I haven’t followed the South Africa-Australia ODI series very closely, even though the cricket produced has been top-class. From brief online highlights, though, I’ve noticed a number of innovations coming from South African coverage: first, during the Twenty20 matches, different camera angles were employed before the ball was bowled. Normally, you have the static shot that shows the umpire’s view.
On a number of occasions, though, the South African channel would use a camera that moved from the side along with the bowler, so that the camera moved and followed the ball as it was bowled. It’s actually quite disorienting, because you see how quickly the ball flies and how varied the bounce can be.
The second more important innovation has to do with the commentary team, which features a female commentator. I don’t know her name or her background, but I think it’s excellent inclusion. Most American sports coverage includes female reporters or anchors (if only to avoid gender discrimination lawsuits), but cricket coverage has remained a relatively male domain, for reasons I don’t completely understand. The qualities you seek in a good commentator — expertise, tone, excitability, catch-phrases — aren’t necessarily “masculine” traits at all.
[…] see a lot of people are trying to find out the identity of South Africa’s (and the world’s, if I’m not mistaken) only female cricket commenta… on television. I believe her name is Kass Naidoo. You can hear her talk during international […]
The most irritating part of cricket coverage for me on television, not so much on radio, is the fact that there are virtually no non-professional cricketers as part of the broadcast. Off the top of my head, this Kass Naidoo, along with Tony Cozier, Neil Manthorp and Harsha Bhogle are the only people in the world of cricket on television who do match commentary and never played the game at a professional level. There may be some like Charles Colville on Sky in England who act as a presenter, and I believe he has done some commentary for county cricket matches, but he is never involved in test commentary. The non-players bring a more professional approach and are often more insightful than the former test playing commentators. They also ask real questions to players in interviews, instead of the puff puff line of interrogation made famous by Mark Taylor and Ravi Shastri. In the US, 99% of play-by-play announcers on sports broadcasts are professional journalists/broadcasters while the color commentary position on the broadcast is an ex-player 99% of the time. So it is essentially a split crew, but it is well-balanced. There is no such balance in the world of cricket commentary, on television at least. Radio still features some non-players like Jim Maxwell, Glenn Mitchell, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Henry Blofeld, but even there, the trend is swinging towards putting on as many ex-players as possible.