Test Match Special

Test Match Special

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Encyclopedia
Test Match Special is a British radio programme covering professional cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, broadcast on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 (long wave), Five Live Sports Extra (digital
Digital radio
Digital radio has several meanings:1. Today the most common meaning is digital radio broadcasting technologies, such as the digital audio broadcasting system, also known as Eureka 147. In these systems, the analog audio signal is digitized into zeros and ones, compressed using formats such as...

) and the internet to the United Kingdom and (where broadcasting rights permit) the rest of the world. TMS provides ball-by-ball coverage of most Test cricket
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

, One Day International, and Twenty20
Twenty20
Twenty20 is a form of cricket, originally introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board , in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each has a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket...

 matches and tournaments involving the England cricket team.

History


BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

 was the first broadcaster to cover every ball of a Test match. Live cricket had been broadcast since 1927, but originally it was thought that Test match cricket was too slow for ball-by-ball commentary to work. However, Seymour de Lotbiniere
Seymour de Lotbiniere
Seymour Joly de Lotbiniere CVO known as ‘Lobby’ was a Director of the British Broadcasting Corporation and pioneer of outside broadcasts. He is recognised as developing the technique of sports commentary on radio and subsequently television, and he masterminded the televising of the 1953...

 ('Lobby'), who was responsible for live sports coverage and who went on to become an outstanding head of outside broadcasts at the BBC, realised that ball-by-ball commentary could make compelling radio. In the mid-1930s he got Howard Marshall
Howard Marshall (broadcaster)
Howard Percival Marshall achieved distinction in several fields, but is best remembered as a pioneering commentator for live broadcasts of state occasions and sporting events — in particular cricket Test matches — for BBC radio during the 1930s.He went to Oriel College, Oxford, winning a rugby...

 to begin commentating on cricket, rather than only giving reports. From the mid-1930s to the 1950s the amount of ball-by-ball commentary gradually increased, but it was not until TMS was launched in 1957 that every ball was covered for their British audience. Of those BBC commentators whose careers wholly preceded TMS, Howard Marshall is the most notable.

Robert Hudson
Robert Hudson (broadcaster)
Robert Cecil Hudson was a broadcaster and administrator for the BBC, primarily on radio but also on television, between 1947 and 1981. He commentated on cricket and rugby union, as well as on many state occasions. He also covered a number of royal tours abroad...

 was responsible for the launch of TMS, writing to his Outside Broadcasts boss Charles Max-Muller in 1956, proposing broadcasting full ball-by-ball coverage of Tests rather than only covering fixed periods, and suggesting using the Third Programme (as BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 was then known) frequency, since at that time the Third Programme only broadcast in the evening.

TMS became a fixture on BBC Radio 3 on AM medium wave until Radio 3 lost its MW frequency in early 1992. The programme moved to Radio 3 FM that summer and the following summer the morning play was on Radio 5, switching to Radio 3 for the afternoon session. The start of Radio 5 Live meant that TMS moved to its present home on Radio 4 long wave (198 LW, plus various localised MW frequencies including 720 MW in London and 603 MW in the North East). At times of cricket matches, the normal BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 schedule continues on its FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 frequencies, whilst longwave
Longwave
In radio, longwave refers to parts of radio spectrum with relatively long wavelengths. The term is a historic one dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of long, medium and short wavelengths...

 is taken over by the cricket. This has, in the past, sparked controversy with some Radio 4 listeners unable to change frequencies. The shipping forecast
Shipping Forecast
The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

 is, however, retained — but it may be broadcast late. With the advent of digital radio
Digital radio
Digital radio has several meanings:1. Today the most common meaning is digital radio broadcasting technologies, such as the digital audio broadcasting system, also known as Eureka 147. In these systems, the analog audio signal is digitized into zeros and ones, compressed using formats such as...

, TMS can also be heard on Five Live Sports Extra, which has the benefit of not being interrupted by the shipping forecast, and also via the Internet.

Many spectators who are present at Test matches listen to TMS via headphones attached to portable radios or by a new commentary radio which can be purchased at the ground. However, they feature both TMS and Sky Sports commentary. TMS is usually the prime choice of listening at the ground. There is an occasional "dialogue" between the commentators and those present at the ground. Many television viewers watch muted action on their TV sets with TMS commentary.

From 1973 to 2007, Test Match Special was produced by Peter Baxter
Peter Baxter
Peter Baxter was a producer for BBC radio, in particular he was for 34 years the organising brain behind Test Match Special.-Career:Baxter joined the BBC in September 1965 after a spell in British Forces Broadcasting....

