BBC BLOGS - Adam Mountford
« Previous | Main | Next »

Lily for Leeds?

Post categories:

Adam Mountford | 18:25 UK time, Wednesday, 5 August 2009

At the start of the Edgbaston Test it was Phillip Hughes who caused a stir in the on-line world by announcing his exclusion from the Australian Test team via a message on the social networking site "Twitter"

Well the next revelation we hear via Twitter is that super-cool singer song writer Lily Allen is a big cricket fan who listens to Test Match Special and is considering a career in cricket commentary when her time as a pop star comes to an end. Lily, the daughter of actor Keith Allen, revealed how she was listening to TMS whilst driving down the M4 during the Third Test and was intrigued by the description of England bowler Graham Onions as "tall, dark-haired and pigeon-toed".

Jonathan Agnew has been in Twitter contact with Lily offering any cricket commentary tips and whilst I don't think she'll be describing the action at Headingley this week we are hoping Miss Allen may pay a visit to the TMS box at the Oval.

Lily Allen, BBC Big Weekend

Whilst Lily serves her commentary apprenticeship, Aggers will be joined at Leeds by ABC Radio's Jim Maxwell and Henry Blofeld. One of my earliest memories of listening to TMS was hearing Blowers describing the end of that sensational Headingley Test back in 1981:

"Bright's bowled the middle stumps out of the ground... England have won... They've won by 18 runs. Willis runs about punching the air..."

Like so many of you, I am sure it was that amazing series that captivated me and turned me into a cricket obsessive. Every time I now visit Headingley I can't resist looking out for signs of the "confectionary stall" that Ian Botham hit a six in and out of, or the site of the scoreboard which famously showed England being 500-1 against winning the game at one stage.

Scoreboard, Headingley, 1981; England are 500-1 to win

And remember, if you want to relive moments of that Test or any other great Ashes highlight, you simply must check out the Test Match Special Ashes Archive (

Geoff Boycott, who of course played in that amazing game, is one of our expert summarisers for this Test. Boycs will be joined by former England spinner Phil Tufnell and ex-Aussie opener Matthew Hayden who made a very popular Test Match Special debut at Edgbaston.

To be honest, I was a little nervous at first meeting "Haydos". On the field he had always appeared an intimidating presence who terrorised bowlers with his hard hitting and no nonsense approach but, as many of you will have already gathered from listening to him on the air, Hayden is a charming bloke with fascinating views on the modern game as well as such varied subjects as cookery and self sufficiency. He was particularly amazed at the volume of cakes and other treats that kind TMS listeners deliver to our team during Test matches and if you were one of those who sent something to us in Birmingham you will be pleased to hear that your offering almost certainly received the Haydos seal of approval.

As well as ball-by-ball commentary on the vital Test match TMS will also have lots more to offer during our five days in Leeds. Fourteen of the eighteen living Yorkshire men to play tests against the old enemy are gathering at the ground including the likes of Matthew Hoggard, Ray Illingworth, Chris Old and Bob Appleyard and we'll be chatting to many of them about their memories of Ashes Tests on Friday.

We will also hear from the Chairman of the England and Wales cricket board Giles Clarke who will be telling us why he is urging England supporters not to boo Ricky Ponting as well as updating us on the latest plans for the new look 2010 English cricket season.

Our "View from the Boundary" guest during lunch on Saturday will be distinguished actor Simon Williams who starred in programmes like "Upstairs Downstairs", "Don't Wait Up" and "Holby City". We learned about his love of cricket by fortune when we came across him at the Sir Viv Richards cricket stadium in Antigua where he had travelled hoping to see an exciting test match. Sadly, of course, like so many other English cricket fans, he was hugely disappointed as the game was abandoned after just a few deliveries. Let's hope he has better luck this week.

During the lunch interval on Sunday we have the latest in our new series where you get the chance to challenge the knowledge of "Umpiring guru" John Holder on some of the more bizarre laws of cricket. John joined us during the Durham test in May where he was able to answer such queries as: "If a ball hits a cow which has just stumbled onto the outfield on the full and is caught by a fielder is that out?"

If you can come up with any more weird and wonderful scenarios then post them on this blog or e-mail And among our other visitors at Headingley will be members of Australian rock band Jet who have recently been working with The Rolling Stones and have played concerts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the SCG.

As ever, there will be plenty of other cricket coverage elsewhere. Arlo White and Phil Tufnell will have all the build up live from Headingley on Thursday evening from 1900 BST on BBC Radio 5 live whilst Pat Murphy, Alec Stewart and Jason Gillespie will have regular updates throughout the test with Mark Radcliffe presenting his afternoon show from the ground on Friday and Peter Allen at Headingley for Drive on Monday and Tuesday. Plus, on Saturday morning from 1100, tune in for 5 lives' cricket comedy show "Yes, It's The Ashes" presented by stand-up Andy Zaltzman - guests this series have already included Lee Mack and Frank Skinner.

David Garrido will report live from the ground for BBC Radio 1 starting with inserts into the breakfast show on Friday and don't forget the legendary daily TMS podcast with Aggers and Geoff Boycott.

