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A host of guests at The Oval

Adam Mountford | 08:49 UK time, Wednesday, 8 August 2007

After the excitement of Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston, the BBC Cricket team moves to The Oval to see if Michael Vaughan can avoid losing his first home Test series as captain.

Working with us will be three of the finest opening batsmen in the history of the game - Sunil Gavaskar, Geoff Boycott and Graham Gooch. Former England and Surrey batsman Graham Thorpe will be joining us to offer his Oval expertise and to put the bowler's viewpoint will be TMS stalwart Mike Selvey.

Thorpe was with us at Lord's for the first Test where several TMS listeners e-mailed to ask who was the "Australian" on the commentary team. Listen out to see if you think Thorpe has gone native since landing a job Down Under with New South Wales. Describing the action will be Jonathan Agnew alongside Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Simon Mann.

Geoff Boycott in 1977Boycott is celebrating a special anniversary this week. It was on 11 August 1977 that he recorded his 100th hundred (the link will let you hear the commentary), choosing an Ashes Test match on his home ground to record the feat. The 30th anniversary of that achievement falls in this game and during Friday's lunch interval Boycott will be joined by the likes of Derek Randall and Rodney Marsh to look back on that historic innings. If you have any memories of that day we would love to hear from you - leave a comment on this blog.

During the Second Test at Trent Bridge our cricket correspondent Jonathan continued his recent trend of meeting famous young people called Harry. After interviewing Harry Potter (alias actor Daniel Radcliffe) at Lord's, Aggers chatted to McFly drummer Harry Judd. I wonder if Prince Harry is planning a trip to the Oval...?

Saturday's "View From the Boundary" promises to be fascinating. Jonathan will be talking to Dr Shashi Tharoor who enjoyed a distinguished career at the United Nations where he served as the right-hand man to Kofi Annan. He is also a prize-winning author and journalist, writing for publications such as the New York Times, Newsweek and The Times of India.

On Sunday lunchtime we'll be joined by the Tony and Emmy-winning actor John Lithgow, who is taking time out from rehearsals at the RSC to spend a day at the cricket.

Lithgow is about to star as Malvolio in Twelfth Night - but he'll also be telling Jonathan about his hugely successful sci-fi sitcom "Third Rock from the Sun" , being the voice of Lord Farquaad in the Shrek films and starring in countless films alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone , Denzel Washington and Sigourney Weaver. We'll find out why an American actor used to Hollywood wants to spend a day at The Oval.

Also fascinating will be Jonathan's conversation with television historian and author Michael Wood during Thursday's tea interval.

As part of the BBC's India Pakistan 07 series Wood is presenting "The story of India"; which saw him travel silk roads and spice routes from the deserts of Turkmenistan to the Khyber Pass to show how the history of India has shaped the lives of all of us. He'll be telling Aggers all about his experiences.

And during the Test we'll be hearing from the two men hoping to succeed David Morgan as the new chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board. Somerset chairman Giles Clarke will be joining us on Saturday to tell us his plans, with ECB deputy chairman Mike Soper our guest on Sunday.

During Thursday's lunch interval we'll be discussing what the priorities should be for the new man at the top - and we want to hear from you. Email, text us on 84040, or comment on this blog with your views on what the new chairman should be doing and we'll put your points to the two candidates when we speak to them.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:59 AM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • SwamyCricketAnanda wrote:

Let's rename the ECB as an "Enterprise of Commerce and Business"; since it doesn't appear related to cricketing matters at all.

  • 2.
  • At 11:01 AM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

August 11, 1977

Was it really 30 years ago? I can remember it as one of the great moments of cricket history. I spent the morning as an agricultural journalist being flown over the wheat and barley fields of East Anglia by a leading manfucturers of animal feed to check the state of the 1977 harvest. Got back home near Tonbridge, Kent, to find wife, Sarah (13) and Andrew (11) glued to the TV.

Sir Geoffrey must have been in the 90s and batting with the late Graham Roope. Then came that half volley on middle and leg, that sublime pick of his toes (straight drive or maybe an on-drive) , Roope did the splits to let the ball through and the crowd flooded the field.

A magic moment and magic timing all round - me to get home in time for the climax, Roope to get out of the way and Sir Geoffrey to time his 100s over the years to be able to set up an Australian test match at Headingly for the 100th! My big concern was that he would lose his cap in the celebrations that followed - and he did! Ging sing tea all round! Mike Parker

  • 3.
  • At 11:37 AM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Julian wrote:

No Blowers?!?

  • 4.
  • At 12:11 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Nigel Botting wrote:

My Dear Old Thing,
Please could you remind all these worthy chaps who are commentating and summerising that the wicket is 5 pieces of wood at either end of the PITCH!!!

