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From Twenty20 back to the Tests

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 13:50 UK time, Sunday, 27 July 2008

Well after a breathtaking Twenty20 Cup Finals Day at the Rose Bowl its back to Test match duty for the BBC cricket team.

Twenty20 cricket may not be everyone's favourite form of the game, but even its fiercest critics would have to admit Saturday night's thrilling climax in Southampton will be a difficult act to follow at Edgbaston.

What was brilliant about the final at the Rose Bowl was that despite all the pre-match talk about the financial bonanza on offer for the winners, Saturday night was all about the cricket itself. The final showed how even in the shortest form of the game a match can ebb and flow with Middlesex and Kent swapping favouritism to win at regular intervals before Ed Joyce's side finally managed to secure a three-run victory off the last ball of the match.


Middlesex had earlier knocked much-fancied Durham out of the tournament which rather spoiled Steve Harmison's day. Earlier the fast bowler had been named in the England squad for Wednesday's third Test and it will be fascinating to find out if he makes the starting 11 and if so who misses out. The national selector Geoff Miller hinted to us on Saturday that perhaps Stuart Broad may be rested, but after the events of Headingley last week who knows what the selectors may do.

There are few surprises in our selection for the Edgbaston Test. Leading the commentary team will be the Jonathan Agnew who will be joined by TMS regulars Henry Blofeld and Simon Mann. Former South African captain Shaun Pollock will be able to offer a fascinating insight into Harmison's form after bowling alongside him during Saturday's semi-final at the Rose Bowl. Pollock will probably be glad to put his feet up in the TMS commentary box after playing two big Twenty20 games in five days between the Tests.

Our other summarisers joining us in Birmingham will be TMS favourite Vic Marks and England's most capped player Alec Stewart. Alec has particularly good memories of playing against South Africa.

In 1998 he was the England captain when his team won a dramatic series by two Tests to one after a thrilling victory in the final Test in Leeds. Then five years later Alec played his 133 and final Test at his home ground The Oval. It was another amazing game as England somehow managed to turn around the match and square the series.

Completing our team at Edgbaston with be our roving reporter. As you may have heard Alison Mitchell has been doing this role throughout the summer, but as she is off to cover the Beijing Olympics we have a guest reporter for this game. We've chosen someone who knows the ground particularly well after playing at Edgbaston for 15 years - former Bears, England and Scotland all-rounder Dougie Brown.

During the lunch interval on Thursday we are going to be examining the legacy of former Warwickshire and South Africa coach Bob Woolmer .This week sees the publication of the book he finished just before his death "The art and science of cricket". Among those joining us to talk about a very popular figure in the game will be his son Dale as well as several players he influenced during his coaching career.

On Friday joining us for a View from the Boundary will be Tom Chaplin the lead singer of hugely successful band Keane. Keane's first two studio albums, Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea achieved amazing sales worldwide with their debut release earning the accolade of best-selling album of the year in 2004.

Songs like Somewhere Only We Know and Everything Changes have been major hits for the band who are huge cricket fans and regular visitors to Hove to watch their local side Sussex. Tom has already spent some time in the TMS box this summer after visiting us during the first Test at Lord's.

During the tea interval on Friday we will be joined by the head of women's cricket at the ECB, Clare Connor, and women's captain Charlotte Edwards. It is a huge 12 months for the team with the World Cup, World Twenty20 and the defence of the Ashes all coming up.

This week also marks the 35th anniversary of England's victory in the inaugural Women's World Cup final held at Edgbaston. The women's competition took place two years before the first men's tournament and of course England's men, unlike the women have never lifted a World Cup trophy.

As well as Test Match Special commentary, Pat Murphy and former England all-rounder Dominic Cork will provide regular updates on Five Live. Geoff Boycott will also appear regularly throughout the game including joining Jonathan Agnew at close of play for the now legendary TMS Podcast.

Also on Sunday evening Jonathan Agnew and Alec Stewart will be hosting a special cricket 606 on Five Live.

And don't miss our interactive scorecard, text commentary and photos from the commentary box all available at


  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks, TMS!

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, a wonderfully exciting finale to the Twenty20 competition and,yes, this frivolous form of the game is here to stay. I see nothing wrong with that at all as long as it doesn't interfere with the real game of cricket and, in particular test cricket. Cricket purists may disagree with me but we have to move with the times.

    The comparison may not be particularly apposite and there is a lot of doubt about what really happened back so many years, but I don't imagine football purists were particularly enthusiastic when, in 1823, someone picked up the ball and ran with it, giving birth to rugby football.

    But I think we should realise that Twenty20 is a completely new ball-game (sorry!) and that, not too far in the future, it may break away completely from the traditional game of cricket. The signs are there. It may be difficult to keep Twenty20 under the auspices of the current cricket authorities and simply enjoy, for the benefit of cricket in general, the large amounts of cash that T20 is generating. Why should the promotors and financiers of T20, who have very different interests, be happy with that once they realise that they have discovered the goose that lays golden eggs?