Whatever you do don't miss our coverage from Headingley on the game which could - and I only say "could" - see England seal the Ashes. Or, like 2005, will it all go down to a nail-biting climax at the Oval?


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I think Aggers should do a kind of job swap with Lily, leading to a duet with her at Glastonbury or some other festival next year.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Aggers Plays Pop", perhaps?

  • Comment number 3.

    It would be worth listening to Lily Allen's commentary, although as the majority of her CDs always have the 'Parental Advisory' stickers, I reckon there should be a delay of a few seconds and a bleeper button!

    Let's hope we can wrap it up at Headingley, fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 4.

    Lily Allen? Give me strength. If she appears on TMS, here's one listener you'll be losing.


  • Comment number 5.

    'amazing', 'legendary', and 'sensational' - can we just have our much beloved TMS, please?

  • Comment number 6.

    Matt Hayden, like a lot of that legendary team, actually turns out to be a nice guy! Who'd have thought! I think its fascinating listening to the likes of Boycs jousting with Hayden over the game. Just goes to show (and say this quietly in Boycott's company) there are many many succesful ways to approach the great game of test cricket.

  • Comment number 7.

    HugeofWivey, 'Stop Dumbing Down TMS!' I can't imagine that Tuffers or Gillespie are rasing the IQ of the TMS box.
    Lily might just suprise us all and be a font of all cricketing knowledge, she must do something when she's not singing!

  • Comment number 8.

    Lily Allen on TMS? I must admit to being somewhat perplexed by the notion, however if she is a true cricket fan I am glad she is being given the chance. A previous poster has said that it is dumbing down TMS, however I trust the team will not allow that to happen. After all, what is the difference between a singer and an actor when it comes to cricket? When Russell Crowe was on I was pleasantly surprised by his view on the game, and he has a chequered public image as well. Is it perhaps Ms Allen's gender which is causing the problem?

  • Comment number 9.

    oh poster number 4, get over yourself. No one cares if you don't carry on listening, we'll be too busy concentrating on the cricket to give a damn.

    England to seal it at Headingley, no worries. :)

  • Comment number 10.

    My guess is that Peter Baxter may have attempted to get Sinatra/Elvis/any other musical world superstar into the TMS commentary box, but would've kept quiet about it until it had happened. Adam Mountford celebrates an attempt at persuading Lily Allen to do it. This, I think, says everything about the size of Peter Baxter's shoes, and Mountford's feet.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry Illumi-llama, but Lily's sex has nowt to do with it. Russell Crowe was insightful, but a 10 minute guest appearance is nothing to do with being a commentator. And I don't recall that he mentioned being interested in Lance Cairns being slightly rotund and bowling off the wrong foot. If Lily was intrigued by the description of Onions, there is no indication she was bothered by his ability to swing a ball at 85-odd mph. And, quite frankly, who cares?

  • Comment number 12.

    More celebs = more listeners = more sponsorship = more money = more coaching = even better English players, I suppose. Can't wait for the day they get somebody who knows nothing about the game to make an idiot of themselves though. I gather Peter André's on the promo circuit.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think it's a bit harsh to call interviewing Lily Allen an example of 'dumbing down'. After 50 years of TMS, it must be quite difficult to continue to get original guests, who have a genuine interest in and knowledge of cricket, and who have the requisite notoriety. I could do a cracking 'view from the boundary', unfortunately no-one knows or cares who I am. Similarly, Simon Williams is hardly a household name - well, I've never heard of him, anyway.

    It's easy to be nostalgic for the days when TMS included rambling features about the 1953 MCC tour to the West Indies, but it's unrealistic to expect the programme to go unchanged in this multimedia age. I would probably rather hear Trevor Bailey recount how he spent four hours playing Ramadhin with his pad, but this is unlikely to engage the average listener, or attract young people to cricket. At least give the girl a chance before you slag her off.

  • Comment number 14.

    They could get the Duckworth Lewis Method in again to back her up.

  • Comment number 15.

    The size of Baxter's shoes and Mountford's feet?!?!?!? 95% of TMS is the commentary of the cricket and if you actually read the blog Mr Mountford says "I don't think she'll be describing the action at Headingley this week". There have been changes at TMS and those that were good continue those that didn't work were dropped. Is change not allowed? I hate to say this but apparently the earth isn't flat but i don't believe it myself.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hear hear wakeupwakeupwakeup, well said sir.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hey - I think all this about Lily Allen fancying Graham Onions is great publicity for cricket amongst the younger generation & all those who think she's 'dumbing down' the game should grow up & stop being exclusive 'cricket snobs'. The question here is how will the quiet Durham lad cope if she gets hold of him??

  • Comment number 18.

    Hate cricket! Love Lily!

  • Comment number 19.

    It will be fascinating to see what occurs if Ms.Allen is involved with a contertemps with Geoffrey! :-)

    "Nahhh, you youngsters, you're just stoooopid! My Mum could sing and dance better than you lot!" etc...

  • Comment number 20.

    Step 0: In the beginning was Test Cricket. Hushed tones. General air of reverence.

    Step 1: And then came 50 over cricket. Jangling music. Roar of the pack baying for sixes and fours.

