BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Ready for Headingley and Flintoff's return

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 06:43 UK time, Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Although the First Test may not have proved the most exciting in the end on the field, it was more than eventful in the Test Match Special commentary box.

It is quite remarkable the range of people who wander in to see us during a game, but I think this week at Lord's must set a record for the variety of characters to join us during one match.

We welcomed Conservative leader David Cameron, Nelson Mandela's lawyer Lord Joel Joffe , new London Mayor Boris Johnston, the lead singer of Keane Tom Chaplain, former Stranglers front man Hugh Cornwell, outspoken football manager Neil Warnock, comedian Ronnie Corbett , impressionist Rory Bremner and all-round entertainer Stephen Fry. That's just the people I can remember!...


Among the other highlights were Mark Pougatch and Phil Tufnell discussing what makes a perfect beach for playing cricket. Mark surprised Tuffers by announcing that he liked a beach with a decent crust on it so he can give his ten year old son a little "chin music" and get him "swaying about"

And as always you got involved on

Paul e-mailed in to tell us he found "an amazing beach in the Scottish highlands, with a rather serious slope which helped my (normally innocuous off spin) turn miles!! And we were able to play till 11:00 pm thanks to being so far north".

Bob Ramsay like many others voted for Bamburgh with "spectacular views of the castle and the Farne Islands, brings back memories of hours spent playing ".

Rob in Exeter went for Saunton Sands in Devon "when the tide's off out, the skidding ball is a killer ... with a damp tennis ball the short ball can cause some damage"

And Mark Crossley from Suffolk e-mailed us to say "I was delighted to watch my SIX-YEAR-OLD daughter score 20 at Frinton-on-Sea last Sunday. Her innings - which really annoyed her older sister, included a delightful late cut and a straight drive: not that she knew what they were called"

No beach holiday for the TMS team of course, we move straight on to Headingley for Friday's Second Test with the return of Andrew Flintoff getting the pulses racing.

Jonathan Agnew will be leading our commentary team alongside Christopher Martin Jenkins and Henry Blofeld.

There can be no better expert summariser at Headingley than Geoff Boycott who will be with us alongside former South African captain Shaun Pollock and TMS favourites Vic Marks and Angus Fraser.

Angus and Shaun will be helping us look back on the 1998 series which finished in a thrilling 2-1 victory for England after a narrow win at Headingley.

Gus played a key role in that victory taking eight wickets in Leeds after being a batting hero earlier in the series blocking Allan Donald at Old Trafford.

During lunch on Friday, Yorkshire and England swing bowler Matthew Hoggard will be joining us in the TMS box to answer your questions and welcome us into what he calls "the wonderful world of Hoggard".

Our "view from the boundary" on Saturday comes from one of Britain's most respected actors Sir Tom Courtenay.

His 50-year career has spanned stage and screen including starring in many of the most influential films of the past 40 years including the likes of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Billy Liar and Doctor Zhivago.

Sir Tom was born 50 miles away from Leeds in Hull and is a lifelong cricket supporter.

Alison Mitchell will again be reporting out and about as well as providing her thoughts throughout the day as part of the TMS Blog.

Among Alison's tasks will be joining the Barmy Army as they receive singing lessons from Yorkshire Opera and she'll also be taking part in the drills of new fielding coach Richard Halsall.

As well as TMS commentary , BBC Five Live will have updates every 15 minutes with Pat Murphy and England great Graham Gooch and don't miss Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's Test Match Special Podcast on Five Live and then available for download.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great mouth is watering with anticipation. I think we will see a different performance from the SA attack this time andt will be very interesting to see how England get on with a five man attack.

    Go on Freddie...set em alight!!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Disappointed that Fraser has the nod over Tufnell for this test. However, I'm looking forward immensely to the Hoggard section.

    How about an interview with Yorks Chief Exec Stewart Regan about the difficulties of administration and player registration in teh modern game?

  • Comment number 3.

    Good to hear that Mathew Hoggard will be joining you to answer listeners' questions. If you would like a truly transparent and efficient way of harvesting questions for Mathew, you could use our platform we would be very happy to help out.

