IRISH listeners hoping to find radio commentary of the historic Test match against Pakistan which starts on Friday may get more than they bargained for online, with Cricket Ireland selling the rights to off-beat comedy outfit Guerrilla Cricket.
The London-based company, which began life as Test Match Sofa, is run by enthusiasts and paid for by crowd-funding. It is notorious for its irreverence and anti-establishment stance, not to mention a fair smattering of F-bombs. Henry Blofeld it most definitely is not.
The BBC were initially keen to broadcast the game on Test Match Special but did not strike a deal while talkSPORT were also interested but could not guarantee to cover ever ball of the five-day game, so Cricket Ireland took a leap into the unknown.
"When it came to ball-by-ball commentary of the Test Match it was imperative that we found a broadcast partner that would guarantee Irish fans innovative, worldwide and uninterrupted coverage," said Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland. "For such an historic occasion, we believed the fans shouldn't miss out.”
The Guerrilla management, who are believed to have paid less than 250 euros a day for the rights, have signed up George Dockrell for regular appearances after the Leinster left-arm spinner was surprisingly omitted from the Ireland squad.
The London-centric commentary team, who deploy jingles as well as comedy and regular profanities, also hope to be supplemented with regular guest appearances from other Irish figures, and don’t mind guests going on air “after they have had a glass or two”.
"We are grateful to Cricket Ireland in showing the foresight to allow a new form of cricket broadcasting to be heard in the mainstream," said Nigel Henderson, one of the co-founders of Guerrilla. "It's the same kind of enterprising spirit that has enabled Ireland to develop so rapidly at international level."