    Step 2: And now there’s T20 with even greater emphasis on the obvious. Dancing girls, Lalit Modis, vulgar display of vulgarity. Screams of 'DLF Maximums' from hitherto dignified gents and former flannel-clads.

    Step 3: Lily Allen

    Step 4: ???

  • Comment number 21.

  • Comment number 22.

    Having enjoyed TMS since the 70's I can't help thinging of how commentary standards have declined.
    Gone have the day's when the commentators painted a picture with words, where you could visualise the action.
    Also there seems to be a distinct lack of giving the relevant match details.
    It seems that you can listen forever before there is a recap of the wickets fallen (with description) and all the bowling figures.
    The commentators seem happy to waffle on about their own theories before serving the listening public with the events of the day.
    Is this because they believe that we have access to TV pictures or the scorecard on Radio 5 live via freeview?.
    It was refreshing to hear the summaries of Ian Chapple, who had great stories and gave interesting insight into the matches. He really showed up some of his more predestrian counterparts.
    Also as a radio listener the commentary was more accessable then on BBC Radio 3, now its hidden away on LW which many radios don't have these days (Especially in the car - The main place I listen to TMS) and the MW coverage on 720 is very patchy in my area, and I would not buy a DAB radio just for the current TMS.
    I really think that TMS should raise its game to bring it back to the standards achieved at the time you (Mr Mountford) first started listening.

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    Actually, Adam, I suspect the commentary ran:
    'Bright's bowled! The middle stump's out of the ground! England have won, they've won by eighteen runs. Willis runs around punching the air...'
    Bright being the batsman, not the bowler.
    It's called punctuation. Useful if you're writing for a living.
    Lily would know that.

  • Comment number 25.

    "super-cool singer song writer" - how lame is that adjective

  • Comment number 26.

    22. At 09:11am on 06 Aug 2009, TheOneVoiceOfReason wrote:


    Cheer up, times change, its not the end of the world - i love TMS how it is - my perfect day is sat outside in the sun on freshly mowed garden, reading a book and listening to TMS - worth the licence fee on its own.

    I strongly doubt that a 10 minute appearence by Ms Allen is going to destroy such a perfect format.

    Seriously, TMS is guaranteed to make me laugh out loud at least a couple of times a day, how many sitcoms can you say that about.

    Your'e right to be a bit cagey about digital radio though - a bought a tiny one specifically to listen to the ashes - i've yet to find anywhere in britain it can receive any channel, let alone TMS.

  • Comment number 27.

    Is anyone addressing the problem that most cricket fans cant watch Test matches?The viewing figures for the first test were lower than all the top ten programs on all terestial channels!Under one million,compare that with over four million for the grand prix.Blowers Aggers say something,its not just about money.

  • Comment number 28.

    Lily Allen? Oh please..The Radio 1 controller hasn't taken over as the big cheese at TMS and targeted the 12yr old age group? Super cool singer song writer? Stop reading The daily Star Adam....

  • Comment number 29.

    I don't think anyone's suggesting Lily join the TMS team full-time but it would certainly be interesting to get her in there for a little stint to hear her views.

    As for Matthew Hayden he was one of the highlights of the last Test for me. Really interesting to hear his thoughts on the action and thought he definitely added something to the coverage. And yes who'd have thought such a tough, rugged, bruiser of a player would come across fairly softly-spoken and well-mannered off the field!?

  • Comment number 30.

    look, the bottom line is, outside the ashes, test cricket has lost it's appeal. so surely, someone as popular as lily allen watching and talking about cricket can only be good for the game? also, people whinging that TMS is targeting the 12yr old age group. GOOD. that's what we need, kids getting involved.

  • Comment number 31.

    Why are people bashing Lily Allen before they've even heard what she has to say!? I think it's great to here views from celebrity cricket fans - they don't have to be experts, it all adds to TMS's charm.

    Very pleasantly surprised by Haydos and look forward to his future contributions. It always amazes me how ex cricketers from all over the world can join the team and fit straight in.

  • Comment number 32.

    Lily Allen is a goddess.

    That is all.

  • Comment number 33.

    For music lovers this is great news. The longer this untalented annoying little girl stays commentating on cricket the less damage she can do "musically". Is there no end to how much she can benefit by means of nepotism? Where it not for the help of her equally annoying father and show business friends this girl would probably still be at college doing a media studies course.

  • Comment number 34.

    Bit of an over reaction from some on here!
    If you know lily allen and know for a fact she knows nothing about cricket then say she knows nothing about cricket and shouldnt be on tms.
    If howvere, and i suspect this is the case, you dont know about her knowledge of cricket, then wait until you hear her before passing judgement.
    How many obscure guests have we had in the past? too many to count!!
    We might be pleasantly surprised!!

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm really pleased that someone like Lilly Allen is a fan of TMS and cricket in general. Who cares if she's young and (gasp!) a girl. Can't wait to hear what she has to say. Just a shame it will be on the radio and not tv, she's pretty hot.....

  • Comment number 36.


    if you could spell 'confectionery stall' then you might have a greater chance of finding it... ;-)

    i'm 'bothered' about getting lily allen on tms, but it would take more than that for me to turn off...


  • Comment number 37.

