Until the "one-dayer" concept arrived cricket never really made itself a comfortable television prospect.

Five days is a long time for a drama to unfold - a drama with no guarantee of a surprise finish or grand finale when all would be revealed.

If the pitch is placid and the weather is uncertain then the show is never going to attract the audiences.

I generally take in the opening session of a test match and then check in from time to time or catch up with it in the paper the following day ... and then (if there is some sort of thrilling final episode being prepared) will take in the final couple of sessions.


I doubt I'm alone, and this is not a criticism of test cricket, which I rate very highly as it has the blue ribbon of tradition attached, but more a realistic summation of how it adapts itself in terms of being an attractive television viewing proposition.

It's the time thing, and uncertainty over whether there will be a finale, a meaning, a firm conclusion, to it all.

The one-day "limited overs" concept however is a far more attractive proposition as there is almost always a result (a draw is very rare) and there is colour and there is that marvellous mathematical factor called runs-per-over-required.

The performing cast members have 50 acts (oh let's call them 'overs') to display their talents to the great hordes who fill the sporting theatres to see them.

And the crowds do turn out for these shows as they are over and done with in seven hours or so.

About the same time as a Peter Jackson film.

Tests staged in this part of the world, however, do not get the turnstiles overheating.

The "crowd" at the final day of the entertaining last test against the gallant and battling boys from Bangladesh was, to say the least, sparse.

It was that fitting scenario for the ground announcer to get on the microphone to declare "and for the players, the names of the spectators are ..."

So yes, the ODI concept is effectively made for television.

As is its mini-me companion they call T20 or "big bash" or whatever.

Those 20-over shows are basically just slog-fests and that is what makes them so addictive in the viewing sense.

You wanna see three sixes in an over?

Then take a seat.

And the scaled-down versions of this fine game are perfect for doing what any good television show does.

They draw out great characters.

There are the quiet ones and there are the loud ones - the gentle ones and the aggressive ones.

And of course there are the usual goodies and the baddies, which in the case of the casts of the Tasman rivals can be summed up by the gentlemanly Kane Williamson and the "I'll chew ya head off mate" David Warner ... although the latter has decided not to join up with his colleagues for this Chappell-Hadlee mini-series being produced by Cricket New Zealand.

He's being saved as a lead player for the touring show which will be heading for India later in the month.

Unfortunately the fidget man, Steve Smith, also pulled out from the Kiwi jaunt, leaving the line-up looking ever so much closer to being a sort of Australia A sequel show to the main act.

But there's still some unpredictable ad-lib class there on the fast and dry stage...like Mitchell Starc who is no rookie when it comes to delivering a few fine lines...with the ball.

And we have our stars of course, and like any show in front of a home audience they get the appropriate ovations when they send the ball skywards across the stage.

If they unfortunately manage to put the leather bullet through the windscreen of the car being offered as some sort of prize on the day the ovation becomes a standing one ... and the ground announcer is forced to ask "is there an insurance officer in the ground and if so could he come to the green room please".

It all makes for a fine live show as well as a fine televised event, and when you have a clearly experienced crew of camera operators, directors and blokes like Smithy and Mark Richardson among the voiceover team then it's real treat.

And in terms of opposing confrontational characters it doesn't get better than "us" versus "them" ... them being the Aussies in their funny yellow costumes.

But wonderful and traditional characters ... it's kind of like the classic foes from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Holmes and Moriarty.

And like that pair, their battles can be unpredictable, and that makes for great telly.
So if you can't make it down to McLean Park in Napier tomorrow for the second ODI between Holmes and Moriarty (now I am getting carried away) then catch it on the smaller electronic stage courtesy of Sky Sport 1.

Oh, and if you do make it to the park and manage to arrive home afterwards without a smear of tomato sauce down the front of your shirt, then something must have gone wrong.

● New Zealand (Holmes) vs Moriarty (Australia) Second Cricket ODI live from McLean Park, Napier, Thursday from 2pm on Sky Sport 1: Yep, it's us versus them and it rarely gets any better than that ... especially when we are one episode ahead.


The Graham Norton Show, TV3 at 8.30pm Friday: Now this could be interesting (as it almost always is anyway with the fine work of Mr Norton) because the new face of chat show faces the near legendary face of chat show. Among his guests is Michael Parkinson, now 81 but still sparking away.

When Parky launched his chat show career Graham was eight years old. And when Parky wrapped up his last show in 2007 Graham was still three years away from starting his. I daresay they will have plenty to chat about.

Also appearing are Nicole Kidman, Dawn French, Dev Patel and Jack Savoretti.

Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute, Prime at 8.35pm Sunday: More early colour, although much of the camerawork was done by willing amateurs who put together some "home movies" with a difference.

Because the royal family is slightly removed from the rest of the populace, and their homes tend to be far more carefully tended than the average suburban residence.

This hour-long tribute to the Queen turning 90 features some colourful and enlightening home movies shot by family members going way, way back.