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Tuffers in step with TMS

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Adam Mountford | 07:48 UK time, Thursday, 3 September 2009

The nights may be starting to draw in and autumn TV favourites like The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are beginning their long, relentless runs through to Christmas.

But there is plenty of life left in the English cricket summer with seven one-day internationals between England and Australia still to play, not to mention the climax of the County Championship and Pro-40 competition.

It certainly didn't feel like summer at Manchester as spectators were left frustrated by two abandoned Twenty20 games, but as I write, the weather forecast seems better for Friday and Sunday for the opening games in the NatWest series at The Oval and Lords, so let's hope we have an exciting three weeks ahead.

Talking about Strictly Come Dancing, joining us on Friday and Sunday will be Phil Tufnell, the only TMS summariser ever to commentate on matches whilst also taking part in BBC One's ballroom challenge.

Somehow I can't see Geoff Boycott ever donning the lycra and glitzy costumes, although I'm sure if he was persuaded to appear on Strictly, his technique would be perfect!

As for Tuffers, he'll be with us after morning rehearsals so we may well see evidence of why he was nicknamed 'Cat' in the Middlesex dressing room for his ability to sleep anytime and anywhere.

Tuffers with Strictly partner Katya Virshilas

With Matthew Hayden having returned home we have a number of different Aussies offering their expert views during the seven-match series.

On Friday afternoon, we welcome former fast bowler Rodney Hogg who once took 41 wickets in an Ashes series. Hogg has already been offering his forthright views on various BBC outlets throughout the summer and we are looking forward to hearing his views now on TMS.

On Sunday at Lord's, we will be joined by the man who produced the so-called 'Ashes Dossier' - Somerset captain, former Australian opening batsman and columnist Justin Langer. Justin, of course, knows Lord's very well having played for Middlesex before swapping counties and heading to the west country.

We will also be joined during the series by another Aussie who knows the English game inside out, Stuart Law, who has played for Essex, Lancashire and now Derbyshire.

Finally, aftder watching the rain fall at Old Trafford, Jeff Thomson will be hoping for better weather when he works with us during some of the other games.

Our other summarisers throughout the series include the likes of Vic Marks, Angus Fraser, Alec Stewart and Graham Gooch and we will also hear some more from former England coach Peter Moores, who will be joining us for the two Trent Bridge matches.

Jonathan Agnew will, of course, lead our commentary team alongside CMJ, Henry Blofeld, Simon Mann, Arlo White and ABC Radio's Jim Maxwell.

As well as ball by ball commentary we'll have plenty more to enjoy during the intervals including a detailed look at just how England won the Ashes.

On Sunday, however, we'll be joined by the famous aviation and wildlife artist David Shepherd and we hear why Lord's is re-establishing a historical link with the RAF. During the game, there will be a fly past by the only Lancaster bomber still flying and it will be attended by a number of RAF Bomber Command veterans. We'll hear the story of how during the darkest days of the Second World War they arrived at the Air Crew Receiving Centre set up at Lord's before being posted for training.

Also during the series we'll meet cyclist Oli Broom, who is embarking on an incredible journey from Lord's to Brisbane hoping to arrive in time for the next Ashes and raising money for the Lord's Taverners along the way and from author Simon Rae who has created a cricket novel described as "the Harry Potter for cricket lovers" to raise money for "Chance to Shine".

We will also be debating the new-look English cricket calendar which has been announced over the past few days as well as asking how the game can capitalise on this summer's Ashes win and avoid some of the mistakes arguably made following the success of 2005.

After a summer which had already seen the likes of Russell Crowe, Rolf Harris, Ted Dexter, Adam Gilchrist, Stephen Fry, Daniel Radcliffe and Lily Allen visit the TMS box - who knows who else may pop in over the next three weeks?

As well as TMS there will be regular updates over on 5 live and keep checking for details of our interactive scorecard, blogs and podcasts - and
throughout the series we want to hear from you either with your posts on the TMS blogs or you can e-mail or text 84040 or if you are in Australia the text number is 199 21 222.

It all gets underway at 1245 on Friday for the first ODI from The Oval with commentary on 5 live Sports Extra, Radio Four Long Wave and on-line


  • Comment number 1.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the recent Ashes series especially the contribution by Tuffers, who added some humour and levity along with his knowlege of the game. Many thanks and long may he continue to grace the airwaves.

  • Comment number 2.

    No coincidence that Tuffers the Cat is King of the Jungle!

    Tuffers, Tuffers, burning bright
    In the forests of the night
    His jests are always warm and witty
    He takes two sugars in his tea

  • Comment number 3.

    Good to hear Tuffers will be in there!

    Problem is, as i have stated on several previous occasions, the limited access to TMS continues to frustrate. In my car, which i spend a lot of time in, i have neither LW or Digital so i cannot access the coverage (and no, the LW frequency is not at the bottom of the range before anyone suggests that). In certain areas 720MW can be picked up but it is at best...terrible reception. Please, please, please can the BBC do something about this. Put it on a decent MW or FM channel and let us all tune in!!

    I have raised this issue on several blogs and sent many emails and, to this date, have neve received comment from anyone at the BBC.

    Adam...please can you advise!!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Adam could we get a comment from either the England coaching teach or an international coach on whether football should still be used as part of the warm-up / warm-down? The chat blogs are hot with the debate...

    Maybe they should try dancing instead?

  • Comment number 5.