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree that Phil Tufnell has been a great addition to the summarisers. Hope he's back soon!

  • Comment number 5.

    re. comment 2,
    I think that Tufnell is OK in small doses but is more in line with R5L ambience.

  • Comment number 6.

    Can I just say how fantastic it was to have Mark Pougatch commentating during the Lords test.
    Please can we have more of him. I have nothing against Simon Mann as a person, but in comparison to Pougatch he is unspeakably dull.

  • Comment number 7.

    Great to hear that Blowers is back, i do wish that he was allowed 4 or 5 tests a summer. Tuffers was also very good in the last test i thought. Surprisingly informative as well as Mark Pougatch who is equally as good!

    TMS is a treasure long may it continue!

    With England, nobody seems to have mentioned the positves of Paul Collingwood being dropped. Remember Andrew Strauss? He was dropped for Sri Lanka and came back a refreshed, better player. Maybe some times away from the game will do him the world of good?


  • Comment number 8.

    Have to agree about Tuffers. Informative as well as being naturally funny. Career journalists make a big fuss about the BBC being obsessed with using ex players but, as a view/listener, I much favour the greater insight that they can bring.

  • Comment number 9.

    Since there's a positive comment about Henry Blofeld on here already, I must add a negative one. I enjoy matches much more when he's not present.

    Too slow in conveying the action: the crowd roars well in advance of any commentary from him. Too predictable ("he's up to the wicket, he bowls") and given to the self-cliche ("kicking horse"). Often seemingly unable to accept the expert's point of view, clinging to his own, and repeating it.

    And, worst of all, prone to going off on one of his oh-so-endearing rambles when the cricket is at its most exciting. He would have been fine on Monday at Lords, but at the business end of a Test Match, or one of those crunch sessions, that's not on.

    I'm missing the SA regular commentator from previous series, whose name escapes me. Alison Mitchell seems to still be learning the game, and while this is a positive introduction, a couple of the interviews (about the declaration, for instance) have been naive.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another day ... another major development in cricket !

    We'll of course also be discussing the new structure of domestic cricket during this test.

    What do you make of the new EPL plans ?

    Will you miss the Pro-40 competition ?

    E-mail us or text 84040 or contribute to this blog.

    Also to let you know following coverage of the Test Match on tuesday, we will bring you commentary on the outstanding Twenty20 quarter final between Durham and Glamorgan on Five Live Sports Extra.

  • Comment number 11.

    Adam I am dissapointed to hear that Blowers is part of the commentary team for this test.

    Not a negataive comment though, its because I won't hear too much of it! On Friday I am at Birkdale for the Open Golf then I go away for a week starting Saturday! How bad timing is that!

    I'll try and squeeze some Blowers stints in if I can.

    Pleased to hear the Durham Twenty20 match will be on also, not that I'll hear it!

    One question for you though, why is Neil Manthorp not part of the commentary team this series?

    He was excellent on the last tour and at the world cup last year. It was good to hear him previewing the days play a couple of times but he is missed from commentary.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm chuffed to here that Blowers is back - a Test match is always better when he is on TMS. Welcome back Henry!

    And can't wait to see Freddie back in action - really missed him with the ball - who cares if he doesn't perform with the bat - colly wasn't so it can't get any worse! (Touch-wood!)

  • Comment number 13.

    Glad Blowers is back - but I'll miss Tufnell, he's ACE!!

    All I'm asking is that, this test, we don't get a draw...........I'm hoping Freddie will be inspired, along with the rest of the team, at his return. Collingwood will probably come back later, stronger for a rest.

  • Comment number 14.

    All this talk of the excellent Blowers misses the point (or my point, at least). There have been three summarisers over the years that have put their ego over their job. Trevor Bailey and Fred Trueman are now mercifully no longer employable, but the execrable Geoff Boycott is still there, still shouting through the commentary, still trying to prove what we know anyway; that he was a master batsman, but clueless strategist. Let's give him a nice long rest, shall we TMS?

  • Comment number 15.

    Adam, I think I raised this before during the series in New Zealand, is there any chance that the lunchtime and tea interviews/debates can be put into a "Best of TMS" podcast, so that for those who are unable to listen to them live can hear them later?