. Halfway through 2007, Baxter retired and was replaced by Adam Mountford, previously the Five Live cricket producer. Aged just one when Peter Baxter began his involvement with TMS, Mountford claims to love the current format, and promises to develop the technology available when listening to TMS through the BBC red button.http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tms/2007/06/new_man_at_the_helm.shtml

Calypso
Calypso music
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago from African and European roots. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of enslaved Africans, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song...

-tinged theme music
Theme music
Theme music is a piece that is often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game or movie, and usually played during the title sequence and/or end credits...

 from the track "Soul Limbo
Soul Limbo
Soul Limbo is the eighth album by Booker T. & the MGs, released in 1968 on Stax Records. The album was the first Stax LP issued after the label severed its ties with former distributor Atlantic Records in 1968....

" by the American soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 band Booker T. & the M.G.'s
Booker T. & the M.G.'s
Booker T. & the M.G.'s is an instrumental R&B band that was influential in shaping the sound of southern soul and Memphis soul. Original members of the group were Booker T. Jones , Steve Cropper , Lewie Steinberg , and Al Jackson, Jr....

 is played at the beginning and end of TMS coverage each day. The music was originally used as the theme for cricket coverage on BBC television for almost 30 years until the BBC lost the broadcasting rights in 1999. Several years later, the theme was resurrected by TMS and it is still used whenever the BBC shows international cricket highlight packages. The distinctive tune is instantly recognisable to many cricket fans around the world. "Soul Limbo" was introduced as the theme after a West Indies tour when many of their supporters in the crowd knocked tin cans together, and the piece's introduction is highly reminiscent of that peculiar sound.

On 23 December 2008 it was announced the BBC have won the UK radio rights up to 2013 meaning TMS could continue its presence on the British airwaves.

In 2010, Test Match Special covered two non-England Test matches
Australian cricket team against Pakistan in England in 2010
-2nd T20I:-1st Test:-2nd Test:-First Class: Kent vs Pakistanis:-Tour match: Derbyshire vs Australians:-Tour match: Leicestershire vs Pakistanis:-Television:* Ten Sports: India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia* Sky Sports: UK...

 between Pakistan and Australia. The matches were played in England rather than Pakistan for security reasons.

TMS commentators


In a test match three or four commentators and three or four summarisers are used in rotation; each commentator 'sits in' before the microphone for 20 minutes, and each summariser for 30 minutes, at a time.
The voices of the TMS commentators have become part of the sound of an English summer, and there is a tradition of the commentators being referred to by nicknames (often based on the first syllable of their surname, plus the syllable "-ers"). They have included:
  • EW Swanton (1938–1975)
  • Rex Alston
    Rex Alston
    Arthur Rex Alston was a leading sports commentator for BBC radio on cricket, rugby union, athletics and tennis from the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s....

     (1945–1964)
  • John Arlott
    John Arlott
    Leslie Thomas John Arlott OBE was an English journalist, author and cricket commentator for the BBC's Test Match Special. He was also a poet, wine connoisseur and former police officer in Hampshire...

     (1946–1980)
  • Ken Ablack
    Ken Ablack
    Robert Kenneth Ablack was a first class cricketer. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad he was a left-arm orthodox spinner who appeared for Northamptonshire County Cricket Club between 1946 and 1949. He also appeared for a West Indies XI in 1944 and for Learie Constantine's XI in 1944 and 1945...

     (1950–1962)
  • Robert Hudson
    Robert Hudson (broadcaster)
    Robert Cecil Hudson was a broadcaster and administrator for the BBC, primarily on radio but also on television, between 1947 and 1981. He commentated on cricket and rugby union, as well as on many state occasions. He also covered a number of royal tours abroad...

     (1958–1968)
  • Peter West
    Peter West
    Peter Anthony West was a BBC presenter and sports commentator best known for his work on the corporation's cricket, tennis and rugby coverage as well as occasionally commentating on field hockey. Throughout his television career he remained freelance.-Early life:He was an only child...

     (1958)
  • Alan Gibson
    Alan Gibson
    Norman Alan Stanley Gibson was an English journalist, writer and radio broadcaster, best known for his work in connection with cricket, though he also sometimes covered football and rugby union...

     (1962–1975)
  • Peter Cranmer
    Peter Cranmer
    Peter Cranmer was an English sportsman who captained Warwickshire in first-class cricket and earlier in his career represented England at rugby union. After World War II he gave up on rugby and focused purely on cricket....

