iPad and Skype come to BBC Cricket Test Match Special's rescue
England has taken a battering in the first test match against Pakistan over in Dubai. But it isn't just Andrew Strauss and the team who are under pressure, the broadcasting circuits in the media centre at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and a local radio communications meltdown have led to the BBC's Test Match Special team broadcasting from an iPad over Skype.
It's a case of new tech coming to old tech's rescue.
The TMS team, which enjoys a cult following both on BBC radio and the BBC Sport website, is led by ex-England fast bowler Jonathan Agnew but it is his co-commentators who are apparently struggling the most with the modern tech.
Ex-England captain Geoffrey Boycott was said to be mightily confused by the situation, with another former national skipper Michael Vaughan tweeting:
"Geoffrey's just walked in the box, I don't think he's got a clue what's going on with the iPad and he doesn't know why we're talking into it!"
"What do I do with it? I have never had one of these," said Boycott, after he was handed the tablet computer. "Just talk normally, do I?" he asked.
Long-serving TMS commentator Henry Blofeld added: "It's rather exciting isn't it? Skype, iPad and goodness knows what."
Jonathon Moore, Product Manager at Skype said: "Skype is used in many wonderful ways, but this is the first time we’ve heard it being used to broadcast a live cricket commentary. At Skype, we are passionate about quality. Our engineers work hard to make sure that Skype works perfectly across different mobile phones, tablets and computers on whatever Internet speed is available. Situations like this are a real endorsement of the work we do.”
In days gone by, a loss in radio signal would have meant a simple ball-by-ball commentary from a BBC reporter in the UK, using the TV images as a reference.
Former BBC commentator Arlo White tweeted: "TMS is currently a tremendous advert for Skype and iPads. OK it lacks crowd effects, but CMJ/Boycs coming through loud and clear!"