    Anyway, back to now. The selectors may think they have taken a bold decision in bringing Harmison back intio the squad, but, for me, that is just more tinkering. Harmison will obviously have to play at Edgbaston so the question is, who will he replace and who will Collingwood replace, if he comes back into the team? The easy answer is Broad and someone else.

    The correct answer is Harmison for Broad and Collingwood on drinks duty. Collingwood has done nothing since he was left out from the Headingley test and, to me it is incomprehensible that, if he wasn't good enough for Headingley, for good reasons, he is suddenly OK again, a couple of weeks later.

    One would have to have a degree in psychology and, perhaps, conspiracy theory, to understand what the selectors are up to. I have neither.

  • Comment number 3.

    In case someone may have misunderstood what I have just said, I am delighted that Harmison is back in the squad and, clearly, the team. Even tinkerers sometimes get it right.

  • Comment number 4.

    people seem to be assuming that because collingwood is "back" in the squad he will play. id be surprised if he did - i suspect it will be sidebottom for pattinson and harmison for broad. bold move if they do that - harmison and sidebottom arnt completely hopeless bats but they are number 10s at best. monty and jimmy tbh struggle to be valid number 11s. in other words more pressure is being put in top order

  • Comment number 5.

    Glad to hear that Aggers will be back - hope the problems that took him away in the middle of the last test are resolved.

    Good commentary team , except for the omission of Tuffers - he's ace and I hope he's back later in the Test Series.

  • Comment number 6.

    Let's hope the boundary rope is as close as Dougie Brown ever gets to the commentary box during an England Test match. Be honest - who wants to hear a Scotsman's views on English cricket? He couldn't help mentioning during the N.Z. one dayers recently that (apparently) there are more cricket clubs in Scotland than in England - well done Mr Agnew for questioning their quality in reply.

  • Comment number 7.

    get tuffers back in, and i hope boycott features regularly as his comments are almost always right..

  • Comment number 8.

    Be honest - who wants to hear a Scotsman's views on English cricket? He couldn't help mentioning during the N.Z. one dayers recently that (apparently) there are more cricket clubs in Scotland than in England - well done Mr Agnew for questioning their quality in reply.

    What a pompous thing to say! I enjoy Dougie Brown's contributions much more than a number of other TMS commentators. His observations are refreshingly cricket-related and his tone of voice is lively and attractive. I would happily lose CMJ and Gus Fraser to accommodate Brown. Moreover, he is right when he says that there are more Scottish cricket clubs per head of population than there are in England; never mind the quality, this implies a popular interest that surely TMS exists to serve, or does TCCNo11 think Sports Extra doesn't broadcast north of Berwick?
  • Comment number 9.

    Are you Dougie Brown? The equivalent would be a football player from the Faroe Islands commentating on Brazil v Italy - what does he know about international Test cricket when he only plays for an associate member? I think you'll find you're on your own if you prefer Dougie Brown to CMJ.

  • Comment number 10.

    Dougie Brown has played for England, though only in ODIs, not in Test matches. He made his ODI debut in 1997 against India, plus a long first class career. So he's hardly a no hoper in cricketing experience; and certainly no less experienced than many of the TMS team.

    The football analogy is a poor one, you would expect someone like John Motson to commentate on Brazil v Italy; but to what level did he play to? He probably wasn't even first pick in his back garden.

  • Comment number 11.

    Agnew, Fraser, Marks, Selvey, Boycott, Tuffnell, Stewart - all TMS commentators with Test match experience. Blofeld and CMJ have years of experience, are national treasures, are engaging, admired and respected.

    Out of interest, how would John Motson replacing Roddy Forsyth go down?

  • Comment number 12.

    nice article, i was at t20 finals day on saturday and it was stunning. atmosphere was really good too.
    shame about some of the comments, tho; fair enough if you don't like dougie brown because of his commentary, but disliking him because he's from Scotland seems unfair. As for the non-test nations thing, remember Ireland in the World Cup?
    by the way...
    "Songs like Somewhere Only We Know and Everything Changes have been major hits for the band." Let's hope any of Keane don't read that before you (hopefully) change it - the song is called Everybody's Changing. ;)

  • Comment number 13.

    Alison is off the Beijing? Wow! So, not only is she extremely knowledgeable about cricket, but she is also an expert on at least one of the Olympic sports. Which one?

    Sports commentary, summarising and reporting requires such a full knowledge of the sport, in order to impact useful information to the publc, especially for the publically-funded BBC. To have such knoledge of more than one sport, as Alison does, is truly remarkable. I say well done to her.

    She is certainly going to be missed. Many times during test match special this summer between the overs, Geoff Boycott (100+ tests) was just about to impart his opinion when, no, we are off to the boundary to find out what expression Andre Nel had on his face when he came out to hand the batsman a replacement pair of gloves, or have a count of the number of plastic beer cups in the snake. Yes, Alison will be missed. I hope the listeners to the Olympics coverage will enjoy her as much as the cricket fans have done so.

