England’s upcoming tour to Sri Lanka faces the prospect for being England’s first overseas Test series without ball-by-ball radio coverage for 17 years.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, talkSPORT, who provided the ball-by-ball coverage for England’s recent four-Test series in South Africa, have passed the opportunity to broadcast the Sri Lanka series, instead opting to channel their resources into longer, more high-profile tours.
BBC’s Test Match Special are reportedly interested in providing ball-by-ball commentary for the series but nothing has yet been agreed with Sri Lanka Cricket amid times of financial uncertainty at the BBC – just last month, plans were announced to cut 450 jobs at the organisation.
The last time an England Test series went without a ball-by-ball live radio coverage was England’s two-Test tour to Bangladesh in 2003. England’s ODI series there in 2016 also went ahead without ball-by-ball radio commentary. While nothing for the Sri Lanka series has been agreed at this moment in time, there still remains an outside chance that an agreement will be reached before the series commences in March.