     (1965, 1968 - 2 matches only)
  • Brian Johnston
    Brian Johnston
    Brian Alexander Johnston CBE, MC was a cricket commentator and presenter for the BBC from 1946 until his death.-Early life and education:...

     ("Johnners") (1966–1993)
  • Neil Durden-Smith (1969–1974)
  • Don Mosey
    Don Mosey
    Don Mosey was a sports journalist and radio producer, best remembered for his lengthy tenure as a cricket commentator on BBC's Test Match Special , which he joined in 1974 and left in 1991....

     ("The Alderman") (1974–1991)
  • Tony Lewis
    Tony Lewis
    Anthony Robert Lewis CBE is a former Welsh cricketer, who went on to become the face of BBC Television cricket coverage in the 1990s, and become president of the MCC. Lewis attended Christ's College, Cambridge and played for Cambridge University. He also played county cricket for Glamorgan, and...

     ("ARL") (1977–1985)
  • Arlo White
    Arlo White
    Arlo White is an English sports presenter and commentator, originally from Leicester.-Early career:He began broadcasting at the age of 27, after gaining experience covering non-league Football for Radio Derby and also while travelling in Australia....

     (2005–2007)


Current TMS commentators include:
  • Christopher Martin-Jenkins
    Christopher Martin-Jenkins
    Christopher Dennis Alexander Martin-Jenkins MBE, also known as CMJ , is a cricket journalist and Past President of the MCC. He is also a commentator for Test Match Special on BBC Radio....

     ("CMJ") (1973–)
  • Henry Blofeld
    Henry Blofeld
    Henry Calthorpe Blofeld is a sports journalist. He is best known as a cricket commentator for Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.Blofeld had an exceptional career as a schoolboy cricketer, cut short by injury...

     ("Blowers") (1974–1991, 1994–)
  • Jonathan Agnew
    Jonathan Agnew
    Jonathan Philip Agnew is an English cricket broadcaster and former professional cricketer. He was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire and educated at Uppingham School. He is nicknamed "Aggers", and, less commonly, "Spiro"....

     ("Aggers") (1991–) (also ex-England player)
  • Simon Mann
    Simon Mann (cricket commentator)
    Simon Mann is a BBC radio sports commentator, most notable for being a member of the 'Test Match Special' team, which he joined in 1996.-Career:He joined the BBC in 1990 and first reported on Test matches for Radio Five Live four years later....

     (1996–)
  • Simon Hughes
    Simon Hughes (cricketer)
    Simon Peter Hughes is an English cricketer and journalist. He is the son of the actor, Peter Hughes, and the brother of the historian Bettany Hughes.-Cricket career:...

     (2007–)
  • Jim Maxwell
    Jim Maxwell (commentator)
    James "Jim" Maxwell is a sports commentator with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation best known for covering cricket.-Playing career:...

     (2005–present) Ashes test series

Regular summarisers


The long standing pattern of a broadcast is commentary during the over
Over (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, an over is a set of six consecutive balls bowled in succession. An over is normally bowled by a single bowler. However, in the event of injury preventing a bowler from completing an over, it is completed by a teammate....

 followed by a summary or other comments between overs (usually by retired first-class cricket
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

ers). In recent years, this pattern has rather broken down, with comments being made not just between overs but between balls. Summarisers have included:
  • Norman Yardley
    Norman Yardley
    Norman Walter Dransfield Yardley was an English cricketer who played for Cambridge University, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England, as a right-handed batsman and occasional bowler. An amateur, he captained Yorkshire from 1948 to 1955 and England on fourteen occasions between 1947 and 1950,...

     (1956–1969; 1973)
  • Freddie Brown (1957–1969)
  • Trevor Bailey
    Trevor Bailey
    Trevor Edward Bailey CBE was an England Test cricketer, cricket writer and broadcaster.An all-rounder, Bailey was known for his skilful but unspectacular batting...

     ("The Boil") (1967–1999)
  • Fred Trueman
    Fred Trueman
    Frederick Sewards Trueman OBE was an English cricketer, generally acknowledged as one of the greatest fast bowlers in history. A bowler of genuinely fast pace who was widely known as Fiery Fred, Trueman played first-class cricket for Yorkshire County Cricket Club from 1949 until he retired in 1968...

     (1974–1999)
  • Mike Selvey
    Mike Selvey
    Mike Selvey is an English former Test and county cricketer, and now a cricket writer and commentator. Selvey played in three Tests for England between 1976 and 1977...

     (1988–2008)
  • David Lloyd
    David Lloyd (cricketer)
    David Lloyd is a former English cricketer who played county cricket for Lancashire and Test and One Day International cricket for England. He also played semi-professional football for Accrington Stanley...