  • Comment number 14.

    Boo HOO Keane frontman
    As interesting as a dirty dishcloth

    Bring in Noel Gallagher

  • Comment number 15.

    #13: she's an expert on synchronised badminton.

  • Comment number 16.

    There's some proper pompous so and sos on here. Alison Mitchell is absolutely fine and adds to the TMS experience. As for Dougie Brown: wasn't he one of the Comedians? I think he played the milk man in KES and his sister was in Corrie.

  • Comment number 17.

    Spot on, those of you who have praised Alison Mitchell. She is very good. And yes, levdavidovich, what a nice surprise to hear her voice just when we thought we were going to hear again what Sir Geoffrey said five minutes earlier.

    The BBC rarely makes mistakes when it brings new people into its cricket "team" but, sometimes, it does let people go on a bit too long.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm placing 3 minutes 29 seconds before Jonathan Agnew starts badmouthing Twenty20, saying how awful it is and badgering someone or other to say how the ONLY cricket they like is Test cricket.

    I'd give even shorter odds on Vic Marks doing the same but no-one listens to him when he's on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Is there any chance Tuffers can replace Gus Fraser?

  • Comment number 20.

    Sorry to hear that Henry and Geoffrey are going to carry on after enduring such a poor run of form this summer. This is nearly offset by hearing Vic marks is going to feature. We've not been getting enough Mike Selvey this summer. He's knowlegable and informative.

    Not sure Alison Mitchell adds a great deal, but if having her means we get less Boycott, then you're probably not paying her enough.

  • Comment number 21.

    #19: I also wanted the Cat to stick around but I thought Gus had one of his better games - actually daring to criticise the England set-up -a step-up for him.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 20 - Hank Quinlan

    In your opinion - certainly not in mine.

    I rate Henry, Geofff, Alison and, obviously, Aggers - Vic is a favourite of mine, I also welcome the newer voices, particularly Tuffers. I rue TMS letting Jeremy Coney go, his commentating on the NZ series was excellent; I see SKY have picked him up and wish TMS had held on to him for the SA series.

  • Comment number 23.

    keane? KEANE? a member of Keane taking up valuable space in the holiest of holies, the TMS commentary box?

    because he likes cricket?

    i'm going to have to lie down now.

    could you possibly give us some sort of notice so i could arrange to not be listening at the time?

    i'd hate my radio to end up in next door's garden just because the TMS guest policy has a quality control failiure.

    other than that, carry on, excellent as always etc etc

  • Comment number 24.

    Ridiculous decision to drop Broad for this test. He has shown that he is in far better form with the bat than Collingwood and I would've played him as a batsman, who bowls a few overs. Collingwood isn't getting runs whereas Broad is, and Collingwood is unlikely to take as many wickets as Broad. It drives me mad when selectors go for squad favourites, regardless of their form. Players should be judged on their performances and if that were to happen then Broad would be there instead of Collingwood.

  • Comment number 25.

    Broad needs to be rested ; he looked exhausted.
    Why wear out such a promising possible all rounder with overplaying him ?

  • Comment number 26.

    Dougie brown needs to be permanently rested -scottish accent+cricket= ugh.

  • Comment number 27.

    Bye bye Vaughany. Come on Shah!

  • Comment number 28.

    First of all I think it needs to be stated that some of the comments relating to the excellent Dougie Brown are both ridiculous and offensive .
    He has been a first rate representative of professional cricket , ask the PCA , and one of the most intelligent and articulate observers of the game . He has been great when given a full TMS role in the past and is totally wasted in the ridiculous ' roving ' role , as was the excellent Alison Mitchell .
    A TMS with the above two intelligent and articulate people would be hugely preferable to one full of Phil Tufnells .
    The TMS team for this match is excellent ,although CMJ is always missed .

    Many thanks !

  • Comment number 29.

    Listening to this for 3 hours now... was a bit disappointed when the lunch guest wasn't Tom from Keane as announced in your blog... or is he planned for another part of the program? It's the first time I listen and I have no idea if this 'View from the Boundary' is a special part of the program. Has anyone an idea at what time of the day this could be on?

  • Comment number 30.

    Does anyIf I may, I’d just like to say how much I enjoy the BBC’s test match coverage.

    Also, which of the following is true:
    1) levdavidovich has way too much time on his hands
    2) levdavidovich fancies Alison

  • Comment number 31.

    If you announce a guest (like for today Tom Chaplin of Keane) and that guest isn't going to be present as announced, could one the commentators on TMS say so?!! It was announced on the band's website that Tom will be on your program today with a link to this blog and I guess many fans have tried to catch the chat with him. It would have been nice to know from the beginning that he wouldn't be part of the program and save us a lot of time... :-(((


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