The days of listening to live coverage of the Plunket Shield appear to be numbered, as Radio Sport changes the way it reports domestic cricket.

Dallas Gurney, the general manager of talk programming for The Radio Network, said the broadcaster remained committed to providing live coverage for domestic one-day and T20 games but was trialling a new approach for first-class cricket.

"Instead of running extended periods of commentary and crossing between the multiple games, we are going to have a commentator in a central commentary position providing updates on the games," Gurney said.

While it sounds like a cost-cutting exercise, Gurney disagreed.


"It is as much about providing the best possible coverage for our Radio Sport audience as it is any money that we might save by not having a commentator at every single Plunket Shield game," he said.

"I can give an absolute assurance that Radio Sport listeners won't miss out on the action from the Plunket Shield this year. And it is only a trial."

Broadcaster Steve Davie questioned whether someone sitting in a studio looking at scores coming through on the internet was going to enhance the coverage.

"It is the thin edge of the wedge," Davie said. "If you are not going to cover first-class cricket then your T20 and one-day domestic play is going to be next. Will they not bother with first-class rugby or do they not cover the A-League?"

"It is disappointing for the listeners. People have painted the house listening to Jeremy Coney scoring a century and all of those sorts of things. It is part of their summer memories."

Gurney said Radio Sport might provide live coverage for key games but conceded those matches would have to be in Wellington or Auckland, where the company has full-time commentators.

- Otago Daily Times