Michael Atherton on the ODI and coming together on the cricket pitch post lockdown

Virgin Radio

22 Mar 2021, 09:50

The former England cricketer-turned-Sky Sports commentator joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about warming up for the one-day international tomorrow, his desire to travel again and the joy of getting full houses at grounds soon.

Doing his job during the pandemic, he said: “You can't get to India for visa and COVID reasons so we've had to do it from West London so it's an early start tomorrow morning but it's not been too bad.

“It’s amazing what you can do now... our commentators are joining remotely from various parts of the world and it's all gone pretty smoothly. I just think it shows what you can do.

"If I'm being truthful, you don't want to do too well because you still want to be able to travel when these restrictions ease.

"One of the joys of this job is getting out to India or Australia or wherever it may be. In the summer we were at the games in a bubble in Manchester and Southampton.

“The toss was being done by just a remote camera that was sent out to the middle to speak to the captains and we had players in a separate room to interview remotely. I think that's been the key - learning what is possible.”

On losing his superhuman sporting skills, he said: “I play the odd charity game - a couple a year, but not very well. It’s a bit frustrating. 

“I’ve got a young lad who is having a go, he's 18 and he's playing so I kind of would go to the nets with him and throw him balls but basically my playing days are long gone and I'm not very good anymore.”

Are cricket fans chomping at the bit to get out and see some sport? He said: “I think there's pent up demand to get out there and get to a live game. 

“We've had great audience figures for our cricket during the winter in lockdown, because there is a captive audience but I think there's a pent up demand to get out and see some live sport.

“I don't know whether I should make this comparison, but there were things called the victory tests after the Second World War when there was just this great joyful bringing together of people at cricket grounds as they played a series of games against Australia.

"You get that feeling that when it finally happens again and we get full houses at grounds there's going to be such excitement and joy to get back out there.”  

Sky Sports Cricket’s exclusive live coverage of the India V England ODI series starts tomorrow at 8am