Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mark Nicholas - A pompous popinjay

For about 5 hours on November 25, 2010, the truth peeked out at us from the staid, fact riddled pages of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Ducking Beamers pointed this out first. I take the liberty to record an unknown, but doubtlessly wise soul's courageous effort to malign Shane Warne's Hampshire captain. Nicholas, who has suffered the nicknames 'Elvis' and 'Jardine' in his time, is introduced as follows in this version of his Wikipedia entry:

Mark Charles Jefford Nicholas (born 29 September 1957) is a pompous popinjay who despite never playing test cricket feels amply qualified to pontificate on all things concerning the game played at the highest level English cricketer he played largely unremarkably for Hampshire from 1978 to 1995, captaining them from 1985 to his retirement.
Nicholas was born in WestminsterLondon. His grandfather Fred Nicholas captained Essex CCC, his mother is the actress Anne Nicholas and his stepfather thebroadcaster Brian Widlake. He was educated at Bradfield College where he was coached by John Harvey.

Playing career

A middle-order batsman and occasional medium-pace bowler, Nicholas captained Hampshire to four major trophies - the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1988 and 1992,Sunday League (now National League) in 1986, and NatWest Trophy (now C&G Trophy) in 1991. Despite captaining England A on tour to Zimbabwe in 1989-1991, Nicholas can be considered one of his generation's better players never to play a Test for England.
Known for his suave appearance and urbane manner, Nicholas is one of a long line of colourful characters to captain Hampshire County Cricket Club, includingColin Ingleby-Mackenzie and CB Fry.

Broadcasting career

Since his retirement as a player, he has worked in broadcasting, first as a commentator for Sky Sports, and 1999-2005 as the anchorman for Channel 4's cricket coverage. He worked freelance in 1995 for Sky and others, before signing for Sky Sports in 1996 as anchorman, where his first major role was presenting domestic and international cricket.
He led Sky's coverage of England's Winter Tours to Zimbabwe and New Zealand in 1996/7, and continued this in the West Indies in 1998. His last role with Sky Sports was presenting the network's Live and Exclusive coverage of the 1998/99 Ashes Series in Australia when he was famously live in the commentary box when Darren Gough claimed a Test hat-trick at the Sydney Cricket Ground - describing the ball as a "corker of a yorker".
He also commentates for Australia's Nine Network during the Australian summer cricket season. He now anchors the Nine coverage, being a future anticipated replacement for Richie Benaud as the face of cricket on Nine, despite having once been dropped from the commentary team for reasons that were never fully explained before his reinstatement. His rise to the top of sports broadcasting - in Australia at least - is quite remarkable considering he never played at international level during his cricketing career. (Every other senior member of Nine's on-air team has played at the elite level, many of them captaining Australia.)
Up until 2008 he wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph. He was named Sports Presenter of the Year in 2001 by the Royal Television Society, as well as being one of only two presenters to ever stand in for Richard and Judy. Nicholas also presented the 2nd series of the UK version of the reality show Survivor. He continued his commitments to Australia's Nine Network in March 2006, anchoring the afternoon coverage of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He also rated fourth in a Melbourne newspaper poll that set out to find the public's choice on the new host of the Australian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.
He served as anchor during the Ashes of 2005 for Channel 4, producing several memorable commentary lines, demonstrating genuine excitement and elation at the events he was describing. The most famous was:
"Oh! Stephen Harmison, with a slower ball; one of the great balls! Given the moment, given the batsman and given the match, that is a staggering gamble that's paid off for Harmison. He bowled it perfectly" after Harmison's slower ball dismissed Michael Clarke at the end of Saturday's play in the 2nd Test at Edgbaston.
Others include, "Crikey O'Reilly!" after a Kevin Pietersen six, "Beauty, yes! Magnificent cricket from this man" after Andrew Flintoff had Ricky Ponting caught behind, and "Oh, yes! That's that, Andrew Flintoff is very special!" after Flintoff wrapped up Australia's innings, also at the 2nd Test at Edgbaston.
During the 3rd Test at Old Trafford, his particularly insightful "That is very good" after Simon Jones's dismissal of Michael Clarke after the ball, which looked to be a safe leave, cut back and knocked over the batsman's off stump. He also gave a memorable description of Ricky Ponting being out on the final day at Old Trafford. When umpire Billy Bowden put up the finger, Nicholas shouted "He's given it out! Out! Ricky Ponting is out!"
It must be noted however that Nicholas now expresses similar elation at home wickets with his new Australian employers, for example he "couldn't see" in his words, that Australian batsman Brett Lee was lbw to English spinner Monty Panesar in the 2006/07 Ashes, even though replays showed it to be "plumb". His signature cry is "By Heaven!" whenever something remarkable happens during play (usually a six-hit), although this has been scarcely used in the 2006/07 Ashes series. He is also notable for the saying, "That's maximum" when a six has been hit.
While as Channel 4 anchor for the cricket, Nicholas presented "Today at the Test" which would cover the highlights of the day's play at the England Test matches or the trophy finals.
Mark Nicholas was approached by Five to cover England cricket highlights from 2006–2010, the program being named "Cricket on Five". He commentates on the program with former cricketer and Channel 4 cricket commentator Geoffrey Boycott and former Channel 4 cricket analyst Simon Hughes. They are also joined by a guest commentator from the touring country.
Nicholas recently served as anchorman and commentator for the Nine Network coverage of the 2006/2007 Ashes Series and continues to serve this role for other Australian Home Test Series. He was also part of the world feed commentary team for the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, heard by millions around the world.
Nicholas is also the "anchorman" for EA Sports Cricket 07 game. He introduces the matches the user is playing, and also commentates during the game with Richie Benaud, taking over from Jim Maxwell.
Nicholas presented ITV1's Britain's Best Dish in 2007, and currently presents the show's fourth series. He is currently into the fourth year as main presenter and commentator of "Cricket on Five"
Unlike a lot of other acts of vandalism on Wikipedia, I think there is a serious case to be made for the deep accuracy of this entry.


  1. Warne only started playing for Hampshire 5 years after Nicholas retired.

  2. Yes, Nicholas is truly dreadful. The people of Australia have allowed a Brit to host an awards ceremony for Australian cricketers...this proves they have a great sense of humour.

    The Aussies deserve him.