Guardian expands cricket coverage

The Guardian has signed Moeen Ali as a cricket columnist and launched a new cricket podcast, The Spin.

Guardian expands cricket coverage
Moeen Ali: “A home World Cup and Ashes series makes this a huge summer for English cricket.” Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

The biggest summer for cricket in a generation is in full swing, with an unprecedented triple bill of the World Cup, the men’s Ashes and the women’s Ashes held over the coming weeks, says The Guardian.

The Guardian has launched a new podcast, The Spin, and signed England all-rounder Moeen Ali as a columnist throughout the summer. It has also entered a media partnership with NatWest, the principal partner of English cricket across all forms of the game.

The Spin, a new bi-weekly podcast hosted by author and journalist, Emma John, aims to capture the atmosphere both on and off the pitch and feature a lively panel of experts including comedians Tez Ilyas, Andy Parsons and Felicity Ward, super-fan guests including filmmaker Barney Douglas and novelist Kamila Shamsie, players and Guardian journalists who will be discussing the twists and turns of the cricketing summer - from the excitement of the international game to local, fan-driven stories.

Moeen Ali will be sharing his expertise with readers, with a regular column on the Cricket World Cup and the men’s Ashes. Ali joins the roster of Guardian and Observer cricket writers led by cricket correspondent Vic Marks.

The Guardian’s coverage of this summer of cricket includes a special experts network of journalists from all 10 countries participating in the World Cup - including Emal Pasarly, multimedia editor of the BBC News Afghan service and Mohammad Isam, Bangladesh correspondent for ESPNcricinfo – and regular in-depth reports and over-by-over coverage.

The Guardian partnership forms part of NatWest’s continuing commitment to cricket. As principal partner of the England & Wales Cricket Board, NatWest provides support to the England men’s, women’s and disability cricket teams, as well as its charity partner Chance to Shine, which runs street cricket programmes that encourage children from disadvantaged urban areas to get involved in the game.

Moeen Ali said: “A home World Cup and Ashes series makes this a huge summer for English cricket and I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences with Guardian readers along the way.”

Will Woodward, head of sport, Guardian News & Media, said: "I'm absolutely delighted that Moeen is joining us for the summer. His insight and tremendous experience, playing for England in all formats of the game, will add an exciting dimension to our coverage and I am really looking forward to him sharing his views with our readers. The Spin podcast is also a brilliant addition to an epic cricketing summer.”

Emma John, The Spin host, said: “I thought I’d probably done all my dream cricket jobs - writing for Wisden, interviewing my teenage heroes, covering an England team as they win the Ashes. Then someone asked me to sit in the Guardian’s slightly sticky recording studio and talk about the sport I love with a bunch of very smart and funny guests. So it turns out I was wrong. I’ve never had so much fun.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, NatWest, said: “With an unprecedented season ahead of us, I am excited to be partnering with the Guardian for another summer of cricket. The newsbrand is a perfect fit for NatWest’s #NoBoundaries campaign – and has earned an enormously loyal following of cricket fans due to its unique coverage that connects with audiences of all ages, backgrounds and levels of cricket expertise. The Guardian takes diversity and representation in the sport at every level as seriously as we do, and our work together is helping to make cricket a game for all.”

Listeners will be able to hear new episodes of The Spin twice a week on the Guardian website or download via a range of podcast platforms. The podcast will run throughout the summer and will have a flexible schedule to cover the most exciting action during that time, say the publishers.