    Matty Hayden was fantastic in TMS, knowledgeable passionate and not afraid of taking on some the more established TMS voices. Having read JL's blog on the BBC, I have no doubt's he will be equally entertaining. Rodney Hogg however has been awful in the BBC news on the morning of the tests, so myopic he makes Bill Lawry sound like Ghandi.

  • Comment number 6.

    Not sure I can join in with the back-slapping. I thought Matthew Hayden was excellent, but on occasions, the commentaries became very blokey and self-congratulatory (I say this as a bloke who often congratulates himself, by the way).

    Why can't we have more of Graham Gooch, who is a brilliant summariser and also explains to listeners precisely what is happening and why? Alec Stewart is also first class - and Boycott is irreplaceable. Tuffers - not so sure, and Victor sounds a bit past his sell-by date.

  • Comment number 7.

    Boycott in lycra and the glitzy costume there's a thought.................

  • Comment number 8.

    #3 dobbieblog

    Get a Pure Highway, plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car and converts the car radio to DAB. Aggers and Jacqui Oatley, amongst others, have used them and reckon they're great - you can pick one up for about under £60.

    Adam, thanks for the heads-up, sounds a great team! Boycott on Strictly, now there's an image to conjure with............ ;o)

  • Comment number 9.

    @6 - I agree with EJ Morgan about Graham Gooch, as good a summariser as he was batsman. Among his many batting achievements, I remember Gooch for his 333 + 123 = 456. Why, the man's got the class of Euclid himself!Bring him on.

  • Comment number 10.

    Rodney Hogg is too partisan for TMS - the audience wants balance and insight not a one-sided rant.

    Can't you get Kerry O'Keeffe?

  • Comment number 11.

    I'll be watching the ODIs, weather and timing permitting as an expat here in Brisbane. The TV coverage is pretty good with a panel of Stuart McGill, Damien Martyn, and Greg Matthews. Why is Bopara still being picked? He needs time off to think about where he is going. At the moment it's to the scrapheap and a friend needs to tell him that in no uncertain terms. What's this about an injury to Denly? Playing football as a warm-up is just stupid. There's too much of a risk of over-enthusiasm leading to falling, and/or over-stretching, with torn ligaments or muscles. Provided they do enough muscle-building exercise between matches, and keep control of their weight - already a problem with some of them, a brisk walk and appropriate stretching is all that is needed immediately before playing cricket.

  • Comment number 12.

    #8 Syds_Sports

    Thanks for that, a better response than the BBC care to offer. Just a thought......perhaps i can deduct the cost from my licence fee?

  • Comment number 13.

    #3 dobbieblog

    I'm often in my car in the NE of England and use 603 MW; it works well for me up here - worth a try?

  • Comment number 14.

    Vic Marks is top dog for me. Intelligent, insightful and always a dry whimsical humour. Tuffers is okay in small doses but a bit of a ham act to my mind 'cor blimey'. I also enjoyed Mat Hayden this summer.

    It's the variety that makes it so test match special.

    Ian Murray

  • Comment number 15.

    please don't take TMS off LW or I won't be able to listen in under my peach tree in France

  • Comment number 16.

    tuffers and haydo were good listening

  • Comment number 17.

    Tuffers has been a superb addition to the TMS team - quite a revelation in fact. But I worry about the continued use of Boycott. At times there is open animosity between him and the other presenters. His 'Yorkshire grit' comes across as just down right rude at times. And how many times must we listen to his 'in my day' guff?

    Sorry but he's past his sell by date.

  • Comment number 18.

    Tuffers and Boycs are a great combination as summarisers. Tuffers brings a cheerful, but logical and sensible,comment to the game, Boycott is not daft when it comes to scoring runs, and sees all the failings of the current batsmen. Our disappointment is that TMS/BBC is all too keen to use Henry Blofeld as the face of TMS when any publicity is needed, but does not always use him on the day (witness the use of Blowers on 'Today' at the start of the 5th test, and even the sports reporter on Today saying he was sitting in Blowers seat, when we all knew he was not in the commentary team).Would much rather listen to Blowers, Boycs and Tuffers plus visiting team's commentator, CMJ and Agnew, than all the others dragged in (Vic Marks -what a droning misery!)

  • Comment number 19.

    Tuffers has turned himself into a first rate and versatile entertainer across many different fields. His contribution to TMS this summer has been enjoyable and instructive throughout.
    As for Blofeld, I don't mind him acting as the programme's front man as long as he is kept well away from the commentary box. It is only when you watch the match on television while listening to the radio that you realise how inaccurate his commentary is. When he says 'Bopara fields at square leg', there is a good chance it is Broad at 3rd man. Perhaps this explains the absence referred to in Longaman's post above.

  • Comment number 20.

    Perhaps cricket commentary should have a transfer window like soccer:

    In : Tufnell
    Out: CMJ, Gooch, Stewart, Boycott

    In: Warne
    Out: Hussain

  • Comment number 21.

    #13 Morpethian

    Thanks for the tip, i will give it a go but i tend to go up and down the frequencies at the start of any match in the unlikely event that the BBC have improved the access, so i don't hold out a lot of hope. However, at least you have bothered to respond unlike the Beeb!!!

    Adam...where are you?...this is an important issue, you must be missing out on a lot of listeners.

  • Comment number 22.


  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry to correct a tiny point in Adam Mountford's article, but it's good news: the RAF's "Battle Of Britain" Memorial Flight Lancaster, which overflew Lord's recently, is not the only remaining flying Lancaster. There is another, which resides at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario (see

    Not only is this Lancaster still taking to the air; it is also perfectly possible to buy a ticket to ride in it.


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