    Surely there are other children of famous people desperate for a big break? Hasn't Lily had enough chances? I had forgotten her. Or have the BBC contracted her and are equally desperate to find some way to get value for money out of it?

  • Comment number 38.

    I love Lily Allen, so adding her to the TMS team if only for half an hour would be great!

  • Comment number 39.

    Sory, buit how exactly is Henry Blofeld, and his inability to understand the finer points of the game, like em the score, dumming up TMS?

    Lets not be snobs about all of this. Phil Tufnell is as insightful a commentator as anyone else. And at least we don't have Fred Trueman constantly not being able to understand what is going off out there anymore.

    If where and when standards are threatened, thats one thing. But Adam Mountford did was make a slight joke about a pop star mentioning TMS on her twitter, and the guy is being crucified. GET A GRIP PEOPLE. TMS has been as good as it ever has been this year. (Personally I would prefer a little less Boycott but whatever, I am prepared to put up with it for the odd half hour spell here and there!)

  • Comment number 40.


  • Comment number 41.

    Yes, times change. We can't reasonably expect that people of the age of Aggers, Tufnell, Hayden will have the same style as those of yesteryear. Don Mosey - please no! Trevor Bailey - "he's just a good county class bowler" was his mantra. Trueman - "I just don't know what is going off out there!".

    Some were very good, but rose-tinted hindsight perhaps leads us to imagine they were all better than they were.

    I have to agree with the last comment on Blofeld. He doesn't know what's going on, e.g. if somebody is out, or who is on the field, let alone the finer points of the game. How many times at Cardiff did he complain that the size of numerals on the scoreboard was too small for him to read? Good grief, once or twice was enough, but after that use the scorer's notes, look at a laptop, or ask somebody! He is one person who is way past his sell-by date!

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm not sure who Lily Allen is but I'd be happy to listen to a bit of chat from her anyway. Russell Crowe's cousin is Martin Crowe - one of world's best batsmen in his time - and another cousin is Geoff Crowe, so Russell was a natural for TMS. Matthew Hayden is a delight to listen to. It is great fun to have so many outstanding ex-players chipping in. I thought Sean Pollock was also very good last year. One other thought: I'm not a huge fan of Ricky Ponting but I despise this business of booing him. He's a fine batsman and it should be something of a privilege to watch him. Respect is a watchword in cricket. As Matthew Hayden would say....

  • Comment number 43.

    If you asked me to name a celebrity that I can't stand, the first person I would think of is Lily Allen. She mouths off about things she knows nothing about, she puts other celebrities down because she is clearly jealous of anyone who is more successful at singing than her (which is pretty much everyone...), and her music is absolutely awful and the sort of thing you'd expect an 11 year old to write.

    The only reason she is in the public eye is because of her father, and nobody would have given her a second look otherwise.

    I do not know what TMS are thinking....who cares what she thinks about cricket, or anything else for that matter?

  • Comment number 44.

    I think to slag off Lily Allen's appearance on TMS before it even happens is totally uncalled for.

    If she is rubbish then slag it off but give her a chance.

  • Comment number 45.

    Something that I remember from that Headingley test was that Dennis Lillee & Rodney Marsh both had £7.50 each on England to win @ 500/1

    I'm sure a few people 'done' their packets on Australia winning @ 1/4

    The rest as they say, is history.....

  • Comment number 46.


    "she puts other celebrities down because she is clearly jealous of anyone who is more successful at singing than her"

    Not sure about the jealousy part of it, but isn't that what you have just done to her...

    And I presume, if you can't stand her, you know her personally. In which case, do pass on my regards, and tell her to keep making the music, which I quite like. (You can't say her music is "absolutely awful" because like design, it is subjective.

    And if she is in the public eye thanks to her father, then I say good luck to her. We all need a bit of help in getting on in life.

    Looking forward to hearing what she has to say

  • Comment number 47.

    Well done Adam for using the best of the TMS commentary team for the Ashes series - Aggers, CMJ, Blowers and Aussie Jim. It's been a delight to listen to, back to the golden days, with Vic Marks a stand-out among the summarisers. Simon Mann is best of the other commentators by a mile, but Lily Allen would definitely be an improvement on some of the others, so keep her in mind if you're tempted to experiment.

  • Comment number 48.

    There's only one thing worse than snobbery - and that's INVERTED snobbery. If certain people wish to air their concerns to the effect that standards have slipped, then fine. If their views appear unreasonable to the general public, that's probably because 'dumbing down' has been going on for so long now that people have become accepting of it. I am another who loves cricket, but tolerates a lot of the peripherals that are forced on me by modernists because I have to, and for no other reason. I stopped worrying about my views being outdated the day, in 1997, that I heard some fool on the BBC's televised cricket magazine programme assert that 'it's okay to be rowdy at cricket matches, kids'. As for Lily Allen, I wouldn't know her if I tripped over her. I have about as much interest in modern celebrities as I do in 'social networking'. Now can we get back to the cricket, please?

  • Comment number 49.

