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Don't panic! Lots more cricket to come...

Adam Mountford | 18:58 UK time, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

It seems rather strange that we have now finished this year's Test summer as early as the second week in August.

But don't worry, we have plenty more cricket coverage to keep you entertained over the next few weeks.

This Saturday we will bring you commentary on the final of the Friends Provident Trophy from Lord's. It promises to be an exciting match between two of the in-form sides this season in Kent and Essex.

Kent's Rob Key, who was close to being named as the new England captain, will have the chance to impress again on the big stage while Essex boast the likes of Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier who have already produced two of the season's most amazing batting performances.

Robert Key against Middlesex

Bopara scored a thrilling double hundred in the quarter final victory over Leicestershire while Napier will be hoping to bring his Twenty20 heroics to Lord's.

Napier's brutal 58-ball 152 not out against Sussex at Chelmsford in June contained 16 sixes and will not be forgotten by those lucky enough to see it.

Joining our commentators Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Simon Mann and Kevin Howells on Saturday will be summarisers representing both sides.

For Essex we have Graham Gooch who will be joining us in-between his coaching duties on the day and Alex Tudor who has been part of the Essex side this season including playing in that quarter-final win at Grace Road. Representing Kent will be their former wicket keeper Paul Nixon who had a successful time at Canterbury including helping them to a one day trophy back in 2001.

We also have a neutral voice in Lancashire and former England all-rounder Dominic Cork who also be joining us in the TMS commentary box.

Our coverage of the Friends Provident Final starts on Saturday at 1030 BST on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Four long wave and online.

Then the TMS team travels north to Edinburgh to bring you commentary on the one day international between Scotland and England on Monday.

Kevin Howells and Arlo White will be joined by Radio Scotland commentator Geoff Webster for the game with summaries provided by former Scotland all-rounder Dougie Brown and former England bowler Angus Fraser.

You will be able to hear that game on Five Live Sports Extra and online from 1030 BST on Monday.

And then the NatWest Twenty20 and one-day international series against South Africa gets underway with new captain Kevin Pietersen hoping to transfer his Test success to the shorter forms of the game.

The series begins with the Twenty20 international at Chester-le-Street in Durham where Pietersen first entertained us with his outrageous switch-hitting earlier this summer. Who knows what KP has planned for us on Wednesday.

Our commentary gets underway at 1615 BST with Jonathan Agnew and Arlo White being joined by Shaun Pollock who will know plenty about the conditions in Durham having played for the Dynamos in the Twenty20 Cup and Friends Provident Trophy this season.

And I am delighted to say that joining TMS for the first time at Durham and then for the first one-day international at his home ground of Headingley will be England's sixth highest wicket taker of all time, Matthew Hoggard. Part of the 2005 Ashes-winning team, Hoggard is one of England's most popular cricketers and will be able to offer a fascinating insight into the England side.

After Leeds, the NatWest series travels to Nottingham, the Oval, Lord's and finally to Cardiff where we'll have the chance to see how the Swalec Stadium is shaping up ahead of next summer's Ashes.

Jonathan Agnew will be joined by Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Simon Mann, Arlo White and Mark Pougatch to provide commentary on the one day matches with contributions from South African broadcaster Neil Manthorpe.

Joining Shaun Pollock and Matthew Hoggard providing expert analysis will be the likes of Alec Stewart, Phil Tufnell, Graham Thorpe, Angus Fraser, Vic Marks, Dougie Brown, Graham Gooch and the former Glamorgan and England bowler Steve Watkin, who will be part of our team in Cardiff.

It should be a really exciting climax to what has been a very eventful international summer. And talking of exciting finishes, BBC radio will have plenty of coverage over the next few weeks of the concluding matches in this year's LV County Championship.

Kevin Howells and the team will have regular updates on BBC Radio 5 Live from the key matches while Darren Gough's Thursday night cricket show will bring you interviews with the top players.

And keep an eye on for details of the ball by ball commentary you can get on the remaining county matches via BBC regional and local radio stations.


  • Comment number 1.


    Good effort mate, but -

    six hours after your blog and I'm the first to comment tells the story - no one is interested in meaningless international 50/50 games.
    From here on in, it's got to be 'all' or 'nothing' - Test or 20/20.
    If they played less 50/50 then we could still stay interested but it's just game after meaningless game...

    And I thought/hoped you'd got rid of Pougatch. He's a decent all-rounder, but he is far too strident for TMS - leave him to the football where he belongs.
    Asking Sean Pollock who used to bat no. 8 for SA gave it away...

  • Comment number 2.

    I personally still think 50/50 games still have something to offer. Cricket will settle down into a familiar pattern again over the next few years and there will be a place for all forms of the game. How these feature in numbers and whereabouts in the season and the value the players/public place on them, well, only time will tell.

    For now we have to make the most of our stunted Test season with the joys of 50/50 and 20/20. If anything it will hopefully hone our players into becoming more aggressive and help get run-rates up for when we face the Aussies. They can quite easily cruise along at 4 an over, and after a day of 90 overs in tests, that can really hurt us - especially with or tentative openers.

    As for Rob Key - who was "who was close to being named as the new England captain" - well I'm not too sure about that.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am writing on this forum in the hope of receiving some clarification.

    The match report in the Guardian on Monday (11th August) suggested that the Oval Test would be Mike Selvey's last appearance on TMS?

    Is this the true?

    I hope this is not the case as Selvey, along with Vic Marks often provide the most interesting analysis on the day's play. I also feel they are closer to the spirit of TMS, whereas some of the new additions to the commentary team, naming no names, appear to be more from the football school of punditry where the job is to state the obvious.

    As a general question to readers of this blog I wonder if I am alone in feeling a slight sense of unease about the future development of TMS?

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree with elise174

    It's Tests and Twenty20 now - the 50-over stuff has been exposed as containing 30 mundane overs in the middle, especially the way England things.

    I know some of the creaking establishment (CMJ et al) suddenly like ODI's after tagging them as nothing more than 'pajama-cricket' for years, purely as a defence mechanism against the young upstart of Twenty20, a format they hate even more - but the fact is that all the never-ending ODI games we play are meaningless - especially as we're the only cricketing nation that couldn't give two hoots about the Cricket World Cup.

  • Comment number 5.

    Is Blowers coming to Edinburgh ? That would be terrific.

