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England's heroes return to home soil

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Adam Mountford | 22:09 UK time, Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Just 10 days after England were crowned ICC World Twenty20 champions for the first time, the team and Test Match Special return to Test action this Thursday with the opening match of the summer at Lord's.

Bangladesh are England's first opponents and they'll be hoping to provide the same stubborn resistance they displayed during England's recent tour there. It's good news for the series that their exciting "wunderkind" Tamim Iqbal looks like he is going to play through the pain barrier and open the batting at Lord's even though he's been struggling with a wrist injury.

Meanwhile, their talented captain Shakib Al Hasan will lead his team out despite recently suffering from chicken pox. I suspect few of his team-mates will be volunteering to join him in a pre-match huddle.

England captain Andrew Strauss in training with seamer Ajmal ShahzadCaptain Andrew Strauss rejoins England after missing the World Twenty20. Picture: AP

The only thing catching in the England side is confidence. It may be a different form of the game and some of the personnel on Thursday were not on duty in Barbados last week, but when I attended the England player of the year awards at Lord's on Monday evening you got a real sense of buoyancy among Team England.

The winner, Graeme Swann, turned his acceptance speech into a one-man comedy routine, taking the mickey out of the evening's host Nasser Hussain - especially for never picking him when he was captain.

Swann and the rest of the winning Twenty20 squad had just been to a Downing Street reception and had apparently burst into laughter when Prime Minister David Cameron made a slip of the tongue in congratulating England captain Colin.

Having attended a reception in Bangladesh a few months ago, when England's managing director Hugh Morris was introduced as Mr HUGE Morris, I have a pretty good idea of what a group of England players look like when they burst into laughter at an inappropriate time.

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Paul Collingwood and England's World Twenty20 winners visit Downing Street

Paul "Colly" Collingwood was, of course, not the slightest bit offended at Number 10. I'm not sure he has stopped smiling since lifting that trophy at the Kensington Oval, although he won't be in action at Lord's this week after the decision was made to rest him because of a shoulder problem. Stuart Broad joins him on the sidelines for the first couple of games of the summer.

No rest for our cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew - he'll be on duty at Lord's leading the TMS commentary team as normal. He'll be joined by Simon Mann, who was with us in Bangladesh in February/March and by the MCC president-elect Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

We were all thrilled to hear the news of CMJ's elevation and I have no doubt he will do a splendid job in his year in office. Although when I saw the present incumbent, John Barclay, on Monday night I did ask if he really knew what he was letting the MCC in for. I warned John that CMJ would clearly be late for most official functions, with the reasonable chance he'd turn up for duty at The Oval rather than Lord's!

Our expert summarisers for the Test are Phil Tufnell, fresh from his lycra-wearing exploits on Strictly Come Dancing, Geoff Boycott, who I would pay to see wear lycra (at least I think I would), and England's most successful captain Michael Vaughan, who returns from his paternity leave after becoming a father for the third time just before England's triumph on Sunday.

Stephen Frears at the Cannes Film Festival with actress Tamsin GreigStephen Frears is heading from the Cannes Film Festival to the TMS box. Picture: AFP

As well as ball-by-ball commentary, we'll also have plenty more to enjoy during our coverage from Lord's. Our first "View from the Boundary" of the summer will be the acclaimed film and television director Stephen Frears. Frears directed the Oscar-nominated The Queen, starring Dame Helen Mirren, as well as a string of other successful films, including My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters.

Whilst England were taming the world out in the Caribbean, there has been plenty of debate about the future of cricket in England and we'll be assessing the state of affairs during Thursday's lunch interval. We'll try to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on with parallel IPLs, conference systems and franchises. We'll hear from county chairman, officials and from players. But as always we want to hear from you. Leave your thoughts on this blog or e-mail

With the first official one-day internationals being played in the USA this week and a new exhibition opening at Lord's exploring the links between cricket and baseball, we'll be looking at the potential for cricket in America and celebrating five years of the Chance to Shine campaign, asking what has been achieved over that time to improve the standard of cricket played in state schools in the United Kingdom.

As always, BBC Radio 5 live will have regular updates every 15 minutes with Pat Murphy and England's most capped cricketer Alec Stewart, plus 5 live Sport on Wednesday night has a special cricket preview show with guests, including former England coach Peter Moores, Angus Fraser, analyst Simon Hughes and Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons.

The Test Match Special podcast with Aggers and Geoff Boycott will be available after each day of Test cricket - look out at for details of that plus pictures from behind the scenes at TMS, blogs and of course the Test Match Special text commentary. Plus, Jonathan Agnew will be Twittering away in the TMS box - you can follow him @aggerscricket.


  • Comment number 1.

    It's always a joy to listen to Jonathan Agnew and Team TMS.

    Best wishes to the cricketers of England and Bangladesh.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 2.

    It'll be interesting to see how England fare over the summer hors d'oeuvre before the main course of the Ashes.

    For us there are still things to ponder for Messrs Flower and Strauss ahead of the Ashes: England's questions to answer before Ashes test

  • Comment number 3.

    Looking forward immensely to the cricket - a great commentary team and I hope, Adam, that Vic and Henry will be back for the later Tests? Henry and Tuffers were an inspired pairing last summer!

    Aggers, TMS and Test cricket in England (not least for the GMT times)- perfect!

  • Comment number 4.

    Of course Aggers had his rest when the team where in Bangladesh (not that I begrudge him his restat all! Just saying!!) Should be a good summer, for those of us using the footy World Cup as a respite from the cricket and not the other way around, and starting with a strong TMS line up as well!

  • Comment number 5.

    Can't wait for tomorrow - the first day of summer is alwasy the first day of the Lords test on TMS!

    Can you give us a bit more details for coverage over the season Adam? Which other voices will we hear? I hope Graham Gooch and Angus Fraser will still play a part (I've seen in the Radio Times that Henry and Vic are part of the team for the second test).

    And will you be doing any commentary on the Pakistan vs Australia test series? I hope so and that Geoff Lawson will be involved, he is a top summeirser and ideal having a foot in both camps.


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