    Adam, I am currently serving on exchange in the USA and it has been a real treat to be able to listen to TMS both via the internet and the podcast of the summary of the days play during this summer. The standard of commentary and the wit of conversation has been as excellent as ever and I am currently trying to persuade the locals that cricket is a far better game than the form of rounders practiced over here. I have also given them a taste of TMS as I listen to the programme in my office. I was somewhat peturbed at the thought of Lily Allen on the programme and only hope that in 'real life' she is rather more personable than some of her more acidic song lyrics would lead one to believe. She was, initially, rather amusing (and her tunes are undeniably catchy melodic pop) but she has turned into rather a one trick sort of act: 'You're my ex and you were awful in bed, you're so dull, haven't you read what you're supposed to be able to do for/to me, whine, moan repeat ad infinitum'. I stand ready to be proved entirely wrong and am sure that she will prove as utterly engaging as the regular members of the team and indeed other guests. TVMI for maintaining the excellent TMS, I would offer to send a Stars and Stripes cake for the team but am not sure it would survive being airmailed! Regards, johnnyexile

  • Comment number 50.

    I think it would be great to have Lily Allen on as a guest commentator for the Oval test. It would be the first time in my life my wife would voluntarily listen to cricket/ TMS with me.
    For that I'll be grateful to Lily.

    To all people who think she'll "dumb down TMS" or don't like her music - get a grip. I find it fantastic that a 24yr old woman is interested in cricket - and through that gets my wife interested in it too.

    Who are you to decide who is allowed to be a cricket-fan and who not? Relax and here's hoping for great two test matches and England to get back the urn.

  • Comment number 51.

    I most probably speak out of envy but it's tiresome to see Johnny-come-latelys/fairweathers jump on the bandwagon for a free ticket.
    Surely an opportunity could be given to someone interesting, genuine and with character - not some mockney pop tart with a bit of fame.

  • Comment number 52.

    Why not listen to the veiwpoint of young Lilly , before judging her , she is an intelligent young girl ,not a self publicist , no axe to grind here but TMS and its listeners should embrace all , not exclude a generation just because they happen to twitter and appear trendy .I am sure Jonners would have seen the benefit of attracting young people to the game .so come on Lily show em girl

  • Comment number 53.

    If her cricket commentary is as good as her singing, then it will be (if I may employ a favourite Boycottian soubriquet) - "rubbish."

    Cricket is easily the coolest game in the world already, no pseudo-celeb endorsements required.

  • Comment number 54.

    27. At 10:03am on 06 Aug 2009, Davidangry wrote:

    "Is anyone addressing the problem that most cricket fans cant watch Test matches?The viewing figures for the first test were lower than all the top ten programs on all terestial channels!Under one million,compare that with over four million for the grand prix.Blowers Aggers say something,its not just about money."

    Spot on mate - this is the coolest game in the world and it's been sold down the river by the failure of the ECB, the BBC and a morally and spiritually bankrupt Labour Government to rescue it from the clutches of Sky.

  • Comment number 55.

    I've never heard Lilly Allen's views on cricket, so am perfectly willing to be entertained (or not) by her comments. If they are no good, then I wouldn't expect to hear them again. However, I consistently have to listen to Geoffrey Boycott's constant droning about how bad this batsman is, and how rubbish that bowler is. TMS is about quality cricket, which is meant to be quality entertainment. Mr Boycott's approach to commentary and comment is not even close to entertainment, and so he should be removed from the air at the earliest opportunity.

    If he is replaced by Ms Allen, then so be it. She can't be any worse.

  • Comment number 56.

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

  • Comment number 57.

    Get over it people. TMS has interviewed a wide variety of people in the past and the commentary box should be open for everyone. If Lily Allen is to be invited in then so what. She may be an interesting person, a complete bore or an idiot. But so what. so have many of the PMs, Presidents and celebs who have been on befoe. As long as Aggers, CMJ or Boycott is about the stint will be interesting and will only help to pass the time in a rain break (hope not)

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm not a great fan of Lily and given a yay or nay, i'd say nay but for half an hour, its probably worth a crack.
    Boycs however, is the best thing about TMS. Hard and fair, his attacks on players tickle me immensly and are a perfect foil for the gentle and considered Aggers. With Blowers as the voice of Imperial Britain and Tuffers the man on the street, throw in a couple of Aussies and the gentle jousting between all is exactly the nobility that cricket inspires. I can't imagine how TMS was ever better.
    The game has been sold to tv, which I thought would cause me problems but I almost prefer to listen now. The highlights on five give me my viewing pleasure.
    The football starts again this weekend (did it end???). Then you'll see dumbing down.

  • Comment number 59.

    Lets not forget the great team there. Would any of you swap them for a football style commentary? I think not!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Can't agree with stanleyboys wrt Geoffrey or indeed TMS never being better - Johnners, Fred Trueman and the incomparable John Arlott spring to mind but he's hit the nail on the head as far as (association)football and dumbing down are concerned! There are times when temporary exile feels quite good!

  • Comment number 61.

    Thanks for the info, Adam - there are some people on here who need to get over themselves. When I see such nasty and, frankly, vicious comments on a BBC blog, I wonder how many of the commenters would have the cojones to say it to the article writer's face.........very few, I suspect.

    Different, and unusual, visitors to the TMS box keep it fresh. Those that never want anything to change may as well reserve their coffins now!


  • Comment number 62.