    I enjoyed the TMS commentary for all four tests. Thanks everyone for the consistently amusing, informed and entertaining coverage.

    P.S. I really enjoy the podcasts - a great way to catch up on the day's play.

  • Comment number 6.

    Pougatch asking Pollock who used to bat at No8 for South Africa was just embarrassing. Pollock did it for more than a decade with great success. Time for cricket specialists.

    Where's Foxy Fowler ?

  • Comment number 7.

    i always think its a shame the TMS team are under-used. There's plenty of cricket during the summer, and i think TMS should cover ALOT more.
    For football, you can't move for the games on the radio. i'd like to hear lots more county cricket on the radio

  • Comment number 8.


    In fact, if Kevin Pietersen had rejected the offer of captaincy it is almost certain Key would have been offered it.

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't particularly like having the ODIs at the end of the season as it feels like an anti-climax after the tests.

    Good to hear that TMS will be covering the FPT and the Scotland ODI as well though, but it is dissappointig that the Scotland game will have such limited availability.

  • Comment number 10.

    I know you are doing your best, Adam, with the fixtures given but I'm afraid ODI's of whatever length are not the same as Test Cricket. The clue is in the name - Test Match Special. Test match cricket is special. Test match commentary also has much more depth and requires much more skill than just describing another slog to cow corner. Some of the "specialists" may be involved but I'm afraid ODI's aren't special enough.

  • Comment number 11.

    Bring back the TMS quiz please Adam!

    At the end of the Oval Test, Aggers thanked Mike Selvey for all of his contributions over the years, which sounded like goodbye - I agree that he's a good pundit, much better than BBC generalists.

  • Comment number 12.

    "At the end of the Oval Test, Aggers thanked Mike Selvey for all of his contributions over the years, which sounded like goodbye - I agree that he's a good pundit, much better than BBC generalists."

    That is a bit of a worry,I hope this isn't a sign of further 5livation of TMS.

  • Comment number 13.

    "That is a bit of a worry,I hope this isn't a sign of further 5livation of TMS."

    I think it is... (good verb, btw!)

    I love 5live, but TMS needs to preserve it's distinctiveness at all costs, I'd say.

    Simon Mann has been a pleasant surprise - he's been far better even than I expected, and I imagined he'd be okay. Arlo's not up to much though, I'd say, and well, Pougatch has been mentioned already...

    Don't mean to be negative, but this is the appropriate forum to tell you what we think, right?

    Mike Selvey will be missed.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree about Foxy, robcarnival (no.6). I have asked his whereabouts a few times recently, with no response from BBC.

    I am very disppointed if Mike Selvey has finished on TMS. He, Vic Marks and Foxy are the perfect summarisers. I also love it when John Etheridge and Stephen Brenkley contribute on overseas tours.

    I'll echo the call for 'cricket specialists'. Simon Mann, IMHO, differs from the other 5livers in this respect. He fits in with TMS, whereas Pougatch, White et al definitely don't do it for me.

    Adam - please do not dilute the cricket specialists in the TMS team any further. Thank you

  • Comment number 15.

    Now then. If we are commenting on the commentators isnt it about time they dropped that Yorkshire know it all Geoffrey Boycott? How many times do we have to hear how great he was during the 1960's and 1970's. He seems to be more obnoxious this year. Some of his comments particularly around minority sports in the the Olympic Games on TMS were just downright rude.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'll be tuning in to TMS whenever possible - even during the one-dayers you get some good chat and analysis about the game in general and future games and series etc.

    Pollock was good this year, as was Tuffers.

    Boycott is like listening to Hannibal Lecter on day-release. Some great insights but ultimately terrifying.

  • Comment number 17.

    *and Alec Stewart was excellent - great stories, observations and good-natured jokes aimed at his fellow pros (something Sir Geoffrey is incapable of).

  • Comment number 18.

    Can i frst of all echo the coments about Mike Selvey and the general '5liveation' of TMS. Its a bit worrying that experienced, intelligent broadcasters are eing sidelined to bring in the big names. (of course it might be Selvey's own decision!) But its worrying that in the same breath, the new names coming into the commentary team, if only for the ODI season, are Matthew Hoggard, who to my knowledge has not yet retired, and other players still on the county circuit.

    I think that one thing that concerns me a bit is the seemingly ecer expanding roster of summarisers being used even in one test. Times were when TMS had 3 or 4 commentators (depending on if a foreign commentator was in the team for that series) and 2 or 3 summarisers. Now sometimes it seems as if there is a different pairing every time i turn the program on. Makes it hard for the listener to build a relationship with the broadcaster.

    My current ideal TMS squad ewould be - commentators - Jonathen Agnew, CMJ, Blowers, Siman Mann, Kevin Howells and Simon Hughes (I am sure he could be stolen/borrowed from 5 every now and again)
    Summarisers- Mike Selvey, Vic Marks, Phil Tufnell, Graham Thorpe, Geoff Boycott and Graham Gooch
    Plus overseas contributions.

  • Comment number 19.

    Great to hear there will be coverage of the Scotland ODI although I hope the BBC weather is wrong as it looks set to rain all day.
    Knowing this in advance can't we just move it to Tuesday instead...

  • Comment number 20.

    I have to say I think TMS is heading entirely in the wrong direction if Selvey is off and the parade of former or winding-down players and general pundits are in.

    Is there any need for Shaun Pollock, Matthew Hoggard, Alec Stewart, Phil Tufnell, Graham Thorpe, Angus Fraser, Vic Marks, Dougie Brown, Graham Gooch and Steve Watkin? Pick two at most! I'd rather TMS didn't become a generic pool of old boys struggling into a media career - surely Sky fulfils that role with its terrible commentary team of boring ex-skippers.

    Stewie, Tuffers, Pollock and obviously Vic Marks would be the pick of the crop for me.

    Journo-wise, Simon Mann is the best of the newer crop. Arlo White and Pougatch are OK, but better suited to other sports I think.

    As for Boycott, I think he's superb. He makes me laugh and his insights are fascinating, even if he does occasionally sound unbalanced, but isn't that what TMS is all about?

  • Comment number 21.

