Birthday Special: Mark Nicholas – A popular voice in cricket

Mark Nicholas isn’t your typical cricketer-turned commentator. Despite not having played international cricket, his transition from first-class cricket to broadcast was seamless and today is one of the most recognised voices in cricket. It won’t be an exaggeration to say what the legendary Richie Benaud was to cricket in the last millennium, Nicholas is to this one.

Born 29th September 1957, Mark Nicholas played for the county team Hampshire for 17 long years from 1978 to 1995, leading them from 1985 till the end of his career. A reliable middle-order batsman, Nicholas ended up playing 377 first-class matches, scoring 18,262 runs with 36 100s and even picked up 72 wickets with his gentle medium pace.

In List A cricket, Nicholas ended up playing a mammoth 359 games with 7334 runs and 101 wickets. Nicholas captained Hampshire to four major trophies – the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1988 and 1992, Sunday League (now Pro 40) in 1986, and NatWest Trophy (now Friends Provident Trophy) in 1991. With these numbers and records, it is evident Nicholas was a first-class legend who was unlucky to miss out on international selection.

But Nicholas’ association with cricket didn’t end with him being a player. He took the route many players were taking back then, commentary. And as they say, rest is history.

A brilliant commentator

Nicholas had his first stint as a commentator for Sky Sports and then was the anchor-man for Channel 4’s coverage from 1999-2005. His proficiency for the English networks got him offers for broadcast in Australia as well. He commentated for Australia’s Nine Network during the Australian summer cricket season every year until they lost the rights before the 2018/19 season. He anchored the coverage, replacing Richie Benaud as the face of cricket on Nine. He was also on the commentary panel for the World Cups from 2007-2019. He is also working as a commentator in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

Polished, suave, and very knowledgeable, Nicholas came as a breath of fresh air when he started broadcasting. He wasn’t among the ones who would unnecessarily bring up technical terms the viewers wouldn’t relate to. While he has an excellent, analytical mind he has always believed in keeping things simple.

There is a certain calmness and style in his voice which has made him such a popular commentator. Mark Nicholas is one man who has been able to carve out a legacy just based on how he has covered cricket and that is phenomenal considering he has played more than 600 games as a professional cricketer. Let us not forget he had also lent his voice to one of the most popular cricket games ever, EA CRICKET 07!