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TMS ready for magical Ashes

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 17:14 UK time, Thursday, 2 July 2009

Whether it was listening to Botham's exploits at the back of the classroom during the summer of 1981, celebrating Gower's glorious run-scoring feats while at scout camp in 1985, hiding my radio under the bedclothes as Gladstone Small took the winning catch in 1987, prematurely singing "Ashes Coming Home" on the outfield at Edgbaston in 1997 or chewing my finger nails at The Oval in 2005, most of my best cricket memories have come during series involving cricket's greatest rivals, England and Australia.

There are some fantastic cricket contests played around the world but for some reason the Ashes always seems to be the most magical and the 2009 vintage promises to be something special again partly because the outcome is so difficult to predict.

We may be without some of the game's legends after the retirement of the likes of Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist and most recently Michael Vaughan - but there is plenty of fascination to see how the new breed perform.

How will the new Aussie wonder kid Philip Hughes do? Can Ravi Bopara repeat his recent great form against the old enemy? Will it be Swann and Panesar trying to spin England to victory?

Then of course, the unpredictable nature of this series is given an extra twist with the opening match played at a brand new Test venue in Cardiff.

England hope to repeat their 2005 Ashes triumph

Whatever happens over the next seven weeks BBC Radio will bring you all the drama with ball by ball commentary on Test Match Special, extensive coverage on Five Live and plenty more here at - but before that you will be able to hear news of England's squad for the first npower Test at 1000am on Sunday morning on Five Live during a specially extended Sportsweek programme.

Our commentary team for Cardiff will be led by our cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, who will be joined by TMS stalwarts Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Henry Blofeld and ABC radio's Jim Maxwell, who is with us from now until the end of the summer.

Our expert summarisers include the irrepressible Geoff Boycott, who played in 10 Ashes series, and TMS favourite Vic Marks - with the Australian viewpoint coming from former captain Ian Chappell and ex-fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who played for Glamorgan last season and was part of the team beaten by England in 2005.

Test Match Special will be on air on Five Live Sports Extra and Radio Four Long Wave at the earlier time of 10.25 on Wednesday so that we can bring you the all important toss live as well as the special opening ceremony in Cardiff.

Five Live's extensive Ashes coverage gets underway on Saturday 4th July from 11.00am with a new programme "Yes it's the Ashes" presented by stand-up comedian and cricket fanatic Andy Zaltzman. After that, get your calls in for England's most capped player Alec Stewart as he hosts an Ashes 606 from 7.00pm.

On Tuesday, Mark Pougatch will present an Ashes preview from 7.00pm on Tuesday live from Cardiff with guests including 2005 Ashes winner Geraint Jones and former Australia and Glamorgan fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz, who you will probably remember was the man dismissed at Edgbaston when England completed a dramatic two-run victory.

On Wednesday, Victoria Derbyshire will present her programme live from the ground from 10.00am and Five Live Sport will also be live from Cardiff on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the match - and Mark Pougatch will bring you an Ashes review at the end of each day's play with Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott.

David Garrido will report live from the ground for Radio One during the Test, while Radio Wales and Radio Cymru will have extensive coverage with Oliver Hides, Steffan Garero and Rhodri Llywelyn all presenting programmes from Cardiff.

Throughout the Test we will be keeping you up to date with events at New Road as England's women defend their Ashes crown. Victory would complete an amazing hat-trick for Charlotte Edwards and her team after winning the World Cup and ICC World Twenty20. Five Live Sports Extra will then have ball by ball commentary on the climax of the match on Monday 13th July.

If you can't wait until next week for your fix of live cricket commentary tune into Five Live Sports Extra and Radio Four Long Wave on Sunday morning from 1030 for commentary on the semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy with Sussex against Gloucestershire and Lancashire versus Hampshire - Chris Adams, Jack Russell, Stuart Law and Shaun Udal are among our expert summarisers.

So after all the excitement of Wimbledon, prepare for a cricketing feast on BBC Radio - who knows how many new magical moments will be created.


  • Comment number 1.

    .................. and June Whitfield!

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent news about the semi finals as well as the Ashes, and on LW as well so I can listen out and about.

  • Comment number 3.

    What stupid scheduling from the BBC to put "Yes it's the Ashes" on 5live at the same time that the test is on! - looks like I have to use the BBCi player to listen. This just proves in my opinion that Adam doesn't care about the really cricket fan - he just wants to big up cricket on 5live and so the coverage goes downhill to cater of new listener. Adam - we don't want this!, so don't do it! Bring back Peter Baxter please!