It will save me from shouting at the radio and as I will be in the members pavilion this could be embarrassing!!
Thank you


  • 5.
  • At 12:49 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • ColinJMWalker wrote:

Where is Blowers ??, having experts is OK but TMS is about ball on willow and all the excentricity that goes with it, my listen pleasure has now diminished.

  • 6.
  • At 12:52 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • sue wrote:

I'd love to hear the interview with Michael Wood and the lunchtime reminiscences of Geoffrey Boycott et al but alas am working - will these be available to listen to later in the day via the internet?

  • 7.
  • At 01:23 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

I am glad to see that Sir Geoffrey is in attendance as I always enjoy his contributions and find them highly informative BUT please tell me that Blowers is going to be there - it isn't a Test Match is not Special without him!!

  • 8.
  • At 01:48 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Jon Hancock wrote:

I endorse what has been said about Henry Blofeld - why is he not commentating?

Sue - we'll certainly make some of the interviews available to listen again online, as we've done previously. Watch this space.

  • 10.
  • At 02:05 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Nick C. Bennett wrote:

Geoffry Boycott for head coach of England. He is the only guy that says what everybody is thinking!


  • 11.
  • At 02:22 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • FleetJackHobbs wrote:

Agree with CJM Walker @ 5 (below) - The Oval without Henry? I'm off to set my homing pigeons on you!

  • 12.
  • At 03:13 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

The last test gave us some really good cricket, a pity about the other stuff. I am really looking forward to fine match, both teams are young and talented, some sledging is inevitable but lets hope that the game is played in good spirits

  • 13.
  • At 05:36 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Kiran Suryad Hookes wrote:

Very sad to know that Henry Blofeld will not be on the air during the Oval Test. He is one of my favorites along with CMJ.

I remember very well Geoff Boycott scoring a century at Headingley against the Greg Chappell-led Aussies. Boycott had just then returned to the England team under Mike Brearley after a self-imposed 3-year exile, protesting against Mike Denness being given the captaincy above his own better credentials. Australia had some great fast bowlers like Dennis Lillee and Max Walker but their batsmen came a cropper against Willis, Underwood and Hendrick. David Hookes in particular had a torrid time out in the middle, and others did no better, except Greg Chappell who scored a masterful century in a losing cause in one of the Tests. Mike Brearley had just then taken over the captaincy from Tony Greig after the Melbourne Centenary Test, and made a success of it in great style, winning the series for England with his astute captaincy.

  • 14.
  • At 05:42 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Kiran Surya wrote:

Very sad to know that Henry Blofeld will not be on the air during the Oval Test. He is one of my favorites along with CMJ.

I remember very well Geoff Boycott scoring a century at Headingley against the Greg Chappell-led Aussies. Boycott had just then returned to the England team under Mike Brearley after a self-imposed 3-year exile, protesting against Mike Denness being given the captaincy above his own better credentials. Australia had some great fast bowlers like Dennis Lillee and Max Walker but their batsmen came a cropper against Willis, Underwood and Hendrick. David Hookes in particular had a torrid time out in the middle, and others did no better, except Greg Chappell who scored a masterful century in a losing cause in one of the Tests. Mike Brearley had just then taken over the captaincy from Tony Greig after the Melbourne Centenary Test, and made a success of it in great style, winning the series for England with his astute captaincy.

  • 15.
  • At 06:13 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Colley wrote:

Very sad to know that Henry Blofeld will not be on the air during the Oval Test. He is one of my favorites along with Victor Marks

  • 16.
  • At 06:15 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Satish Thiyagarajan wrote:

I've enjoyed following TMS commentry the last few years. Great sense of humor, it is such a pleasure.

Great variety, it will be a feast to hear cricket commentry and interviews from such a diverse group of individuals.

I am here in North Carolina, is there any way I can watch or read the text later?.

My neighbour is British (and I am Indian, ofcourse), would love to watch the match with him.

Great job guys.

  • 17.
  • At 06:43 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Patrick McGinley wrote:

2 unconnected comments; I remember "Sir" Geoffrey's 100th hundred while watching this with my cousin Tony. He had had an operation on his feet and was in plaster, and while he was unable to walk to the kitchen, strangely he could cope with me borrowing his mum's car and murdering the putting green at Horsham.

Secondly, I have just nominated my father in law for membership of the Primary Club and should you need to mention the PC, his "primary" was in the hotbed of a family cricket match following my wife's birthday. Despite setting himself for an Boycott-like innings, he clipped the first ball to short mid on where my beloved dropped him. This encouraged my 6 year old son Finnian to call for a sharp (suicidal) single. Like Sir Geoffrey and Derek Randall, it ended in tears, 5 yards out on a 7 yard track. It took 48 hours to stop laughing. Apparently it was neither the Champagne nor the arthritis. Are there many Club members there by the efforts of the middle grandson?