    I would just like to say that it is good to hear that other people feel the way i do about recent TMS coverage. It seems that some one has told the box to liven things up, and take on the 'zoo radio' model. I really don't care what is going on in the back of the box, if it is to the detriment of what is happening with the coverage. I, like a great majority, follow cricket solely on the radio, so do not have the benefit of watching the Sky coverage. There have been plenty of instances this summer where celeb commentators have been so busy jawing about there own agendas, that they seem surprised when, say a wicket falls.
    Please get rid off these multi media, hopping from commentary box to Sky coverage types, and let the quality commentators, and we know who they are, get on with the job. Followers of test cricket understand the peaks and troughs of a day, we don't need it sexing up (well maybe a tiny bit sometimes). Thanks.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Adam

    Thanks for a great summer of test Cricket and am looking forward to the ODIs

    Must agree with most of the other comments re the commentators / experts but would have to say that Blowers and Tuffers as a double act are fantastic.

    One request - as the BBC have given up the posibilities of TV Coverage could we at least have radio coverage of the Lions games as well as the full team - today game would be a facinating insite into who is bubling under



  • Comment number 23.

    In answer to several posts.

    Yes Mike Selvey has done his final match as a TMS summariser and I would of course like to echo what Jonathan Agnew said at the end of the Oval Test and thank him for his outstanding contribution to the programme on and off for over twenty years. I am sure that Mike will continue to join us in the TMS box from time to time to offer his views on the game.

    In answer to "hardjackson Post number 20"
    Don't worry not all the names I listed will be on TMS for the same game ! The people I mentioned will be involved during the whole series - for each game we will have our usual commentary team of three commentators and three or four summarisers.

    In answer to Post 22. I will take a look at the possibilty of doing full commentary on the Lions matches and other such fixtures next season.

    Thanks for all the feedback - I do read it and take it on board.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dear Adam
    Thanks for your message. As a fairly long time listener to TMS, I have enjoyed your cricket coverage so far this summer. I think you have made some positive changes to the programme since taking charge, but I don't feel you currently have the right balance in your team. I think you have too many current or very recently retired players joining the team and think you miss out a bit by not having a few more thoughtful and experienced broadcasters. Vic Marks and Geoff Boycott, in my view, are a real asset to your team and I would like to see one or two more of his generation, especially now that Mike Selvey has left. I feel sad that Victor has not appeared very much on TMS this year.

    Also, why have so many summarisers? I always saw TMS as a family whose members you get to know really well over time. This is much harder when the summarisers change every match.
    I think Aggers is first class and I do enjoy his 'view from the boundary' interviews. Apart from this, he always demonstrates a real love of the game.

    I enjoy your podcasts very much, please continue with these.

    What happened to the tradition of having a commentator from the touring team this year? I was surprised you didn't recruit a commentator from SA.

    Best wishes

  • Comment number 25.

    Great summer as ever. You say don't panic but with Mike Selby going I fear the worst!

    I am sure economics plays its part but please don't introduce the vanilla commenatators from BBC sport just because they are available. I am sure they are all good jobbing, sports journos but TMS is a totally different broadcasting medium to that of a football / rugby / sports program presentation. It uniquiness requires specific characters that have to blend and contrast for 7 hours a day - don't fall into the trap of thinking you need young presenters just because of 20/20 and the desire to attract the next generation of listeners. I am mid 30's and listen with my 8 year old son who only gets bored when the Arlo / Pougath types (greatest respect) are on!

  • Comment number 26.

    Tuffers has been a breath of fresh air, whereas some of the other newcomers haven't quite cut it I'm afraid. I too am worried that the team is becoming diluted by 5lite types. Overall a fine team effort, with Sir Geoffrey, Vic Marks and our local lad (from the Vale) in particular on top form. Thanks to all...

  • Comment number 27.

    It is always a pleasure to read columns by Angus Fraser in The Independent and by CM Jenkins in The Times. Listening to their analysis is a bonus. Best wishes to Jonathan and his panel of experts. Thanks Adam Mountford for the glad tidings of comfort and joy.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't want to be offensive to Pougatch, but to echo what other posters have said, please can he go back to whatever sport he's more suited to. Anyone who doesn't know that Pollock batted 8 for SA clearly has no genuine interest in the game.

    Test match cricket is a special sport and TMS is a wonderful complement to it. You can't shoehorn a football commentator in just because he's at a loose end.

    I think these comments show how passionate we are about preserving the spirit of TMS, and he simply doesn't cut it. Please, please, please listen. Would you send Blowers to commentate on a football game?!?

  • Comment number 29.

    Please forgive my spelling in entry 25 - from my Blackberry!

  • Comment number 30.

    The problem is, a lot of the newer tms summarisers are not entertaining as broadcasters. tms is less of a commentary, more of an entertaining ramble of cricket based thoughts diluted by the match. therefore, although someone may be able to produce superb insight into what the players on the pitch are thinking or feeling, they do not have the charisma or confidence to contribute to this tms style (apart from tufnell who is ace). This tms spirit is built up over time at the mic (at the cricket not as a pougatch style presenter) resulting in a build up of broadcasting charisma, and culminating in Henry Blofeld. At the moment, with so many new broadcasters to choose from, non are being given the time to mature as broadcasters to a level of the brilliant older summarisers such as vic marks and selvy.

    An example of this is Pollock who was thrown in at the deep end with Blowers early on in the first test. Taken aback by the difference of the tms commentary box to his other post at sky, he said little and commented only on the cricket laid out in front of him. By near the end of the series, by being probably the most used summarizer, he was heard telling an anecdote about a quiz that took place last night in which he was on a team with david gower, and another about marmite. This sort of fun is surely what we want to hear as well as fascinating insight on the events on the pitch. Marks and selvy could do it because they had time to grow into their roles, as well as a good knowledge of cricket.

    TMS is only TMS because of unique personalitys such as marks, selvy and boycott, not dry analysts who are simply cricketers with a microphone shoved infront of them: send them off to sky and let tms be tms.

  • Comment number 31.

    Does anyone else eagerly await NZ tours just to be able to listen to Jeremy Coney?

  • Comment number 32.


    Does this summer spell the end of test match cricket in England, with only four tests against one of the stronger teams in the world and a five-match one-day series?

    It's an insult to South Africa and to Test cricket that the series was only four matches.

    What next: a three-match series and seven one dayers?