     ("Bumble") (1990–1995)
  • Vic Marks
    Vic Marks
    Vic Marks is a former Somerset and England cricketer, who played in six Tests and thirty four ODIs....

     (1990–)
  • Graeme Fowler
    Graeme Fowler
    Graeme "Foxy" Fowler is a former English professional cricketer, who played for Lancashire, England, and later for Durham...

     ("Foxy") (1994–2005)
  • Mike Gatting
    Mike Gatting
    Michael "Mike" William Gatting OBE is a former English cricketer, who played first-class cricket for Middlesex and for England from 1977 to 1995, captaining the national side in twenty-three Test matches between 1986 and 1988...

     ("Gat") (2000–2007)
  • Graham Gooch
    Graham Gooch
    Graham Alan Gooch OBE DL is a former cricketer who captained Essex and England. He was one of the most successful international batsmen of his generation, and through a career spanning from 1973 until 2000, he became the most prolific run scorer of all time with 67,057 runs...

     ("Goochie") (2002–2009)
  • Angus Fraser
    Angus Fraser
    Angus Robert Charles Fraser is the current Managing Director of Cricket of Middlesex County Cricket Club, and a former English cricketer and journalist....

     ("Gus") (2002–)
  • Phil Tufnell
    Phil Tufnell
    Philip Clive Roderick Tufnell is a former English cricketer turned television personality. A slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler, "Tuffers" as he was known played 42 Tests and 20 One Day International matches for England, as well as playing for Middlesex from 1986 to 2002...

     ("Tuffers") (2003–)
  • Geoffrey Boycott
    Geoffrey Boycott
    Geoffrey Boycott OBE is a former Yorkshire and England cricketer. In a prolific and sometimes controversial playing career from 1962 to 1986, Boycott established himself as one of England's most successful opening batsmen...

     ("Boycs") (2005–)
  • Alec Stewart
    Alec Stewart
    Alec James Stewart OBE is a retired English cricketer, a right-handed batsman-wicketkeeper and former captain of the England cricket team...

     (2006–)
  • Michael Vaughan
    Michael Vaughan
    Michael Paul Vaughan OBE is a retired cricketer who represented Yorkshire and England. A classically elegant right-handed batsman and occasional off-spinner, Vaughan was ranked one of the best batsmen in the world following the 2002/3 Ashes, in which he scored 633 runs, including three centuries...

     ("Vaughnie") (2009-)

Occasional summarisers


When touring other countries (or sometimes in the UK) the TMS team are often joined by guest British summarisers who join the team temporarily. These have included:
  • Matthew Hoggard
    Matthew Hoggard
    Matthew James Hoggard MBE is an English cricketer. The 6' 2" Hoggard is a right arm fast-medium bowler and right-handed batsman. He played international cricket for England cricket team from 2000-2008, playing both Test cricket and One Day International cricket. He is currently the captain of...

     (South Africa 2009)
  • Dominic Cork
    Dominic Cork
    Dominic Gerald Cork is a former English cricketer. Cork is a right-handed lower-order batsman who bowls right-arm fast-medium, and is renowned for his swing and seam control. Making his début in first-class cricket for Derbyshire in 1990, he was selected to play for England in 1992, aged 21. He...

     (Bangladesh 2010)
  • Mark Butcher
    Mark Butcher
    Mark Alan Butcher is a former English Test cricketer, who played county cricket for Surrey from 1992 until his retirement from the sport in 2009. He was a left-handed batsman, and occasional right-arm medium-pace bowler....

     (Bangladesh 2010)
  • Peter Moores
    Peter Moores
    Sir Peter Moores CBE DL is a British businessman, art collector and philanthropist, a former chairman of the Liverpool-based Littlewoods football pools and retailing business in the United Kingdom....

     (Australia home 1 day series 2010)

Guest commentators and summarisers


In addition, visitors from overseas join the TMS team as commentators or summarisers when their country is touring England. These have included:
  • Roshan Abeysinghe (2011-) (Sri Lanka)
  • Maharajah of Baroda
    Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad
    Lieutenant-Colonel Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Prataprao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda was a former Maharaja of Baroda....

     (India)
  • Athar Ali Khan
    Athar Ali Khan
    Athar Ali Khan is a former Bangladeshi cricketer. A tall right-handed batsman , he played 19 one-day internationals scoring 532 runs at an average of 29.55 with a highest score of 82. Throughout the '80s Athar played as a middle order batsman, batting mostly at No. 4 or 5...