  • Comment number 16.

    Can you really see the Faroes from Bamburgh? They're a good few hundred miles NNW from John O'Groats...

  • Comment number 17.

    Tuffers and Blowers would have been a fun pairing. Echo the call for PCR's swift return. Fraser is too dopey and dreary by comparison. Shaun Pollock has been doing well, though.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm with andpalm (Comment no.14) - so much so that I have taken to switching off the radio and turning on the TV commentary for a carefully measured half hour when I hear that dreaded hectoring voice come on. I've never had to do that before in 25 years of listening. (I did get lucky once or twice and coincide with a Michael Holding spell, so it wasn't all bad.)
    I missed Henry too, but on the plus side we seem to be getting an extra helping of Vic Marks so well done for that. He is worth twenty Boycotts. (And a dozen Tufnells - that cheeky Cockney persona gets a bit wearing.)

  • Comment number 19.

    Its great news that Henry is back! I cant wait to hear Blowers! Bring him on! :)

  • Comment number 20.

    Thank goodness ! The TMS line-up for the 2nd Test is perfect in every way . Welcome back Henry !
    I'm afraid I have to be negative about aspects of the coverage of the 1st Test. We simply have far too much of Phil Tufnell. Hopefully Darren Gough will get the 'television celebrity' role next year . Mark Pougatch is fine for general Radio 5 coverage . He is by far the least suitable of all those given a trial on TMS . When he and Phil Tufnell were on together I felt that I simply wasn't tuned in to TMS at all . It was the least appropriate pairing I have ever heard . TMS is the most unique and treasured programme in all of British sports broadcasting . Please do not spoil it in the name of ' popularism '.
    Please give Alison Mitchell an opportunity in the TMS commentry role . Her contributions to the various 1 Day matches have been excellent and she does not let her ego get in the way of covering a game in an informative and entertaining style .

    Many thanks !

  • Comment number 21.

    Commentary should be styled in the manner of an informed spectator telling his friends what he sees.
    All this "Buy 'eck! Call 'imself an openin' batter!" is a bore.
    Remind me who was it said -
    "What do they know of cricket who only cricket know"
    Was it a West Indian writer?

  • Comment number 22.

    re cricket premier league
    bring it on.

    re tms.
    Tuffers is great value, definitely. but it've been really interesting to hear Fraser commentate on this match, especially as it's going to be dominated by fast bowling.

    and yes, Alison Mitchell is great. and yeah [sigh] welcome back Blowers!

  • Comment number 23.

    Personally, I would like to have seen Matthew bowling in this test, rather than being interviewed in the lunch break (and I suspect he would too!)

    I just wonder if he and the rest of the team feel that the "spare" place in the team should have gone to a younger man than Pattinson, to give valuable experience?

  • Comment number 24.

    Seeing Dickie Bird and Brian Close sitting together, and seeing Brian looking older than Dickie, brought to mind this - the second Test England v WI in 1976.

    In the absence of a current Ask Bearders, I wonder whether there has been a Test match since then in which one of the participants has been older than one of the umpires...

  • Comment number 25.

    "Variety of characters"? Bunch of London luvvies you mean. How about some people who actually care about cricket as opposed to 'hearing themselves talk about cricket'?
    As for commentators, I haven't bothered since Arlott. Bailey, Johnston, Trueman and Blofeld were all unbearable and the idea of Tufnell turns my stomach. It's not as if he was a good player. The idea of Matthew Hoggard as a commentator when he should be at least 3rd name on the sheet every time is similarly grotesque. And don't get me starfted on the 'Barmy Army'. They're the reason I don't go to Test matches anymore.

  • Comment number 26.

    It is dissapointing that the selectors chose Pattinson, come on, he is not in the loosest sense English. It makes a mockery of this being the England team, again games at this level are lost, not by the players but by the selectors and that has been so for years and years now. How sad

  • Comment number 27.

    Where's Neil Manthorp this time around? The only impartial South African commentator i've ever heard. Very informative, knowledgable and good humoured.

  • Comment number 28.

    I also take it Mr Withnell (post 25) doesn't like change. "Things were better in my day lad" i guess.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.