    The end of free-to-view coverage of Test matches in England has hastened this trend towards devaluing Test cricket and shorter series.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi, Adam. As a longstanding listener, brought up on Arlott, Johnston, the Boyle and Fiery Fred, I must agree with most of the above comments. I don't mind if you use the ODI's to assess the suitability of commentators / summarisers for TMS but please do not "dumb down" TMS. TMS is just that - special. While cricketing knowledge is important, the ability to converse with the listener and fellow commentators is more important. Humour is essential, as is the ability to play (and take) jokes. I like the comment that the team needs to spend time together and that constant changes in personel disrupt the flow, both between commentators and with the listener. The key men in your team are Aggers, CMJ, the mighty Blowers and Victor. Acceptable substitutes include Boycs, Stewie, Gus and Tuffers. Always include 4 of the above and you won't go far wrong. Thanks, again, for a good season.

  • Comment number 34.

    ... and if people are worried about Boycs ego, just get Michael Holding to guest, even for 10 minutes!

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree with post No 33 and would like to add that I think Tuffers has been a great addition, his knowledge of cricket and his sense of humour have been an unexpected source of enjoyment - I think he's an excellent addition to an already excellent team. Well Done TMS another successful season.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dear Adam. In post 23 you say:

    "I am sure that Mike will continue to join us in the TMS box from time to time to offer his views on the game."

    That seems unlikely when you've just sacked him, don't you think? A summariser needs insight, intelligence and humour - Vic Marks has all 3, Mike Selvey too, yet they seem totally unappreciated by the 5 Live crew currently steering the TMS ship towards a large iceberg. Thank goodness for Aggers...

  • Comment number 37.

    I have to say that I've really enjoyed Tufnell on TMS this summer.

  • Comment number 38.

    First of all I feel some of the criticism aimed at Shaun Pollock is a little undeserved, I thought actually he has been pretty insightful and interesting to listen to. (Is there any reason though that Neil Manthorpe wasn't used on ball by ball commentary more often?)

    Secondly it occured to me that I had forgotten about Angus Fraser on TMS, which kind of goes to prove my point about people not building up that relationship with the listener. I think one of the reasons why there has been such support for Mike Selvey is that people were used to listening to him and felt that connection. One of the problems with throwing in so many voices is that people don't feel the same connection.

    I remember in the first year or two of channel 4 coverage, there commentary team was quite heavily criticised. I think its the same sort of thing. A couple of careful additions every now and again is great, and the odd occaional visitor works well, but there has to be a level of comfort between broadcaster and listener or viewer. I think looking for a new breed is not a bad thing, given that Blowers must be ageing, and CMJ is not getting any younger, but it does have to be done carefully.

  • Comment number 39.

    Sad to hear that Selv has gone. He's been a superb member of the TMS team - subtle, dry and intelligent.

    I don't have a problem with Arlo's contributions in the limited over commentaries. His pace and energy are fine for this form of the game. But what happened to Mark Saggers? He did an excellent job in the box last year. Not so sure about Alec Stewart - the Gaffer seems to lack charisma and comes across as rather humourless.

    Thank God for Vic Marks though! I could listen to him reading out the phone directory.

  • Comment number 40.

    Couldn't agree more with the concerns expressed above. With experienced journalists such as Mike Selvey ditched in favour of current or recent former players or, perhaps more seriously, characterless 5 Live sport presenters, are the concerns about TMS expressed when Peter Baxter left not now coming home to roost?

    On the whole, TMS still does a very good job. Tufnell is a good addition, although I am sure not to the taste of much of the traditional TMS audience, and with so much cricket being played, it is unreasonable to expect the same 'friends' commentating on each match. However there are simply too many new names being thrown in at once - almost as if to make a point about how many people can be involved - and the character is steadily being eroded.

    Sky arrogantly proclaim they have the best commentary team ever assembled. This is because their ignorance leads them to believe that former England captains from the 1980s and 90s make the best commentators. What makes a good commentator is detachment from the current set up together with an authoritative knowledge of the game. When coupled with one or two recent players for that sort of insight, the combination is successful.

    TMS is in grave danger of making the Sky mistake and losing its unique quality of journalism.

  • Comment number 41.

    One further thought I would like to add to this interesting debate.

    Why not consider taking a similar approach to the English cricket selectors and have test and one day specialists when selecting your TMS team?

    You could have Aggers, Blowers, Victor, CMJ, Selvey(any chance of a recall?), Sir Geoffrey, Tufnell and maybe Simon Mann as as the basis of your test match team, plus hopefully an overseas commentator.

    Your 20/20 and 50/50 squad could include Messrs. White, Howells, Pougatch, plus Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe, Angus Fraser (inventor of power play, I believe).

    As with some cricketers such as Pietersen and Collingwood who play in both tests and ODIs , Aggers, Simon Mann, Boycott and Tufnell could help to cover both forms of the game.

    Best wishes.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with most of the comments above. I do find it interesting how Simon Mann is considered a new boy depsite being on the TMS team since 1996. I really enjoy his commentary.

    As much as i like 5live, i do hope TMS keeps it's unique identity that's recognised all around the world and is almost mimicked in ABC's coverage in Australia. Pougatch, White, Saggers, Howells etc are all very good at what they do on 5live but don't have the TMS qualities. That's no disrespect to them at all. It's what they're goos at.

    I also agree with the point above (30) about Shaun Pollock. I think his experience on TMS made his Sky performance a lot better. Neer been a fan of the bloke but enjoyed listening to him. Shame there wasn't a bit more Neil Manthorpe who's an excellent journalist all round.

    Finally i'd like to wish Mike Selvey all the very best and thank him for his contribution over many years.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think a lot of good comments are made above.

    I come from a working class background in Scotland so am not a natural cricket fan, but through staying across TMS i fell in love with the sport. What makes TMS special is that it's more than sports coverage. When you listen you feel like you are with a few friends just chatting.

    5live offer fantastic coverage of sports but it's a different type of coverage and not one to be replicated by TMS. However, trying out one or two new commentators and allowing them time to bed in has to be necessary for the long term. As long as they fit into the TMS style and not change the programme.

    I am looking forward to hearing Dougie Brown tomorrow. Probably just Scottish bias on my part but when he was used in the world cup he was incisive and informative.

    Aggers is the best though. He must never leave!

  • Comment number 44.

    Getting rid of Mike Selvey! hang your head in shame. I know he can be a bit monotone but he is probably the most knowledgable person on cricket in the UK at the moment. Mark Pougatch on the other hand did not have a brilliant debut. Please stop this nonsense now!