    Looking foreward to this test as I think this is where the ashes is won or lost for england, if its a usual Headingly pitch then we will hopefully have a result. If England win then the ashes are done of course but if the Aussies can win then I think thats the series done, as I feel the oval could be another draw.

    Can't wait for some more TMS as usual :).

    I was wondering if a player trips over or touches a fielding helmet on the ground while in contact with the ball does that still mean 5 penalty runs or a catch not being given out etc?

  • Comment number 63.

    Why on earth should you show the red carpet to someone like Lily Allen? Please could you try to keep TMS about cricket and stop all this celebrity nonsense, make a cricket programme on Radio One if you want to do that, can't you just keep one programme a mite serious, a mite interesting and definitely NOT dumbed down.

    I am so sick of this Mountford rubbish and the way your influence has totally ruined a great programme. I enjoy the new people, Tuffers,Gillespie, even Arlo and the rest, but you do not need to smash the premis to pieces.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have just spent a stunned (NOT stunning) half an hour reading the huge number of contributions from geriatric cricket snobs who feel threatened by a light hearted comment about the possibility of someone well outside their own generation being allowed on their hallowed TMS. Unless their desire is for the programme to die with them an injection of youth – though not necessarily Miss Allen’s youth – is vital. Not all listeners are approaching senility and nor do they all need or want statistics from the dark ages continuously supplied at every excuse. Some just want, when they either can not be there in person or get to a TV, to have a word picture of play painted for them and a bit of light entertainment relevant to those under pensionable age would not go amiss – and I celebrate my 60th in two weeks!

  • Comment number 65.

    Thank goodness for Sky. Warne is a revelation, Botham is a god, Gower and Bumble are fantastic.

    (Unfortunately my car does not receive Sky so I am forced to listen to TMS when on the move. Hence my view outlined earlier above.)

  • Comment number 66.

    My word, it doesn't take much to wind some people up does it?!

    Am I a Lily Allen fan? No. Is she particularly knowledgable about cricket? Haven't got the foggiest (though some people on here who haven't even heard of her seem to already know that she isn't - remarkable). Does this mean that the interview won't be entertaining? Of course not.

    Personally I think this clash of cultures has quite alot of potential to amuse and even - dare I say it - educate. Test cricket can be a closeted little world at times and with attendances dwindling around the globe I don't think it hurts for us to get a fresh perspective on the game we love every now and again.

    Give the girl (and TMS) a break. And lighten up - Cricket is just a game and TMS is just a radio show, regardless of how much we love them (and I do). Both will change, and both need to change.

  • Comment number 67.

    "Spot on mate - this is the coolest game in the world and it's been sold down the river by the failure of the ECB, the BBC and a morally and spiritually bankrupt Labour Government to rescue it from the clutches of Sky."

    I should never underestimate the ability of a BBC blog to turn into an anti-government rant, regardless of subject or content.

    "Surely there are other children of famous people desperate for a big break? Hasn't Lily had enough chances? I had forgotten her. Or have the BBC contracted her and are equally desperate to find some way to get value for money out of it?"

    I hope you know more about cricket then you do about the music industry, if you have forgotten her, considering her current album peaking at number 1 is still in top 20, shows remarkable lack ofinsight and knowledge.

  • Comment number 68.

    I just wanted to echo your comments regarding Matthew Hayden, i really enjoyed listening to his comments at Edgbaston during the last test, especially whilst i was at the ground, I thought he was balanced and funny, a great addition to the team, and if Geoffrey wont buy him a beer, i will!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Just a couple of things:

    1. Matthew Hayden. Very pleasantly surprised with his contribution to TMS. Balanced, witty and thoroughly entertaining. As a player, I thought he sometimes came across as a bit arrogant (I guess all top players have a bit of arrogance about them) so I was expecting something along those lines - something of a Dean Jones type. How wrong I was. Top work Haydos!!

    2. Lily Allen. Having actually read her twitter updates, I think its actually quite refreshing to see somebody in the spotlight (and somebody I would never have expected to be a cricket fan) so enthusiastic about the game (and she is very enthusiastic about it!). I think a few people need to get off their high-horse about her. She might just surprise you!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Just to add to the comments about Haydos, I have to agree that he's a decent chap and a welcome addition to the TMS team. It would appear he's demonstrating more patience in dealing with Boycott than he ever had to do when constructing an innings.

    The (slightly disturbing) thing, is that all of these Aussies who have tormented us over the years generally seem to be top blokes. I'd never had much time for Glenn McGrath until I watched the 2005 ODI in Bristol. Fielding on the boundary at long-off he was copping a load of flak, most of it in good nature, and giving it back with interest and with a grin on his face. When one lagered-up fan started to become abusive, GM walked up to him as close as he could get and simply smiled. Didn't say a word. Remarkable self-restraint, and a touch of class. By this time he'd won most of us over so a few of us got together and took the abusive fan to the stewards. He then took the time to say thanks and sign autographs for all the kids.

    Langer is also a lovely bloke - has been a legend at Taunton and is hugely regarded by all in the clubs communty.