  • 18.
  • At 07:35 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • David Shield wrote:

I'm also sad that Blowers will not be commentating on the final test of the summer.

Its not unepected though as he has been working a reduced schedule over the last few summers. But only 3 tests - thats not enough.

  • 19.
  • At 09:48 AM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Pete Thurlow wrote:

Geoff Boycott's hundredth hundred? I was there, sitting in the member's section at Headingley, attending for the first time on my own at the tender age of 14. In those days Yorkshire membership included Test Match tickets as standard- the tickets being little perforated stamps at the back of the members' booklet.

I sat beyond the mid-on boundary, taking in everything- the crowd was expectant from the start of the day, and everyone felt that it was only a matter of time. This electric atmosphere grew as the day went on- Geoff was a controversial figure for all sorts of reasons at the time but here he was in fan heartland performing to a storybook script. I remember Greg Chappell bowling the fateful delivery on middle & leg and Boycott driving back straight through Graham Roope- the entire ground rose as one to deliver perhaps the most heartfelt, appreciative and emotional ovations a sportsman has ever had. The crowd invaded the pitch- people were collecting bits of turf, sawdust, and even Boycott's cap- I think he got that back! The Australians crowded round, partially to congratulate and partially to protect him from the adoring fans- order was eventually restored and the crowd settled to the rest of the game, but we all left feeling that a great moment in sport had been witnessed- certainly historic, but tinged with a sense of Yorkshire vindication as the great man proved his point. Other cricket moments have come close- England setting four slips and two gullies as their pace attack destroyed the Windies, That Ashes series- but for a Yorkshireman, 11 August 1977 represented the achievement of success through bloody-minded grit- a true Yorkshire story. Thanks for the memory, Geoffrey.

  • 20.
  • At 10:00 AM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

The new ECB chairman should abolish 40-over cricket and set up the 50 over competitions to more resemble international matches, this will surely improve our ODI team no end. Note how it is the last 10 overs we always struggle with.

He should also concentrate on getting the international players playing at there counties more (how many of the top Sri Lankan, South African and Austrailian players are playing in the counties this year), which is surely good experience.

Perhaps a cut down on the number of international matches played would be helpful to, our schedule is far busier than Australias.

  • 21.
  • At 01:12 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Mr Keran Lewis wrote:

The main thing I remember about Boycott's hundreth hundred was, after surviving numerous appeals for LBW and caught behind which were given Not Out by his friend and fellow Yorkshireman Dickie Bird, a local wag siiting in front of me, in what I call the Coconut Shy Stand behind the bowler's arm, saying in a very loud voice "They will have to knock all three stumps out of the ground on a day like today and then Dickie will still give him Not Out!"

What I also remember is that whilst Boycott sratched and scraped his way to a most unconvincing century Alan Knott was playing an exceptionally illustrious innings at the other end!!

  • 22.
  • At 01:29 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

O yes Sir Geoff's big moment.

Well I could'nt wait for him to return to the Test arena after the problems he had, but return he did at Trent Bridge and secured a 100 there, then the century in the County game it was all set was'nt it!
Well I was on holiday in Lincolnshire, cycling with a few mates, innocent 16 at the time. I watched the first 25 runs or so from Headingley then my mates dragged me away from the telly!!
During our afternoon bike ride I just needed to know the score the whole time but didnt even have a portable radio with me. Anyway had to find a telephone box and ring my brother to find out the score, 4 lads in one box utter madness!
Found out Geoff needed 15 runs and we were probably still 10 miles from my mates house. I have never biked so fast that day to get in front of a telly to see that ball get smacked past Greg Chappel for 4, what a moment, brilliant Geoffrey, when he said he was staying in all day to occupy the crease he meant it!!
A glorious summer that year if I recall, thanks Geoff super memories

  • 23.
  • At 02:27 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • marcus_webmail wrote:

No Blowers again??? I hope the BBC isn't falling into the marketing men's trap of believing that younger is better or that things have to keep changing even when they are working fine!

  • 24.
  • At 02:29 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Colley wrote:

Hi Adam,

With BBC 2 Scotland covering Scotland v Idia live on BBC Scotland TV.

PLEASE, please can the BBC also carry it on BBCi sport interactive, else Freeview views like me will miss out on the action!


  • 25.
  • At 03:13 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Harri wrote:

I'm known as Harry so Aggers is welcome to interview me. I'll even tell him exactly why Pieterson is so annoying and how allowing people to waste their time checking the cricket at work really is good for business after all!

