A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

The Commentators: Paul Allott

Posted on February 18, 2013 by in Opinion


The past two series that England have played, i.e. the ODIs in India and the current T20-fest in New Zealand, have featured a rarity indeed – the return to proper commentary duty of one Paul John Walter Allott. As far as we can recall, India was his first stint since the tour of Bangladesh in 2010. This is good news for two reasons – Allott is very much of the older generation of Sky commentators (i.e. is not Nick Knight) and also appears in the cricket/media dictionary adjacent to 51 all out.

Paul Allott: the man, the cricketer, the karaoke singer.

Paul Allott: the man, the cricketer, the karaoke singer.

When Sky replay ‘old’ matches during rain breaks, it is surprising to hear both Allott and fellow veteran Bob Willis commentating so often, such is the infrequency that they’re given internationals these days. Whilst Willis has found his ideal role as studio-based critical grump par excellence, Allott has had a somewhat mixed role in recent times – pushed from the pillar of a domestic ODI to the post of a New Zealand vs. India all-nighter. It is probably as presenter of Cricket Writers on TV that he is most well-known these days, overseeing the smug open-necked shirt croissant-eating journalists chortle at each others’ in-jokes about tours to the West Indies or each others’ respective careers (actually, it can at times be very insightful, is rarely uninteresting and ‘Walt’ is a congenial host). It would be no surprise that if Sky ever start broadcasting worse standards of cricket – such as University matches, school games or Leicestershire, it would be Allott who gets the call to present.

Upon realising that he is covering this current series, at first we frowned – not least as he didn’t replace Nick Knight. But we soon remembered that his unassuming, laid-back commentating style is actually quite pleasant to listen to, particularly as a stooge to the more outgoing David Lloyd. Nonetheless, we can’t quite imagine him commentating on the bustle of an Ashes series later this year.

Now that's what I call a sweater.

Now that’s what I call a sweater.

But what of Allott the cricketer? Blessed with height and a decent away-swinger, he was a handy bowler. He was already in his early 20s when he debuted for Lancashire in 1978, and his first few seasons were passable. But in 1981 he took 85 wickets and was rewarded with a call-up to the national side. He debuted at Old Trafford in the same team as three of his future Sky colleagues, and actually did as well with the bat (52*) as he did the ball 4/88). Over the next four years he was in and out of the team like a danish pastry out of Stephen Brenkley’s mouth, only once taking more than four wickets in an innings (6/61 against the mighty West Indies at Headingley). His 13 Tests returned 26 wickets at 41.69 and his ODI record (15 wickets in 13 appearances) was little better – although he did feature in the 1983 World Cup.

This is what the past looked like, kids.

This is what the past looked like, kids.

He regularly took at least 50 first-class wickets for the Red Rose though, and his 14-season career was scattered with limited over silverware. He was instrumental in the 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup victory, won the Sunday League in 1989 and the NatWest Trophy in 1990 (opening the bowling with Phil DeFreitas, ahead of Wasim Akram).

So there we are: a solid but unspectacular cricketing career, much like his broadcasting one.


Post a Comment


Paul Allott

12 Aug 2015 00:41

Hi Meryl,

Glad to hear that you and your husband enjoy the show!

My wife buys all my shirts from the good people at John Lewis in the Trafford Centre. If you’re ever in there, say that I sent you and they might give you a discount!

Best regards,


Meryl Elwell

11 Aug 2015 21:14

Just wanted to say how much my husband and I enjoy “Cricket Writers on TV” which you chair splendidly – and delighted to see Alison Mitchell this week.
By the way where do you buy your lovely shirts?


Dmitri Old

25 Feb 2013 12:49

It was questionable why a TV pundit should be given such royal treatment. Indeed you could call it a Media Puzzle.

Which would have been appropriate as a horse by that name won the Melbourne Cup that very afternoon.


Matt H

21 Feb 2013 20:38

So he was a waltzing Walt then?


Dmitri Old

20 Feb 2013 13:52

Never forgiven Allott for waltzing past me in the immigration queue at Brisbane Airport, while a test triple centurion was left in line with us plebs.

Fight the Power. Storm the Sky Citadel.