  • Comment number 45.


    Agree with you about Jeremy Coney, he is fantastic to listen to.

    I think Tuffers is great and Dougie Brown has been a nice surprise.

    As a Lancastrian I miss Foxy Fowler's wit. Does his day job not allow the odd TMS session?

    V. disappointed to see Selv go. He has the perfect credentials for the job, both as a cricketer and journalist and he's been doing it for donkey's years. Hope this won't signal the gradual chipping away of the TMS style. It makes Aggers, CMJ and Blowers even more important. And the Bearded Wonder, of course.

    I echo the above sentiments about the 5Live-isation of TMS. I rarely listen to 5Live any more as I find a lot of the broadcasters are knowing, cynical and sneering.

    TMS does not need to be sexed-up or dumbed-down.

  • Comment number 46.

    There's a piece in the Daily Telegraph, today, about the sacking of Mike Selvey and it seems that he (and others) have raised concerns about the 5-Live "laddism" taking over at TMS ( It would be easy to see this merely as the disgruntled sour grapes of a sacked employee if it were not for the fact that it is so true and that it appears to be corroborated by others.

    I agree that "Selve" could be a bit monotone but he made very interesting comments, often from "left-field", which is a summarisers job. I was most impressed by his suggestion, during the last test match, that it would be worth having Monty Panesar fielding at short leg.

    Thank goodness for Aggers, as others have noted. He really is the one person who holds the programme together, now, and can still make it sparkle on a regular basis. Vic Marks is, as others have noted, sadly under-used, bringing warmth and humour, an occasional touch of poetry and bags of experience and insight. It would be far better to "promote" him to full commentary than to bring in another jobbing sports reporter.

    In recent series, the overseas summarisers have often been a highlight: Jeremy Coney is a particular joy to listen to, as others have noted.

    Cricket is the sort of game that attracts thoughtful characters, with its subtle variations. its duration and its pace, I would have thought that it would have been possible to find more enthusiastic, eloquent former players than TMS has managed. Five seem to have managed to assemble an excellent team with complementary skills: Mark Nicholas, the suave but slightly excitable front-man; Simon Hughes the enthusiastic expert; Barry Richards, the laid-back, thoughtful lover of the game and Sir Geoffrey, the opinionated Yorkshireman.

    I remember how often people who were not cricket lovers would listen to TMS for the sheer joy of listening to such happy, lively, diverse talk and how even cricket lovers would often say that the rain was almost the best bit. I cannot imagine that being the case, nowadays. As someone else has said, I do hope that Test Match Special manages to be special once more.

  • Comment number 47.

    No doubt TMS in its traditional form is reviled by the BBC mandarins, for not being PC enough, and for committing the sin of appealing to middle England. Well too bad. Some of us like it that way. We pay licence fees too.

    Some of us also despise football, and resent having it forced into the haven that is cricket in the summer (it's not as though football fans are starved of media attention).

    But most of all some of us love cricket, and expect TMS staff to do the same. Hiring third rate hacks from the basement of the BBC probably looks good on your middle management PDPs, but gives the punters out here poor service indeed. We expect those who love cricket and who have extensive knowledge of the game, hence the likes of Aggers, CMJ, Selvey and Blowers. And if they speak with an intelligible accent (RP to the old fashioned) it is a great bonus to us foreigners, who find estuary English excruciating to listen to and hard to understand. But again, I expect that won't tick enough BBC boxes.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have been listening to TMS since the 70's and enjoy it hugely, but....

    I can't stand it when Blowers is on as the cricket seems secondary to any nonsense that comes into his head. He seems to have become a parody of himself.

    As for Geoff Boycott. I had to turn the radio off the other day when he was on as his constant criticism of whatever takes his fancy is too much to listen to.

    His worst criticism has been of Paul Harris (can't bat, joke bowler etc) was a disgrace and you have to feel for any of his family who may have had the misfortune to listen to the programme from South Africa.

    Surely he is there to give balanced opinions not just criticism.

    I would always keep Aggers, CMJ, Simon Mann and Kevin Howells as they seem to have a love of the game. And as summarisers Vic and Gus who are good guys who give good insite.

    In general keep up the work.

  • Comment number 49.

    Just wondering if Mr Mountfield is going to reply to the current critisism - a quick scan on various forums on the internet has shown a similar negative feeling to the current TMS output. Unfortunately after Test cricket went off 'real telly', TMS was the only contact with live cricket and it's looking like this is on the way out as well...

  • Comment number 50.

    Test Match SPECIAL.

    The proof of the pudding is when the 5livers have to keep the programme going when rain stops play. For this you need personality, not just presenting and journalistic skills.

    Aggers and Blowers are BROADCASTERS, capable of painting word pictures (although perhaps not quite always up to the high poetic standards of Arlott). Both are a pleasure to listen to. And it's a joy for the listener and for them - they have the dream job of being paid to talk about the sport they love so much. Their enthusiasm becomes infectious. TMS is a team game - the commentators become like friends of the family to the listener. Keep changing the team and, often, diasater strikes.

    Not wishing to be rude, but the 5livers dont cut it for me.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just a few last thoughts from me on here!

    Firstly, I don't agree with all of the criticisms made of 5live, its just that TMS is different, and has always been different from the rest of BBC sport radio's output. It has its own feel and part of it is the sense you are listening to friends. But it is important to remember that the long history of TMS is built upin the quality of its broadcasting, and in particular its cricket broadcasting. Messrs Arlott and Johnstone were cricket specialists, who may have done other broadcasting, rather than broadcasters who happen to do cricket as well.

    A quick response to the telegraph article. I actually quite like Alison Mitchell's contributions. I don't mind broadcasting innovation. I do mind change for its own sake.

    Although enjoying Mike Selvey's contributions I suppose that the man is nearing 60, over 30 years seperated from hbis test appearances and 25 years seperated from his first class career. So I suppose if someone was going to be removed he was fair game. But I think to do it without takling notice of what listeners want is a bit sad.