  • Comment number 4.

    With the 1 day stuff out of the way, can't wait for the "real" action to start next week in the company of TMS.

    All of the familiar names are on board .... Aggers, CMJ, Blowers, Boycs, Vick and Jim Maxwell.

    Why isn't the excellent Graham Gooch a more regular contributor?

    From the Aussie standpoint, shame Rod Marsh or Thommo are not around this time ... Ian Chappell's "swagger" in the TMS box will make up for it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Erm...thats Saturday 4th July mate!

  • Comment number 6.

    Could you not get the spin twins of Crofty and Tuffers in as expert summarisers, in Cardiff? That would be quality entertainment...

  • Comment number 7.

    Blowers Number 1 Fan - "Yes its the Ashes" is going to be on tomorrow, which is a full 4 days before the opening day of the First Test!

    Should be good - hopefully the text commentary will be good (and on auto-refresh) for those of us not able to listen in at work! Even more so, I shall have my digital radio at T in the Park next weekend in order to keep up to date with play before and inbetween bands with the TMS team.

    Looking forward to it, though shame Cardiff's first test match is an Ashes one (the first test at that!) instead of doing what the ECB have done over the years with the Riverside in giving them the opening matches against generally weaker opposition ahead of the main draw of the summer tests going ahead in the Midlands or the South. Hopefully Durham will start getting to host some of the bigger test matches instead of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka over future years.

  • Comment number 8.

    Re post 4 - Jeff Thompson will be with us during the One Day series so you will be able to hear him. Also Matthew Hayden will be part of the TMS team for the final three Ashes Tests.
    Re post 6 - Phil Tufnell will be part of the TMS team at Lords, Headingley and the Oval. Unfortunately Robert Croft will be playing for Glamorgan during most of the Test but we might try and grab a word with him at the weekend.
    Re post 3 - I'm flattered that you think I schedule Five Live's output as well as being the cricket producer ! I am not responsible for deciding when "Yes its the Ashes" is broadcast. Throughout the Ashes summer I hope you will enjoy the range of our coverage on the BBC from Test Match Special's ball by ball commentary on Five Live Sports Extra and Radio 4 Long Wave to the extensive coverage on Five Live and other BBC outlets.

  • Comment number 9.

    Review in the Telegraph today was good-I'm now aware that Mr Mountford will be careful not to dumb down TMS to R5 level--you could ban White and Pougatch from TMS!!-Arlo White at the 20/20 was like a football commentary-anyway welcome back to the real thing --Aggers Victor Blowers CMJ and Chappelli!!!et al

  • Comment number 10.

    I can't wait for Ashes on TMS. It will be great to have Jim Maxwell as part of the team as ever and to hear Blowers what a joy.

    I am dissapointed that Geoff Lawson will not be back to commentate on any of the tests though.

    Will Pat Murphy be having any role for Five Live of the series?

  • Comment number 11.

    Preaching cricket and keeping test cricket alive is indeed an important mission and responsibility on the shoulders of cricket commentators, ex-players and lovers of the Gentleman's Game.

    Best wishes to Jonathan Agnew and all the formidable members of the Commentary team who through their sound knowlegeable of test cricket's history, statistics and immaculate presentations will cause hunger and appetite in test cricket afficinados worldwide.

    Long live Test cricket.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't know. English cricket fans are the luckiest in the world when it comes to radio coverage.
    * Two NON-COMMERCIAL radio stations offering ball by ball coverage.
    * Four of the five best and most experienced ball-by-ball commentators in the world. (The other, Tony Cozier, was on for the first half of the season.)
    * Ian Chappell and Geoffrey Boycott, the two best, most experienced, most interesting, most honest and thoughtful cricket analysts in the world, backed by a range of people with recent experience in the game.
    * And an almost daunting range of other programmes and documentaries based around the Ashes and day-by-day reaction and comment.

    But that's not enough. Adam and the BBC don't care about the cricket fan? The coverage is going downhill? Complaints that various individual favourites aren't there...

    You guys should try moving to some other countries and trying their coverage. English fans are spoiled rotten. You guys should be genuflecting before photos of Adam Mountford and the BBC bosses! Because who knows - maybe the next boss that needs to economise will take a very different view!

  • Comment number 13.

    I think maybe its time for some people to stop pining for Peter Baxter. The standard of coverage on TMS has remained high, and whilst there might have been one or two decisions taken recently that have upset purists (most notably getting rid of Mike Selvey I guess), the fact is that there are 4 good expert summarisers for this game, with others such as Tuffers and Gooch and Hayden (probably forgetting a name or two there!)to fit in.

