@MN5 Just to revert to the commentators for a moment
Nicholas captained Hampshire for a decade or more during their most successful era and also was captain of England A. As @Catogrande said he was very much thought of as in the Brearley mould although a better batsman. He played during the Lamb, Gower, Gatting time. If he's played in a different decade or for a different country (e.g. NZ) he would almost certainly picked up some full caps.
He is / was also highly regarded as a commentator in the early days. I'm sure he won commentator of the year in the UK. I did find him much more palatable in his earlier career. His UK persona seemed more toned down but you know what. Her makes his living from being the host. If his employers want him to be a cheerleader then good luck to him for doing so. He's got a great gig why would he rock the boat.
As for your self-avowed ignorance about other commentators as @booboo said - it really does say it all. While Benaud was an absolute legend having perfected the art of saying very little there are some on that list who are at the very least his equal. Plus as I said above it seems the various Aussie (and others) want partisan ex-players rather than balanced nuance
I was living in England back in 1999 when Channel 4 took over the cricket coverage from BBC.
Their coverage was excellent, innovative for the time, with Mark Nicholas having retired the previous year from playing county cricket as the suave, late 30s, famous captain, frontman. He was great in that role.
After leaving UK didn't come across him again until Ch9 picked him up, where he makes me cringe. He doesn't suit the Warney v Chappelii macho circle jerk over who can suggest the most aggressive change the fielding captain just must do.
I like commentators like early Nicholas. In NZ i like Cumming who was similar, a 10 year domestic captain, but without the supposed captaincy fame that Nicholas had by the late 90s. I like that Cumming actually keeps a grasp of domestic cricket still and knows something about newcomers. cough, not-looking at you Mark Richardson. Styris and Doull have good internationalist knowledge of visitors due to their T20 commentating stints, (and Styris's until recent still T20 playing travels).
I like all the NZ TV commentators actually apart from Richardson. Maybe Smithy is starting to go off the plantation as well with his Hawkes Bay/CD bias.
On radio, with the decline of ball-by-ball commentary of Plunket Shield. I find the stints by the other younger ball-by-ball guys not called Waddle to be quite difficult listening. Garth Galloway is a natural when he does a Christchurch test, but he is a just a part timer.
I miss Peter Sharp... I agree that the newer commentators have some distance to travel yet. Someone I would like to see/hear more of is Jonathan Agnew.