Take a look at Nine's commentary team for the upcoming Ashes summer. Notice anything missing? Anything at all?
This has been an historic year for women's sport in Australia. We saw the launch of the AFL Women's competition. A women's Ashes match sold tickets for the first time and then SOLD OUT. The Matildas just about leapfrogged the Soceroos as the nation's favourite national football team.
With that in mind, people are not responding well to the lack of female broadcasters in Nine's Ashes team.
Not good enough @9NewsAUS @wwos. It is 2017 and you need to do better than this. There are a multitude of talented, capable female presenters, commentators, cricketers and experts that could have joined this panel.— Ryan Hamilton (@HamiltonRyan) 17 de novembro de 2017
This is not to bag Nine overall. They've done some great work with women's sports coverage of late -- not least their foray into televising netball.
Both Seven and Nine have also for several years now included women in their AFL and rugby league coverage. Seven's spring racing coverage would be severely diminished without the expert perspective of Francesca Cumani. Ten's Big Bash has several fantastic female voices.
Women can do women's sport and women can do men's sport. This is a given now, and the world has not violently sheared off its orbit. In fact it's a much better place. Yet somehow, Nine has been unable to find a single set of female tonsils for The Ashes.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland is a strong advocate of female participation at all levels of the game. In fact he believes women are the game's salvation. Wonder what he thinks of the commentary team?
Here's a little more of what Australia thinks.
that's actually a bristol paint colour now. Warnie Orange. Good for when you want a funky kitchen benchtop or feature wall to create a conversation topic for guests.— Shane Bryan 💬 🎄🎄🎄 (@ShaneBryan_IT) 17 de novembro de 2017
Pale, male, stale— Clare Thompson 🌈 (@Claret_perth) 17 de novembro de 2017
Given the uptake of Women's Cricket, let's count the female team members... pic.twitter.com/jy7zOyYD7R— Alpine Valley Cybers (@BruceHore) 17 de novembro de 2017
Did you even have a meeting on the lack of women calling the cricket? There's lots of good female broadcasting talent out there. You know that.— Glenn Peters (@nightwatchman) 17 de novembro de 2017
There are actually two arguments raging out there on social media.
One is the perennial debate about the make-up of the Channel 9 commentary team (especially in the post-Richie and Tony era, where Bill is a part-timer). Some viewers hate the conservative, uninteresting stodge of one (or all) of Slats, Heals, Tubby. Others think Warney and Clarke should stop making it all about themselves. Both sides have their merits, and this debate can be filed under healthy Aussie cynicism.
The second argument revolves around whether a female commentator would be a tokenistic appointment. This is a fake debate. There are countless women who'd be perfect. The enormously talented British broadcaster and former cricketer Isa Guha is just one who comes to mind, especially in an Ashes summer.
Remember, we are not talking about a job with specific qualifications here. Apart from anything else, a female voice would break up the blokey banter. Different voices, different perspectives, different vibes. A bit of this, a bit of that. This is what makes good television, and in the TV game, making good television is the only qualification that matters -- not how many Tests you captained in the Australian men's cricket team.