from their playing days in an attempt to hide the fact nothing much is happening on the field.
Cricketers are generally considered to be unemployable except as players or cricket commentators.
The Australian cricket team traditionally had a stable player line-up and won a lot of matches. In recent times, the nation has put a different team on the field for every match and mostly loses, creating a flood of former players desperate to talk on radio and television about things they remember from their playing days.
Mr Jones said the industry was facing a crisis if it could not quickly address the commentator position shortfall.
“If we don't find answers soon, many players will end up as celebrity guests on reality shows like Dancing with the Stars or writing annual autobiographies and favourite Aussie joke books,” he said.
“We are thinking we may have to free up some positions by lowering the retirement age of commentators from 94 to 80 and asking the Federal Government to impose a special one-off levy on all Australians to support unemployed cricket commentators.
“If things get really tight we may have to put restrictions on the migration of overseas former players, although we fear if we do this they may still try to enter the country illegally on leaky boats.”
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