Cricket commentator Isa Guha sick of ‘sinister’ sexism controversy
Cricket commentator Isa Guha has hit back after being dragged into a storm by Geoffrey Boycott, who claims the BBC chose “equality over quality” by dropping him from its broadcasting team.
Legendary English opening batsman Boycott, 80, finished up with BBC radio’s Test Match Special in June after 14 years and slammed the British public broadcaster in a recent interview with The Telegraph.
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“They have sacrificed quality for equality. It is now all about political correctness, about gender and race,” Boycott said. “When you work for them you are wary and frightened of saying anything. It is a minefield out there and that is sad.
“I think long after I am dead there will be a government come along who will take away the BBC’s funding and they will have to go private, out into the real world like ITV and Sky because at the top, it is not run particularly well.”
Guha, whose parents are from India and who played eight Tests and 83 one-day internationals for England as a quick bowler, has developed into one of cricket’s most respected and sought-after broadcasters in retirement, working around the world including for Fox Sports during the Australian summer.
Taking to social media on Thursday, Guha took exception to a report in the Daily Mail that said she “replaced” Boycott, along with England greats Alastair Cook and James Anderson.
“I tend to ignore these articles and realise that, by reacting, it only fulfils the objectives of the headline,” Guha wrote. “But having been subjected to this over the last few years I just wanted to say a couple of things.
“I appreciate people have varying opinions on the job I do as a presenter/commentator. However, the idea that I have ‘replaced’ Geoffrey is a bit odd, having worked on international men’s cricket at the BBC for the best part of 10 years.
“Furthermore, my role is completely different to Geoffrey’s. To keep being dragged into this kind of conversation purely because of the colour of my skin and gender is quite frankly tiresome and only serves to create division.
“I only have sadness that this should be deemed newsworthy over something more positive and inspiring.”
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Boycott says the BBC isn’t what it used to be.Source:AFP
Guha is one of world cricket’s most respected cricketers.Source:Getty Images
English sports writer Paul Hayward agreed with Guha, tweeting: “Come on, we all know Boycott had a good innings. Too good, many would say. To conflate his departure with Isa Guha’s deserved promotion is sinister. She deserves better.”
Jack Mendel added: “By the way, this ‘younger multi-racial line-up’ are also extremely talented. They are recently retired professional cricketers (referring specifically to Isa Guha and Ebony Rainford-Brent) who are excellent commentators.”
Boycott’s bitterness towards the BBC also stems from an interview he conducted with the broadcaster the day after his knighthood was made public late last year.
The batsman played 108 Tests and scored 8114 runs for England at an average of 47.72 with 22 centuries, but was upset his conviction for assaulting former girlfriend Margaret Moore in France in 1998 was brought up by TV presenter Martha Kearney on the Today program.
Boycott was fined nearly $AUD10,000 and given a three-month suspended jail sentence, but maintains his innocence.
“I was set up. They said they wanted to talk to me about my knighthood and I felt I had a duty to do it,” Boycott told The Telegraph of his BBC interview.
“You think you are doing the right thing but all they were interested in was bringing up the court case. I have talked about it so many times but that is all they wanted to talk about.
“That was upsetting which is why I said, ‘I don’t give a toss about this’. You expect better from the BBC, don’t you? But it is not the BBC it used to be.”
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