    Overall, I am pretty excited about TMS's coverage of the series. I think it is important to bring on the next generation of commentators, so hopefully Simon Mann will be heard from during the summer. I'm not one with a great fondness for Blowers, but I know that plenty are. But I do get the feeling he is nearly ready to be put out to pasture. And there is a need to find other voices to carry the show in the future. (Though Arlo White and Mark Pougatch haven't cvonvinced me as cricket broadcasters yet!)

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Adam, looking forward greatly to the series.

    I can say, with total honesty, that there is no-one on the TMS team that I don't like; sure, I have my favourites, but they each bring a distinctive quality to their remarks. Although Jeremy Coney would be a nice bonus. :)

    Pam Nash.

  • Comment number 15.

    Adam, I would like to apologies for my comments made in Post#3 I would like to take them back. May i say what a great team you have picked for the 1st Ashes Test. I cant wait to hear Blowers. I know he is doing 3 Ashes Tests. Which are the other two that he is doing?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm absolutely delighted that the BBC has chosen not to ruin our enjoyment of the Cardiff test with the stilted soccer-style commentary of Arlo "random emphasis" White. Please let this be the case for the entire Ashes (in fact, for *all* cricket)!

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm very disappointed that Geoff "Henry" Lawson won't be on air. He was great in the World Twenty20, and when I heard him then, I was sure he'd still be around for the Ashes.

  • Comment number 18.

    Full marks to the BBC for the forthcoming radio and online text coverage.

    Just a real shame that the visual element won't be there which would get me interested...

  • Comment number 19.

    The 2009 Ashes series promises to be an absorbing,4 years ago England defeated Australia in England in what many regard as the best Test Series of all time, the final score in that series was 2-1.

    Ricky Ponting's men however got their revenge, 18 months later, when they crushed England, 5-0 to regain the Ashes, that series in Australia, was to be the last Test series for, the Australia's legendary bowlers, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

    Following that 5-0 defeat England have struggled in Test Cricket, only posting series victories against New Zealand and the West Indies.

    Much of the personnel will be different for both teams compared to 4 years, ago, Australia's openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer have now both retired and in their place at the top of the order will be Simon Katich and Phil Hughes, while Bradd Haddin is the man Australia have entrusted to take over the wicket-keeping from Adam Gilchrist.

    While for England, Marcus Trescothick has now retired, and Cook fills his role at the top of the order alongside England's skipper Andrew Strauss, while Ravi Bopara who has been a revelation, for England this summer takes over from the recently retired Michael Vaughan, batting in the middle order, it certainly promises to be an exhilarating series.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 20.

    My abiding memory from the summer of 2005 ...... fifth test, fifth day, a Monday at work following TMS on PC ..... about 12.30 pm with England struggling on 120 odd for 5 and could Australia win at the Oval and retain the urn ..... pretend to do some work, go to the stationery store. In said store, 4 women surrounded a portable telly, all watching Pietersen bat the ashes home. A scene etched in my memory.
    Of course I can't say where I work. Not that I'm worried about being in trouble with the boss. Nor am I worried about being accused of sexism. But I might just need that cupboard and telly later this summer ......

  • Comment number 21.

    I am pretty excited about TMS's coverage of the series. I think it is important to bring on the next generation of commentators, so hopefully Simon Mann will be heard from during the summer. I'm not one with a great fondness for Blowers, but I know that plenty are. But I do get the feeling he is nearly ready to be put out to pasture. And there is a need to find other voices to carry the show in the future.


  • Comment number 22.

    Looking forward to the TMS coverage, but spending a lot of time in Norway I have to listen via the internet so dread the phrase 'not available in your territory'. We couldn't even get the T20 commentary. And most of the juicy bits of news and video clips are not available. Why is so much of this content not available outside UK?

  • Comment number 23.

    Norwayexile, I would guess that Vålerenga Cricket Club would know how you can access The Ashes. May be worth contacting them?

    The best I can offer is to go through on the day, they have live streaming for most sports worldwide, although if you visit out of hours the page redirects you somewhere, erm, interesting. I use them to watch live U.S. baseball and Prem League football at 3pm Sat in season, they have almost all worldwide sports fixtures.

    Pam Nash.

  • Comment number 24.

    is TMS online only available in the UK or can people in europe get it

  • Comment number 25.