    Also, special mention for Dizzy. He had me in fits the other day when he was meant to be doing a quick update for 5Live, 20 secs or so, but seemingly refused to talk about cricket and went off on a very strange tangent. He got the update in in the end, but the route he took to get there was hilarious. Not sure if it qualified as dumbing down, but if it did then I'm all for it.

  • Comment number 71.

    Perscott, why have you decided to bring age into your discussion? Why assume that all those who like the traditional way of looking at things are 'geriatric'? Doesn't quite square with your assertion that you are 60 in two weeks, does it?
    If I believed in political correctness, I'd have called your comments 'ageist'. As I haven't fallen for all that stuff, I'd prefer to think of them as loose-thinking. I'm 46, and far from being 'geriatric'.

  • Comment number 72.

    Better Lily than the aggressive morons of the Barmy Army.

    I think Harmy should be given a last chance to be a hero at Headingley.

  • Comment number 73.

    Bad news about FF, but we shall prevail!!!! Interesting (hmmmh) to see the selection. Very concerned if Broad keeps his. 20 wickets is a lot to get - and he just is not in touch at the moment> Why not BOTH Harmy & Sidey??

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh dear. Someone moderately famous - justifiably or not - Twitters that they're a cricket fan. Someone in the TMS Team speculates that they might make a decent lunch-time guest. And then the sky falls in on poor old Adam.

    I know very little about Lily (and considerably less about Simon Williams, by the way), but give the girl a crack at the guest slot at least, if she's keen to do it. I'm sure she won't be asked back if she makes a hash of it.

    All the best of luck to the team (playing and commentating) today. I don't know what the weather's like at Headingley; it's pretty soggy in leafy Bucks at the moment.

  • Comment number 75.

    Has anyone else noticed that Stuart Broad is the spitting image of Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter?

  • Comment number 76.

    Haydos-surprisingly excellent and boycott will be interesting---and blowers back--good news as is aggers and aussie jim.
    Well done mr. mountford-I think TMS is so good now--no white or pougatch---phew!!

  • Comment number 77.

    perscott seems to have missed the point of Test cricket. Statistics from the Dark Ages? Light entertainment? Stick to Jimmy Young, mate.

  • Comment number 78.

    Can't believe we have stuck with Bopara after all his failures; just to see him fail again - and in such a dismal fashion.

  • Comment number 79.

    When is TMS going to dump the crude, ignorant, loud-mouthed, self-opinionated, "professional Yorkshireman" Boycott. He has to be the most irritating contributor to sporting commentary in any sport, anywhere. Send him back to Sth Africa and leave him there, period.

  • Comment number 80.

    I personally welcome all-comers to the sainted game, including the lubricious Miss A; but has anyone noticed that England are already in disarray??????????????? Even my hamster is looking worried (and he is actually a Rugby League fan).

  • Comment number 81.

    Please can we have more of Geoff Boycott. He was a great player, and is now a wonderfully informative and well-informed commentator. He's generally ten minutes (or more) ahead of the playing captain with his tactical advice, and all players can learn from his masterly analysis of what the batsmen (and bowlers) are trying to do. Some commentators can only say, "Hullo!" or "Wowie, wowie, wow!" when a player makes a great shot - Geoffrey tells you how he did it and why. Good on yer, Geoffrey!

  • Comment number 82.

    Lily Allen is one cute, sexy damsel! Whoa! She will definitely boost BBC ratings...Damn!

  • Comment number 83.

    I'd like to agree with bagginsbilbo and others about Geoffrey Boycott; he's the best thing about TMS and I too would love to hear more of him. Opinionated, yes, but that's what you want in the commentary box, particularly when those opinions are based on decades of experience of top-level cricket, and are invariably insightful and correct.

  • Comment number 84.

    Trott must be glad he didn't get involved in this one - like getting to the jetty late and finding the Titanic's sailed without you.

  • Comment number 85.

    Has somebody laid a different track for the Aussies to bat on whilst no-one was looking? England shouldn't even be in the same ground as them. Unbelievably pathetic! As for Boycott, I can only recall that he made a right pig's ear of his one shot at captaincy. Hardly one of England's greatest captains. I wouldn't put him in charge of my granny's marbles team.

  • Comment number 86.

    Sorry to blather on, but just to add to the sense of irreality, I see that the BBC run-by-run service has this down as the 3rd Ashes Test. Says a lot.

  • Comment number 87.


  • Comment number 88.

    Say, how many female commentators are there in Test or T20 cricket? (ODIs don't count - they're boring and outdated and no longer relevant.) Donna Symonds and South Africa's Natalie Germanos are the only ones I know of. The Wikipedia list of cricket commentators didnt have any others either, though I couldn't tell with some of the names. Wish there were more lasses in the booth - I'd like to see what Charlotte Edwards or Karen Rolton or one of the Joyce sisters had to say about the blokes playing.

  • Comment number 89.

    Born and bred in Leeds my first Test at Headingley was in 1952 when Freddie (not Flinstone) went through the Indian top batsmen like butter. I was ten years old and since then I learnt from watching Tests for the next 30 years a truism of Headingley - if you win the toss never, no never, choose to bat first. At Headingley atmospheric conditions cause the ball to swing wickedly, side to side, up and down, swerve in the air, all before lunch on the first morning, it has happened time and again, it must be the worst in the world for this phenomenon. If you are put in then the only way is to play it a la Boycott, stonewall until later in the day when the bowlers are feeling the strain, just try to stay there.

