Cricket commentator Isa Guha tired of conversations about her skin colour and gender

Former England Test player and cricket commentator Geoffrey Boycott has made a thinly veiled remark about former colleague Isa Guha while criticising how the BBC rebuilt its popular Test Match Special radio commentary team after he retired in June.

Guha, who was the first Asian woman to represent England and has become a mainstay of cricket broadcasts around the world, said the constant discussions about her race and gender were “frankly tiresome”, as she addressed Boycott and the Daily Mail’s reporting of her place in the team.

Boycott, who played 108 Tests for England between 1964 and 1982, had been part of the BBC broadcast since 2005 but the 80-year-old called time on his career earlier this year after numerous health issues.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Boycott took aim at the way the BBC is run, saying “they have sacrificed quality for equality”.

“When you work for them you are wary and frightened of saying anything. It is a minefield out there and that is sad.”

Boycott’s ‘expert comments’ role has been filled by former captain Alastair Cook and 38-year-old seamer James Anderson.

Guha, who played more than 100 games for England’s women’s team across all three formats in the 2000s, has worked with the BBC for a decade, most recently as a lead presenter and play-by-play caller.

Despite this, an article and social media posts by the Daily Mail said Boycott was “replaced” by Guha, whose parents moved to England from India in the 1970s.

Geoffrey BoycottGeoffrey Boycott
Geoffrey Boycott has been a regular fixture of TV and radio broadcasts for decades.(Reuters: Philip Brown)

A Daily Mail tweet also said, rather than retiring, Boycott was “dropped … for a younger multi-racial line-up”.

Guha, who is also a lead caller for Fox Sports’ Australian cricket coverage, said she usually tried to ignore misleading or overly critical articles, but she “just wanted to say a couple of things” after years of abuse.

“I appreciate people have varying opinions on the job I do as a presenter/commentator. However, the idea that I have ‘replaced’ Geoffrey is a bit odd, having worked on international men’s cricket at the BBC for the best part of 10 years,” she said.

“Furthermore, my role is completely different to that of Geoffrey’s.

On Twitter, former Australian star and current commentator Mel Jones described Guha’s response a “lesson in class and professionalism”, and called for an end to “lowbrow, misleading and downright repugnant reporting”.

Alison Mitchell, another Englishwoman who also commentates during the Australian summer, said Guha “inspired every day”.

Fellow BBC commentator Daniel Norcross praised Guha as one of “the most versatile, experienced and knowledgeable broadcasters in cricket” and said “she shouldn’t have to deal with this nonsense”.