    Dear Mr Mountford,
    What a wonderful summerizing over the past ashes series. Of course missing from this this time around is any free to air live tv coverage. The only thing we can get on the red button at the bbc on tv is a radio commentary of the Test Matches. So in the way I WOULD SUM UP THE COVERAGE OF THE tEST mATCHES ON rADIO 5 AND 5 LIVE EXTRA WILL BE TOTALLY BRILLIANT. On the other hand the coverage on free to air live tv coverage , a totally not existent Extra Terrestial , a big fat zero and that is being kind.
    Best wishes, From Nj, TMS Fan plus Keep Cricket Free Supporter and the views of Geoff Boycott on this subject.

  • Comment number 26.

    For what it's worth, I enjoy Arlo's contributions to TMS. He brings a distinctive energy to the proceedings.

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear Adam,

    I am returning to an old theme here, one i have raised time and time again with various BBC sites and blogs but as yet have never received a response or explaination. TMS is, as most agree, a fabulous programme which brings test cricket alive. I look forward to it hugely, particularly this summer.

    Why is it then, that the BBC still excludes a larger audience by sticking with LW and Digital and by-passing MW or FM. My car radio does not have LW or digital. When i am out and about during my working day, depending on the area, i can get a very scratchy MW720 signal but it is, at best, rubbish!

    Please sort it out, it is after all in the BBC's interest to do so.

    More importantly, can somebody please provide any sort of answer, i've been banging on about this for three years and never has the BBC felt it necessary to respond.

  • Comment number 28.

    To Syds_Sports, thanks for the suggestion, even better would be to be able to get TV coverage (while listening to TMS of course) and I'm sure someone in the sub-continent cricket fraternity here in Norway has figured that out too.

    Re question from "my blood etc", it seems to depend who has broadcast rights. TMS on England test matches from UK seems to be available online in europe but not other Radio 5 live cricket stuff.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dear Adam,
    Good luck to you and the TMS team for coverage of the Ashes tests and the ODI's.Line-up for the first Test seems great !

    I must agree with comments made by several above regarding Mark Pougatch and Arlo White. It is very important that the awful Radio 5 broadcasting style does not creep back into TMS for the Tests or ODIs. I have feared the worst for the summer as there is no soccer tournament to occupy Radio 5 and they have now finished the 'zoo-style' mauling of Wimbledon. The only Radio 5 broadcaster I can happily listen to regarding cricket is the excellent Alison Mitchell.

    This Series is simply too important to be a vehicle for the egos of 'light entertainment ' broadcasters .

    Best wishes !

  • Comment number 30.

    cheers norwayexile

  • Comment number 31.

    I think its a bit sad that Cardiff cannot be content with just God Save the Queen. This all seems like a Welsh propoganda test match than serious cricket.

  • Comment number 32.

    At 90-3 I thought it was going to be another 1st day at Lords 2005, but KP and the Ginger One seem to be doing alright, 270-3 at close would put us on top day one?
    Trying to get the live video online but not working is this a bbc issue or mine?
    Saw Sport Magazine this morning and I must say what a great publication, I think if we don`t have sledging then the test matches in the future will be all the more dull!
    My particular favourite is this

    ..."trying to tempt the portly Arjuna Ranatunga out of his crease, Shane Warne asks aloud what it would take to get the Sri Lankan out of his crease and drive. Ian Healy overhears and retorts....put a mars bar on a good length. That should do it!! Genius real genius can`t really see Prior doing that in his dulcit tones but expect Swanny to liven things up when he gets the chance!

  • Comment number 33.

    Boycott is drunk and embarrassing. Does he have to be on?

  • Comment number 34.

    All England fans will have rejoiced in the spirited batting this morning. But those on TMS are there to provide commentary and analyis. The egregious 'Blowers' ( long a parody of himself in any case) and the charmless Boycott sounded like a pair of hysterical schoolgirls. Get rid of them both and do us all a favour.

  • Comment number 35.

    For most part ... turgid cricket on a turgid pitch.

    Ohhh to watch (and listen) to some Test cricket on a pitch with some pace and bounce ...

    verdicts soo far:-

    Aggers, CMJ and Victor - no complaints.

    Ian Chappell - excellent TMS addition, particularly during yesterday's rain delay.

    Jim Maxwell - not up to his usual standard yet, early days.

    Jason Gillespie - too 5Live for my liking, top bowler though.

    Blowers & Boycs - parody from one side and the other ... sounding a tad predictable these days

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    I will take back my comment about Blowers and Boycs.

    When the TEST cricket is exciting and tense ...

    Henry and TMS are still in a class of their own.

    Looking forward to Lords


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