    Finally I would suggest that what makes TMS special is also the special rhythm of test cricket. The opportunity for reflection and thought. Blowers might be at times very frustrating but at the same time listening to him is a bit like what being at a test ground is like. There is a lot going on, some of which has nothing to do with the game. But one if the things about TMS that works is that there is no 'brand voice'. There is no one sound TMS makes, it depends on who is on air at the time. It has a very seperate feel when CMJ is on from when Jonathen Agnew is on and so on. But the voice has to properly love the game. The listeners really do love the game, and know the game, any weakness will be found out, and often quickly. (if not then it will happen in a rain break)

  • Comment number 52.

    Hello Adam Mountford/ Whoever is in charge of hiring and firing at TMS,

    I am a Test Match Special listener, and have been for 19 years, since the age of 13.

    I throughly enjoy your coverage - despite Geoffrey Boycott occasionally becoming 'tiresome' at times! :-)

    Whilst I don't agree with all the negative comments about this summer's coverage, I WAS very disappointed to hear that you have dispensed with the services of Mike Selvey. The reason being, that I appreciate his intelligent, considered and insightful input. With his steady, dry delivery he may not be ideal for 'sound bites', but the guy REALLY THINKS about the game - often presenting a challenging argument or interesting point that had never have occurred to me.

    It is THESE QUALITIES which sets him aside from a great number of other summarisers/ commentators.

    It will be a real shame if he is lost to those radio listeners who appreciate intelligent and insightful comment in their sports coverage.

    By the way, I am also a regular Radio 5Live listener, but just believe that despite TMS being realigned with 5Live, instead of Radio 4, that it shouldn't adopt the more 'hyped up' style of 5Live's sports coverage.

    Yours, Julian Mole.

    PS. Please add another vote to the 'Bring back Graham Fowler' campaign.

  • Comment number 53.

    lo adam mountford

    im 16, been listening to tms for about 2 years since cricket went off terestrial. Am I in the age bracket of person that any changes are appealing to? Id rather listen to great coverage than 5 livers who, although ok to listen to on 5 live, are only commentating because they don't sound like Blowers. And I dont have a problem with him sounding old fashioned, and actually quite enjoy the novelty. TMS is old fashioned, but I quite like that, and it seems like everyone else does too. Id much rather listen to henry blofeld or cmj painting a glorious picture of what a pigeon in the street opposite is up to, or selvey giving insightful observatons on the game, than listen to mark pougatch boringly describe just what is infront of him in a bustling out of place 5 live style. Keep the real commentary team, who can commentate on cricket. Its not been broke since it started so why are you trying to fix it?

    ps: pougatch and white wernt even five live commentators, so why are they been given the reigns of what in some peoples eyes is the pinacle of sport coverage anywhere?

  • Comment number 54.

    Could we please have some response from Adam or someone else at the BBC? This message board has made it into the national press and there is clearly lots of legitimate concern about the future direction of the programme. It would be as well for BBC 5 Live to note that there has not been one single vote of endorsement for the new approach to TMS coverage.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sample Pougatch commentary from July:

    Summariser mentions Johnny Dennis

    Pougatch: "Who's Johnny Dennis?"

    Summariser: "He's the announcer at all the Test Match grounds. He's been doing it for about 20 years!"

    Toe-curlingly embarrassing

    Please BBC, we don't mind changes but they have to be sensible ones. I like the idea, mentioned above, of turning the wonderful Vic Marks into a commentator

  • Comment number 56.

    Fir those looking for an official response, look at comment 23.

  • Comment number 57.

    I adore 5 Live, but I can't stand any of the 5Livers on TMS - the whole tone of the programme is DIFFERENT from 5 Live, and it is it's tone which makes it unique. plus TMS has only ever had people on who know about the game in every intimate detail - Pougache doesn't appear to have been to much cricket, let alone played it.

    it wasn't broken and it doesn't need fixing; Selvey back in the fold please!

  • Comment number 58.

    Adam, you're an idiot. Trying to make an impression by ruining TMS. Do you actually know anything about cricket? Getting rid of Selvey was a massive mistake. Simon Mann i can take as he knows his stuff but Arlo White and Mark Pougatch, come on! Pougatch should stick to football.

    And there is always room for one buffoon, so if Tufnell is going to fill that role please put Blofield out to grass. I dont know anyone who listens who can stand his nonsense. And as soon as Alec Stewart opens his mouth i want to throw my radio out of the windpow. His one-eyed bias is nasty. He hates Kent and every player and fan associated with them. He talks up the players he is an agent to - which surely must be against some BBC charter. Get rid of him.

    You obviously have no idea other than to stamp your authority on the TMS team and show them who is boss. Agnew, Marks, Boycs, Selvey are all brilliant.

  • Comment number 59.

    I too would like to know why there has been no response from the producer to the growing indignation expressed on this thread. I have only just discovered that Selve has been sacked, and am horrified. I had been consoling myself when I had to switch off my radio for half an hour that at least Selve or Polly would be on next. (The switching off is something I had NEVER done before during 25 years of TMS, but I had to avoid the ranting of Boycott or the tediously 'cheery Cockney chappie' self-parody of Tufnell, or start screaming. Even Boring Bob Willis didn't seem so bad, and I could always look at the pictures.)
    The Beeb has gone mad and decided to destroy the best thing it has ever done. Frankly, if the 5Livisation continues I shall just stop listening. Perhaps, Mr Mountford, you could publish a commentary schedule so that I could switch on for the rare treat of Aggers, CMJ, Vic, Gus and Blowers and the other few remaining genuine TMS broadcasters, which would at least save electricity. There's always the Guardian's OBO.
    Sorry, everyone, if this is a bit incoherent, but I am seriously upset.

  • Comment number 60.

    I believe it is important to contribe to this debate before the' powers that be ' decide to remove the comments . I will attempt to itemise my main points to make them easier to digest.

    1/ TMS is the most important programme in all of BBC sport broadcasting . This has been the worst summer of presentation I have heard in 25 years of listening . Adam Mountford is , in my opinion , in the process of destroying something that is very precious to many , many thouands of people in the name of ' laddish' popularism .

    2/ I am a great admirer of most of radio 5's sports broadcasts . TMS is more important than all of it put together.

    3/Mike Selvey needs to be reinstated . British cricket has lost him and Michael Vaughan in a week . In this ruthless climate surely it is time for Adam Mountford to 'walk'?

    4/Aggers , CMJ , Henry and Vic Marks are peerless and should be treasured . Alison Mitchell has real potential if given a proper chance .

    5/Comments from G Boycott , A Fraser , D Brown , S Pollock , A Stewart and G Gooch are always excellent .