     (Bangladesh)
  • Harsha Bhogle
    Harsha Bhogle
    Harsha Bhogle is an Indian cricket commentator and journalist. He was born in a Marathi speaking family in Hyderabad.-Early life:...

     (India)
  • Ian Chappell
    Ian Chappell
    Ian Michael Chappell is a former cricketer who played for South Australia and Australia. He captained Australia between 1971 and 1975 before taking a central role in the breakaway World Series Cricket organisation...

     (Australia)
  • Jeremy Coney
    Jeremy Coney
    Jeremy Vernon Coney MBE is a former New Zealand cricketer, who played 52 Test matches and 88 ODIs for New Zealand, captaining them in 15 Tests and 25 ODIs. He was one of New Zealand's most successful batsmen, at least by average, and he made 16 fifties, but centuries often eluded him and he had to...

     (New Zealand)
  • Colin Croft
    Colin Croft
    Colin Everton Hunte Croft is a former West Indian cricketer. He provides expert analysis on the British Broadcasting Corporation's Test Match Special.-Cricket career:...

     ("Crofty") (West Indies)
  • Tony Cozier
    Tony Cozier
    Anthony "Tony" Cozier has been a cricket writer and commentator for West Indian cricket since 1958.Cozier is the son of Barbados journalist, Jimmy Cozier and he studied journalism at Carleton University, Ottawa...

     (West Indies)
  • Darryl Cullinan (South Africa)
  • Gerald de Kock
    Gerald de Kock
    Gerald de Kock is a South African sports commentator specialising in cricket. Formerly media manager of the South African national cricket team, he is currently chief cricket presenter on SuperSport, having worked previously for the SABC....

     (South Africa)
  • Farokh Engineer
    Farokh Engineer
    Farokh Maneksha Engineer is a former Indian cricketer of Parsi background who played 46 Tests for India and played first-class cricket for Mumbai in India and Lancashire in England. Engineer's active international career started in 1961 and continued to 1975, and he was India's first-choice...

     ("Rooky") (India)
  • Jack Fingleton
    Jack Fingleton
    John "Jack" Henry Webb Fingleton OBE was an Australian cricketer who was trained as a journalist and became a political and cricket commentator after the end of his playing career...

     (Australia)
  • Duncan Fletcher
    Duncan Fletcher
    Duncan Andrew Gwynne Fletcher OBE is a former Zimbabwean cricketer, formerly captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team and the current coach of the Indian Cricket Team. He has been appointed as coach of the Indian Cricket Team on April 27, 2011...

     (Zimbabwe)
  • Sunil Gavaskar
    Sunil Gavaskar
    Sunil Manohar "Sunny" Gavaskar is a former cricketer who played during the 1970s and 1980s for Bombay and India. Widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen in cricket history, Gavaskar set world records during his career for the most Test runs and most Test centuries scored by any...

     (India)
  • Adam Gilchrist
    Adam Gilchrist
    Adam Craig Gilchrist AM , nicknamed "Gilly" or "Churchy", is an Australian international cricketer who currently captains Kings XI Punjab and recently captained Middlesex. He is an attacking left-handed batsman and record-breaking wicket-keeper, who redefined the role for the Australian national...

     (Australia)
  • Jason Gillespie
    Jason Gillespie
    Jason Neil Gillespie is an Australian cricketer who formerly represented Australia at international level, in both Tests and One Day Internationals, and South Australia, Yorkshire and Glamorgan at first-class level. His primary role is as a right-arm fast-medium bowler, but he is also a competent...

     ("Dizzy") (Australia)
  • Matthew Hayden
    Matthew Hayden
    Matthew Lawrence Hayden AM is a former Australian cricketer, and was signed to the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL until the 2010 season. Hayden is a powerful and aggressive left-handed opening batsman, known for his ability to score quickly at both Test and one day levels.Hayden holds the record...

     (Australia)
  • Dean Jones
    Dean Jones (cricketer)
    Dean Mervyn Jones AM is a retired Australian cricketer, and is presently a coach. He also worked as a media commentator.-Career:...

     (Australia)
  • John Kenny (Ireland)
  • Imran Khan (Pakistan)
  • Omar Kureishi
    Omar Kureishi
    Omar Kureishi was a distinguished Pakistani writer. He had also worked in the advertising, aviation and journalism industry, writing for many newspapers, including Dawn, The Pakistan Times, Morning News and The Guardian, London...