  • 26.
  • At 03:15 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Turner wrote:

I remember Greg Chappell's typically Australian response to Boycott's achievement next ball.

A bouncer!

  • 27.
  • At 03:17 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Paul Turner wrote:

I was at Headingley as a sixteen year old schoolboy. If I remember rightly, the Aussies didn't really applaud as they reckoned he'd been caught out earlier in his innings. Anyone else remember that?

  • 28.
  • At 03:23 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Dan Mayes wrote:

I could not help but comment on the amount of sledging and swearing that has occurred at the NCI cricket club over the weekend. One of our familiar batsmen 'JP' from NCI Cricket Club (Cambridge) achieved an all time high. He has managed to run out a total of 11 of his team mates in two days. A huge total of 6 run outs in one innings last Sunday. As you can imagine he will be on the wrong end of numerous sledging matches over the next few weeks. He has already been nicknamed the 'maybe' man in our weekly newsletter!

  • 29.
  • At 04:48 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Tony Ford wrote:

I will never forget Geoff Boycott's 100 hundreds.

Geoff had helped me get a summer job at County Sports (his batmaker at the time) in St Neots and I was responsible for putting on the grips, stickers and bagging up the bats.

On the day in question, the whole factory were biting their nails listening to TMS, praying for him to reach his milestone. When he did, everybody went ballistic and were hugging each other. I remember a film crew from "Look East" turning up on that day to film the bat making process and everybody trying to get into the frame.

On the same day, I was given a "Contraflex" bat they had made for Geoff (he used to get about 20 a season) and it rounded of a perfect day which seems more like 10 years ago rather than thirty.

  • 30.
  • At 05:14 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • Phil Cook wrote:

I remember the day very well Boycs scored steadily
in the morning session rattling up 50 in no time, he slowed a little as the ton approached and then came the magical moment with Gregg Chapell bowilng from the football stand end , Boycs took a couple of steps and played an on drive on the ground which rattled into the fencing, He stood there and raised arms and the bat aloft and the whole ground to a man stood and cheered and applauded a fantastic feat. I do believe that Boycs was last man out for around 194 in a very large England Innings, what a privelige to be there at Headingley and I wish to pass on my best wishes to Geoff for his annivesary where did 30 years go to ??????

  • 31.
  • At 01:40 PM on 12 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Selfridge wrote:

Fascinating to hear the discussion about Baseball and Cricket with John Lithgow - can't believe that CMJ hasn't taken the time to understand Baseball before now!

As a fan of both, I always tell cricket fans that baseball is *much* more like cricket than they might think:

1) Cricket fans think that Baseball is a one day game. It isn't! Professional teams always play series of 3 to 5 games (7 in the World Series) and look to win the series, not necessarily individual games. I now look at 4/5 day Cricket matches the same way - which team won the most days? - rather than the score in itself. Looks like England might win today having lost (heavily) on Friday and Saturday.

2) Baseball is all about pitching, and the way the ball moves and is affected by the conditions is remarkably like Cricket. Hot days mean hit balls fly further and don't move (turn) as much in the air, humid, wet conditions favour the pitcher and allow much more spin.

3) Pitchers hid their pitches in a similar way to Cricket - using the same arm action to deliver balls at significantly different speeds to fox batters. In Baseball slow pitches are called "change ups", fast ones, "fast balls". "Curve balls" and "sliders" are like spin bowling. As with Cricket, the more you know, the better it is to watch.

4) The longest running show on Channel Five in the Uk is Baseball on Five, 10 years old this year. They show complete games twice a week, on Sunday and Monday nights. You could do worse than get Josh Chetwynd - the main analyst - on one lunchtime.

Yours, watching the ball in both sports,

Richard Selfridge

  • 32.
  • At 04:06 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • Kishore wrote:

How come Christopher Martin-Jenkins doesn't have a blog?

Something unrelated -
CMJ, in talking about Collingwood in the post-tea session of Day 5 of The Oval Test, compared him with Giles in the way he made the most of his talent and mentioned he was underrated. Yes, Collingwood is underrated - Pietersen and Vaughan get more attention as batsmen. And, yes, he is hard-working and there is a similarity with Giles on that count. However, Giles was at best a support man, while Collingwood can play the stellar role and play big innings (as on the last tour of Australia).

  • 33.
  • At 11:45 PM on 13 Aug 2007,
  • drmike wrote:

Sorry, but Arlo White was not a TMS commentator. Too schoolboyish, amateur, ingenue. Not enough inside depth, nowledge. No gravity.
Mark Saggers was a little better, but still not in the trenchant tradition of, say the Alderman.

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