    6/We simply cannot have Mark Pougatch any longer .Even Arlo White is better . Simon Mann is the best of this bunch. The Fact that he is deemed to be ' senior ' at radio 5 simply doesn't count '

    7/Phil Tufnell is hugely overused . Adam Mountford appears to think he is of great importance . Does anyone remember the issues regarding him as an England ' tourist '?. And , given the type of headlines he made before his 'jungle celebrity ', is he really a role model for children for whom TMS is the only ball by ball medium on the BBC ? Let us hope that D Gough is given his position next year

    8/Great to see the Telegraph article . Maybe we shold write to cricket-loving MPs ? Anyone in John Major's constituancy?
    Surely the days of 'Save TMS ' badges and banners at the ODIs must be close !

    9/ Remember TMS lovers , in the words of Joni Mitchell , ' You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone ! '

    How about Shilpa Patel for Producer !

    Thanks for reading !

  • Comment number 61.

    the above comment ends in thanks for reading, but since there has been no acknowledgment from mr mountford for quite sometime, how do we know that he has bothered to read this forum since his last comment, or that he cares enough to take note of what his own listeners are suggesting?

  • Comment number 62.

    Obviously, tastes vary. And time marches on, so we must all expect change, which can often be for the better. But I fear that lost in the discussion here about preferences for this one and that one will be the common theme that the newest commentators just don't fit into the show's relaxed style and rhythm. Trained in other sports, they are too loud, too fast, and just too much talking. For me, it is actually unnerving, like listening to static. You know who they are.

    A decision to permanently uninvite the erudite Mike Selvey as a summariser is not only disappointing, but bizarre, given that these positions seem totally unsettled. It's been musical chairs all summer, with TMS ties flying out the door like it's a close out sale -- perhaps it is?

    The new summarisers have been, with the exception of Mr. Tufnell, utterly boring and unmemorable. Interchangeable, even, in their boringness, which seems to be what TMS is now aiming for: Test Match Not-So-Special.

    As one dependent on the internet for TMS listening, the winter tour shut-out is almost welcome this year. My hope is that things get sorted out and back on track by next summer. It will be a shame otherwise.

  • Comment number 63.

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

  • Comment number 64.

    It's not just the new producer's fault. He was specifically appointed with a view to making the sort of changes that most listeners on here seem to hate. Peter Baxter would have resisted, that's why he's best out of the way from a management point of view

    It's all part of the BBC's crazed mission to "popularise" everything and speak to its listeners as if they are 8 years old

    Having said that, it has been handled appallingly

    So keep up the pressure: initially, the Beeb will treat our comments as the rantings of a backward-looking reactionary bunch of loonies. They will try to ignore the fact that they are in the process of destroying an all-time broadcasting gem

    Please BBC Sport, you are making a terrible mistake. We are not a bunch of Luddites, we just appreciate what you have given us for all these years and would like you to go in search of the new Johnners, Arlott, Mosey, Gibson, CMJ, Aggers, Blowers and co rather than just pandering to the egos of the able (in some areas) but unsuitable (for TMS) shop-floor sports room staff

  • Comment number 65.

    Just as a quick response to turnyourradioon, Peter Baxter wasn't forced out in any kind of coup, he had reached BBC retirement age and so had to retire as a BBC employee.

    I don't find the general tone of TMS bad, just because not everyone has a plumby middle class private school accent all of a sudden. But at the same time, its a cricket programme that cricket fans take seriously (maybe a little too seriously sometimes!) and needs to retain its feel as something unique and special.

  • Comment number 66.

    Not only has there been little response to this thread, but I can find no other way on the tms website of contacting the programme directly.

    I can find no email address given, nor a postal address to send my comments to. I would like to know who Mountford's superiors are to address my comments and complaints to, but can find no contact information on the website. An email address should at least be given - this is a public service broadcaster paid for by us and we should be given contact details.

    My points are much the same as many given here but I would like to point out that it is not only long-in-the tooth long-term listeners that are appalled by the rapid decline of tms. I have been listening for about five years, so I'm not a throwback to Johnners, Arlott et al. I just like quality commentary.

    Blowfeld is great, not because he is posh, or entertaining but because he is an excellent commentator, giving detailed and on the button descriptions of bowling actions, field placings etc. Selvey was great because of his knowledge of the game.

    Commentary doesn't have to be dumb to be accessible. As a newcomer to the game a few years ago I found Simon Hughes' role as the analyst on Channel Four coverage a brilliant way of learning more about the intricacies of the game.

    The liks of Pougatch and many of the ex players seem to have little to offer - good players do not always make good presenters.

    Boycott is appalling to listen to not because of his opinions, which I often agree with, but because they are wrapped in endless boring self reference, self justification and more mentions of Fred Trueman or Raymond Illingworth than the players on the pitch.

    Unusually this summer I have found myself switiching off TMS many times, usually when Boycott or some other ex player with little to say comes on.

    Marks, Aggers, Selvey and Blowers are great not because they are posh, or old school, but because they know the game, don't treat the listeners like idiots and bring quality commentary and comment.

    What a shame that they are being sidelined, or dropped.

  • Comment number 67.


    Compared to the above, my questions are quite simple and easy to answer. I hope.

    Why is it that in this day and age, the cricket scoreborads used on the BBC website (for all games), still do not include wides and no balls in the bowling figures?

    These figures are easily added in, and would not increase the time taken to update scoresheets at all.

    At the lower end of the cricket playing ladder, even we always make an effort to place these figures into our scorecards when using web-sites such as Playcricket. How is it that you cannot record this useful information?

    Similarly, why is it that the captain and wicketkeeper are not signified within the scoresheet either (using the standard notation of '*' for a captain and '+' for a wicketkeeper). This might be an easy assumption to make most of the time with the national side, but say for example, when looking at the side for the England Lions, or other international sides it can be quite helpful to see who has been given the nod to do each job.

    This can also happen on the domestic scene as well. I, for my sins, am a Surrey fan; and at least one point this summer have see a game captained by not the captain (Mark Butcher - out injured), nor the vice-captain (Mark Ramprakash - sick). In these instances it would be handy to know who was making the decisions on the field of play.