     (Pakistan)
  • Tim Lane (Australia)
  • Justin Langer
    Justin Langer
    Justin Lee Langer AM is a former international cricketer who represented Australia in 105 Test matches and the current Assistant Coach and Batting Coach of the Australian cricket team. A left-handed batsman, his opening partnership with Matthew Hayden was one of the most successful of all time...

     (Australia)
  • Roy Lawrence (West Indies)
  • Geoff Lawson
    Geoff Lawson (cricketer)
    Geoffrey Francis Lawson, OAM is a former Australian cricketer and the former coach of the Pakistan cricket team....

     (Australia)
  • Neil Manthorp
    Neil Manthorp
    Neil Manthorp is a South African writer and broadcaster based in Cape Town. He is best known internationally for his coverage of cricket.-Biography:Manthorp was born and educated in England, but considers himself very much a South African...

     (South Africa)
  • Alan McGilvray
    Alan McGilvray
    Alan David McGilvray AM MBE was an Australian cricketer who played several first-class seasons for New South Wales in the mid-1930s before becoming the doyen of Australian cricket commentators...

     (Australia)
  • Jim Maxwell
    Jim Maxwell (commentator)
    James "Jim" Maxwell is a sports commentator with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation best known for covering cricket.-Playing career:...

     (Australia)
  • Mushtaq Mohammed (Pakistan)
  • Neville Oliver
    Neville Oliver
    Neville Laurence Oliver is a former Australian politician. Before entering politics, he was an ABC sports commentator. On 22 April 2002, he was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly as a Labor member representing Franklin in a recount following the resignation of Fran Bladel. Oliver...

    , nicknamed "The Doctor" in reference to his initials and the film Dr. No
    Dr. No (film)
    Dr. No is a 1962 spy film, starring Sean Connery; it is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and was directed by Terence Young. The film was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R...

    (Australia)
  • Shaun Pollock
    Shaun Pollock
    Shaun Maclean Pollock is a retired South African cricketer who is considered a bowling all-rounder. From 2000 to 2003 he was the captain of the South African cricket team, and also played for Africa XI, World XI, Dolphins and Warwickshire. He was also chosen as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in...

     (South Africa)
  • Rameez Raja
    Rameez Raja
    Rameez Hasan Raja is a former Pakistani right handed batsman in cricket, who represented the Pakistan cricket team during the 1980s and 1990s. He also worked as captain of the national team...

     (Pakistan)
  • Barry Richards (South Africa)
  • Sir Viv Richards
    Viv Richards
    Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE is a former West Indian cricketer. Better known by his second name, Vivian or, more popularly, simply as Viv or King Viv Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century in 2000, by a 100-member panel of experts, along with Sir Donald...

     (West Indies)
  • Ravi Shastri
    Ravi Shastri
    Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri is a former Indian cricketer and captain. He was an all–rounder who batted right-handed and bowled left arm spin. His international career started when he was 18 years old and lasted for 12 years...

     (India)
  • Michael Slater
    Michael Slater
    Michael Jonathon Slater is a former Australian cricketer who played in 74 Tests and 42 ODIs for the Australian cricket team from 1993 to 2001...

     (Australia)
  • Ian Smith (New Zealand)
  • Donna Symmonds
    Donna Symmonds
    Donna Symmonds is a Barbadian lawyer and sports commentator. She is the best known female international cricket commentator.The daughter of a former High Commissioner for Barbados in London, Symmonds grew up in Bridgetown where she played cricket for her school and junior tennis for Barbados...

    , the first female regular commentator on TMS. (West Indies)
  • Jeff Thomson
    Jeff Thomson
    Jeffrey Robert Thomson is a former Australian cricketer. Known as "Thommo", he was one of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket and was the opening partner of fellow fast bowler Dennis Lillee; their combination was one of the most fearsome in Test cricket history...

     ("Thommo") (Australia)
  • Bryan Waddle
    Bryan Waddle
    Bryan Waddle is a veteran New Zealand-born sports broadcaster, sometimes called "The voice of New Zealand cricket". In his home country he is best known for his cricket commentaries on Radio Sport, and he has also appeared on the BBC's cricket commentaries on Test Match Special and as a guest...

     (New Zealand)


The TMS team also includes a scorer
Scorer
A scorer in the sport of cricket is someone appointed to record all runs scored, all wickets taken and, where appropriate, number of overs bowled. In professional games, in compliance with the Laws of Cricket, two scorers are appointed, most often one provided by each team.The scorers have no say...

. The first was Arthur Wrigley
Arthur Wrigley
Arthur Wrigley was an English cricket scorer and statistician. He was the first scorer for BBC radio cricket commentary....