  • Comment number 90.

    It's time to drop Bopara as #3, after all we drop bowlers just like that !

  • Comment number 91.

    Whoever Lily Alan is she couldn't be more irritating than whingeing-nagging-in-my-day Boycott. I just have to switch off the radio for half an hour and watch TV, which I've never had to do before in 30 years of avid listening to TMS, and which I resent. Now that we have inexplicably lost Mike Selvey, let's have wall-to-wall Vic Marks, say I.

  • Comment number 92.

    England's future is certifiably bleak if Ravi Bopara is the best the selectors can come up with for that crucial number three spot...a pity, indeed!

  • Comment number 93.

    I have been impressed with Matthew Hayden he joins a long line of good austrlian summerisers. But I am dissapointed he is doing 3 tests.

    I would rather he done 1 or 2 and then eith Geoff Lawson or Jeff Thompson got a test, I think those two are the best.

    I think you said Jeff Thompson is joining the team for the one-dayers which will be good but its a shame he hasn't got a test as he has a long-association with TMS.

  • Comment number 94.

    Its all to easy for us Armchair test captains to make decisions in hindsight. Why don't we just support the team that is out on the field.

    Oh yeah, more Mr Boycott please as his monotone babble helps me get to sleep.

  • Comment number 95.

    Can I just be clear about one thing? This IS test match cricket, isn't it? You know .... the sport being played at the highest level?

  • Comment number 96.

    Can someone enlighten me: Presumably there are occasions when the team doing less well (such as dear old England today) might go for the draw early by bowling really badly for a couple of hours to force the opposing team to continue being in, thereby reducing the amount of time for (England) having to bat? Of course it would look really obvious that that team has conceded...

  • Comment number 97.

    To Jonathan Agnew and Team.Iam the niece of Samuel Peter Foenander MBE Cricket writer and journalist from the former British Colony Ceylon - my father his brother was a British Army Office and Combined services cricketer and Umpire. My great uncle Peter had the most amazing collection of cricket bats and memorabilia which he gave to the Cricket Museum in Colombo. When I was a little girl,all of the English Test Team travelling by Ship to Australia and would stop over to play the Ceylon Cricket team would be entertained by my Uncle at his house. I remember Leonard Hutton rolling marbles along the floor to me and carrying me in the garden. I also met and danced with Rohan Kanhai the West Indian to the Steel Band playing "Cricket Lovely Cricket at Lords have I played it" on his first test match trip to Australia at the age of 19 - Peter May and his wife Virginia Gillighan spent their honeymoon at my uncles estate in Ceylon. I have a beautiful piece of Gunn and Moores Willow - a bat Autographed by the English Test team 1961 - Cowdrey, Barrington, Ted Dexter was the Captain of that team i think - all their names are on the back of the signed Bat. I look at it and think of all the lovely English and Australian Gentlemen cricketers I had the priviledge of meeting when I was a young girl at the British Army Bases in the Far East. I knew how to bowl a Googly - Chinaman at the age of 11. My father was an amazing left handed batsman and I can you some funny stories about when he umpired the Cricket matches in Ceylon - at the oval and the other cricket grounds. The Air Force and the Navy never beat the Army. My relations all play cricket in Australia - Two who are very famous but not as famous as the uncle Peter Foenander the Walking Wisden of Cricket.

    I would love to show you the beautiful 1961 autographed bat which Dexter gave my uncle and he left me in his will for my son to have one day.

    Yours sincerely

    Melanie Prendiville

  • Comment number 98.

    Frankly we would rather listen to Lily Allen or anyone else all day than the self-obessed Boycott whose patronising sneering comments reflect his personality - to quote the late great Don Mosey: 'the only people that like Geoffrey have never met him'. Boycs, having the benefit of hindsight amazingly is never wrong and 'I told you so' should be on his headstone. Please leave him to Sky TV and we can listen blissfully to TMS without having to turn off the sound at the end of every over whilst the nauseating Yorkshire stereotype spouts his rhetoric. By the way we are from Yorkshire and would like to inform the rest of the world that he is far from being the local hero that he likes to imagine.

  • Comment number 99.

    have the team had a row in the dressing room on the 1st morning? they played as if they had: all at sea, no communication, very self-obsessed and morose. how was the decision to play soccer on the 1st morning made, taken, esp when prior was injured?

    has AS lost his tongue? can't he tell SH to bowl on a length? Illi would never would have allowed a bowler to continue bowling short.

    England played like a cricket game was the last thing any of them wanted to be doing. what's happened to basic cricket technique and tactics? leave all but straight ones, pitch it up n occasional short stuff n yorkers, if u lose early wickets shit up shop n force bowlers to bowl straight then pick off 1s n 2s. set balanced fields based on a batsman's weaknesses/strengths n bowl to them. ask old handers how the pitch behaves.


  • Comment number 100.

    With this type of performance I am glad that it is difficult to keep in close touch with the matches. Are these really the best players that we have? Can they seriously take their match fees and feel that they have earned them?


Page 1 of 2

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.