    Without wishing to add too much to the significant pile of complaints above, if you want someone to do some commentary who has character, humour, a love of the game, fits the 'younger' demographic (I'm thirty-two), but does not necessary fit the 'journalistic' or '5Live' commentary style, then I am available to start with TMS almost immediately.

    Good luck with the appeasement talks Mr Chamberlain, by the comments above it looks like you'll need it!



    P.S. I've liked listening to Phil Tufnell and Shaun Pollock this summer.

  • Comment number 68.

    As a TMS listener for a very long time, I too am dismayed by the direction the program had headed since the departure of Peter Baxter.

    Without getting personal, some of the new presenters simply are not up to the job, and the one dayers in particular are heading towards tabloid radio.

    TMS is an institution - sadly it does not seem to be in good hands.

  • Comment number 69.

    Saintlymark, I realise that Peter Baxter left the job because he had to retire, my point was that his departure enabled BBC management to let themselves loose on TMS. As long as Baxter was in charge, it was in pretty safe hands because he was a senior figure in the department

    I feel a bit sorry for Mountford - it was a undoubtedly a dream job for him, but he's just there to carry out instructions from above

    Unfortunately, they've got it all wrong

    Listener reaction helped to reverse disastrous changes to Radio 4 FM in the past, let's hope there's enough of a backlash to save TMS. But it will need a lot of pressure from the audience, because once the BBC is on a mission to "popularise" it needs a lot of persuading that it has made a mistake

    The Beeb has already wrecked most of its local radio stations (now full of junk chit-chat compared with the early days), please everyone don't let TMS go the same way

    PS: Re my post 63, above - nothing offensive removed, I had it taken off myself (double post)

  • Comment number 70.

    Like many others i am not given to responding to blogs but I am making an exception. I wanted to reply to your later offering but I see it has been withdrawn from your homepage and closed to comment.
    The responses you have received must surely make you realise that you have made a huge mistake although that is not evidenced in the faux-cheery way you write. Just a couple of points at random from your other blog. "There has been a fair amount of comment since the news was announced that Mike Selvey was not going to be part of the TMS team". Announced by whom? When? Where? Would you point me to this because it seems to have eluded everyone at the time. In fact had Jonathan Agnew not had the presence of mind to allude to it as he signed off from the Oval test then we would be none the wiser. Perhaps it was a good day to bury bad news.

    "The time was right to introduce some more recent Test cricketers into the commentary mix". Just remind me again how many "more recent" tests Simon Hughes played. Oh none. You really are not coming out of this very well.
    What you clearly fail to realise, unless you read these responses of course, is how little you seem to understand what the majority of listeners want to hear. The coverage of test matches needs a totally different approach to one day cricket and should remain the pillar of BBC cricket coverage. It does not need changing. Tinker with one day internationals and Twenty20 but not the tests. In fact as far as possible your test match coverage should contain only those voices with which listeners are familiar and who show the highest standards of broadcasting.

    You should be prepared to admit a mistake, and lose some face,knowing that at least you are taking some note of public opinion.

  • Comment number 71.

    I am a bit concerned about the fact that the "TMS changes explained" entry is now closed for comments. Given that the majority of comments which were received were, understandably, negative, this seems like the virtual equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and going "la la la la la."

    "The BBC. This is what we do."

  • Comment number 72.

    I notice that the blog entry regarding Mike Selvey has been closed for comments (I wonder why?). Just as I was going to leave one. I'll leave it here instead.
    I just wanted to add another voice to the protest, specific and general, in the hope that a sufficient numbers would actually have some effect.
    It is beautifully ironic that the five live producer should have laid such stress on 'interactive' radio, and that he should be so severely stung by his own blog.
    I think the entries have mostly been very polite and almost every single one has strongly disliked the direction in which TMS is being taken.
    I do feel for the five live commentators on TMS. On radio, the only access one has to the speaker is through their voice. So if the voice isn't pleasant to listen to, they won't be any good on radio. Sadly i find that completely with all of the five live presenters, particularly Arlo White (and I'm not being regionalist in the usual sense, since I'm guessing he's from the Midlands just as I am).
    A very revealing comment from Adam Mountford reveals something fundamental about his view of TMS: that is the idea that, broadly speaking, ignorant presenters are good because they can replicate the ignorance of a certain section of the audience and so by asking questions to the experts can then help to educate the audience (and cricket is certainly a complicated game, and very few of the audience will have had much of a chance to play it: I never did at school, and the majority of the audience will be state-school educated, where it is still I think very rare to play much).
    You only have to witness Jonathan Agnew's brilliant explanations of all kinds of abstruse cricketing terms to see that ignorance is not required.
    What seems to be going on is this levelling-down where you have presenters representing the audience in their ignorance, and deferring to the 'experts' (the ex-players of course...) who then explain to them. So the relation between commentator and audience which used to be paternal or avuncular, where we look up to and listen to and learn from the commentator (the Reithian ideal), we are now supposed to *identify* with the commentator, and he is supposed to represent the man in the street and to simply pose questions to experts on our behalf (as Pougatch seems to have been doing).
    This explains the new balance between 'journalist' commentators (Mountford's words) and ex-player summarisers.
    It's part of a more general shift in our relation to the media generally. And of course, a lot of traditional TMS listeners are not going to like that shift one jot. But it is one that affects all media. TMS was unique in resisting this egregious trend.
    The only crime, and it is a serious one, of the new production team of TMS is to try and make it like every other sports programme. But then, it's greatest value is that it was *not* like any other sports programme on radio...

  • Comment number 73.

    It's shocking that the other blog is now closed for comments - so much for BBC accountability. It looks as if they didn't like the backlash, so they've run off with the ball.

    Mike Selvey's post (assuming that it was the real MS) refers to the Head of Radio Sport. My research leads me to believe that this is a Mr Gordon Turnbull.

    Given that the decision to axe Selvey appears to have been Mr Turnbull's rather than Mr Mountford's, perhaps he would come onto this blog and explain why he has allowed his producer to be hung, drawn and quartered in public for a decision that was actually made at management level?

  • Comment number 74.

    MIke Selvey's response to Adam Mountford can be found in a letter in the November edition of "The Wisden Cricketer". Essential reading for those who mourn the sad decline of this once great institution since Petre Baxter left.

  • Comment number 75.

    For those who would like the background (including a contribution from Mike Selvey himself) the relevent blog is still available - although the BBC has stopped anyone from adding to it: See:


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