, followed in 1966 by Bill Frindall
Bill Frindall
William Howard Frindall, MBE was an English cricket scorer and statistician. He was familiar to cricket followers from his appearances on the BBC Radio 4 programme Test Match Special, nicknamed the Bearded Wonder by Brian Johnston for his ability to research the most obscure cricketing facts in...

 (affectionately known as "the Bearded Wonder") whose final test was England's drawn 2nd Test with India in December 2008. Jo King
Jo King
Jo King is a cricket scorer who often works for British broadcasting services. In the past she has scored for Channel 4, who held the television rights for the England cricket team's home tests from 1999 to 2005. She has also scored England's winter Test tours, either for the commercial talkSPORT...

 is often used as scorer for some of the overseas tours. When Jo was unavailable for the 2006/07 Commonwealth Banks Series finals in Australia, Michael Robinson replaced her for the 1st final at the MCG
McG
Joseph McGinty Nichol , better known as McG, is an American director and producer of film and television, as well as a former record producer....

. Malcolm Ashton
Malcolm Ashton
Since 2009 Malcolm 'Ashtray' Ashton has been the BBC's TMS Scorer. His scoring career began in the mid-1970s at Rawtenstall Cricket Club which soon led to scoring for BBC Radio and Channel 4's cricket programmes. In 1995 he was asked by Ray Illingworth to go on the South African Cricket tour as...

 has replaced Bill Frindall following Frindall's death in 2009. The producer from 1973 to June 2007 was Peter Baxter
Peter Baxter
Peter Baxter was a producer for BBC radio, in particular he was for 34 years the organising brain behind Test Match Special.-Career:Baxter joined the BBC in September 1965 after a spell in British Forces Broadcasting....

 who was also a capable commentator himself. He succeeded Michael Tuke-Hastings, and on his retirement was succeeded by Adam Mountford. Shilpa Patel has been assistant producer since the 1990s. Alison Mitchell
Alison Mitchell
Alison Mitchell is an English sports broadcaster. She is a reporter for Test Match Special, and a reporter and commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live and Five Live Sports Extra.-Early life:...

 reports from the boundary, doing interviews and features.

Light-hearted style


TMS has always had a distinctively irreverent style. Whilst it takes its role of describing and commenting on the action seriously, there has also been much light relief. Brian Johnston, who was as happy on the stage and working in light entertainment presentation as he was in the commentary box, was the master of this style which on occasion could lead to hilarity in the box, most notably on one occasion in August 1991 at The Oval
The Oval
The Kia Oval, still commonly referred to by its original name of The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth. In the past it was also sometimes called the Kennington Oval...

 when Agnew referred to Ian Botham
Ian Botham
Sir Ian Terence Botham OBE is a former England Test cricketer and Test team captain, and current cricket commentator. He was a genuine all-rounder with 14 centuries and 383 wickets in Test cricket, and remains well-known by his nickname "Beefy"...

's dismissal "hit wicket
Hit wicket
Hit wicket is a method of dismissal in the sport of cricket. This method of dismissal is governed by Law 35 of the laws of cricket. The striker is out "hit wicket" if, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride and while the ball is in play, his wicket is put down by his bat or his person...

" as Botham "just couldn't quite get his leg over!" This remark led to the total collapse of both in a fit of giggles (which was followed quickly by Johnston's giggle-affected chastening, "Aggers do stop it!") This clip has become a broadcasting classic and is frequently replayed. In 2005 Radio 5 Live listeners voted it the greatest sporting commentary of all time, receiving ten times as many votes as 'they think it's all over
They think it's all over
They think it's all over is a well known quotation and football chant popular in England. It is taken from Kenneth Wolstenholme's BBC TV commentary in the closing moments of the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, where England beat West Germany 4–2 after extra time to win the FIFA World Cup.Soon after the...

'. More recent example of double entendres was when Aggers was commentating about England batsman Kevin Pietersen replacing a bat rubber talking about the process of rolling it down the handle and leaving Vaughan having to deadpan admit he was no good at putting a rubber on, before eventually collapsing in a fit of giggles .

Other Johnners' classics include, "There's Neil Harvey standing at leg-slip with his legs wide apart, waiting for a tickle," and, "...and Ward bowls to Glenn Turner, short, ooh! and it catches him high up on the, er, thigh. That really must have hurt as he's doubled over in pain. I remember when..." and after 2 minutes of typical Johnners fill, he continued, "Well, he's bravely going to carry on ... but he doesn't look too good. One ball left."

Listeners' letters and emails are often read out on air. Brian Johnston was once taken to task by a schoolmistress correspondent, pretending indignation, for saying during a West Indies Test commentary: "The bowler's Holding
Michael Holding
Michael Anthony Holding is a former West Indian cricketer. One of the fastest bowlers ever to play Test cricket, he was nicknamed 'Whispering Death' by umpires due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease...

, the batsman's Willey
Peter Willey
Peter Willey is a former English cricketer, who played as a right-handed batsman and right-arm offbreak bowler. In and out of the England team, he interrupted his international career for three years by taking part in the first of the England players' South African rebel tours in 1982...

." However on this occasion he was innocent.

Whilst the levity in the commentary box has reduced somewhat since Johnners' death there is still a recognition that no matter how seriously fans may take their cricket it is, after all, only a game. Po-faced commentary is not TMSs way. Not every listener is happy with Henry Blofeld's continuous references to buses, pigeons and aeroplanes, but most feel that the programme would be the poorer without him for all his eccentricities. "Blowers" and other unique voices became customary impersonations for comedians such as Rory Bremner
Rory Bremner
Roderick "Rory" Keith Ogilvy Bremner, FKC is a Scottish impressionist, playwright and comedian, noted for his work in political satire...

.

One of
TMSs specialities is to keep talking through rain delays. It is taken as a matter of pride that even if play is interrupted for an hour or more (sometimes much more) then the commentators will keep on talking. John Arlott was a master at talking even when nothing much was happening and still keeping listeners entertained. He once spoke uninterrupted for twenty minutes and kept everyone spellbound describing the covers being removed at Lord's. A long established tradition is the interviewing of a special guest during the Saturday lunch break, on one occasion this led to Brian Johnston chatting with actor Bill Pertwee
Bill Pertwee
William Desmond Anthony Pertwee MBE is a British comedy actor. He is best known for playing the part of antagonist ARP Warden Hodges in the popular sitcom Dad's Army.-Early and personal life:...

 for 90 minutes as rain delayed the start of the afternoon session.

The TMS box has many visitors during a day's play and these visitors keep returning despite the leg pulls. Mike Gatting
Mike Gatting
Michael "Mike" William Gatting OBE is a former English cricketer, who played first-class cricket for Middlesex and for England from 1977 to 1995, captaining the national side in twenty-three Test matches between 1986 and 1988...

's alleged gluttony is one of the many running themes — "Better get our lunch before Gatt arrives" is a typical remark. The main butt of practical jokes is Henry Blofeld who fails to spot a "wind up" even if it is staring him in the face.

Freddie Trueman was a great defender of the purity of the game and made frequent references to it requiring a 'side on' stance for success. A letter read out from a 'listener' said that he had been dropped by his club side because he had fully adopted Freddie's advice and had 'played side on' as a wicket keeper; Freddie did not see the funny side.

During the series between New Zealand and England in 1999 the Kiwi guest commentator frequently made fun of the names of places mentioned in the shipping forecast
Shipping Forecast
The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

 that interrupts commentary on R4 LW. When he was off air during the 3rd test Aggers asked listeners to send in any information that they could find to assist his colleague in understanding it, contributions were received by the sack load.

Concern about BBC Sport's commitment to maintaining the tone and style of the programme after its 50th anniversary led to an Early Day Motion
Early day motion
An Early Day Motion , in the Westminster system, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament for debate "on an early day" . Controversial EDMs are not signed by Government Ministers, PPS or the Speaker of the House of Commons and very few are debated on the floor...

 being tabled in Parliament by Andrew George MP in June 2007.

Cakes


Brian Johnston started the fad of the public sending cakes to the commentary box. In Johnston's day they were chocolate cake
Chocolate cake
Chocolate cake is a cake flavored with melted chocolate or cocoa powder.-History:Chocolate cake is made with chocolate; it can be made with other ingredients, as well. These ingredients include fudge, vanilla creme, and other sweeteners. The history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr...

s, whereas now fruit cakes seem to be more popular. Indeed, the Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 herself reportedly had a fruit cake baked for the TMS team. She said that it was baked "under close supervision" by her following Jonathan Agnew's light hearted questioning of her as to whether she might have baked it herself. Henry Blofeld is reported to have said that it contained a goodly portion of "Royal brandy". The fondness for cakes spun off into hosting the "Tea Lady of the Year" competition for a couple of seasons, in which the TMS team sampled teas usually prepared for club cricket matches — sometimes by male tea "ladies"! Recently, in England's 2006 Second Test against Sri Lanka, Henry "Blowers" Blofeld was sent a Banbury Cake
Banbury cakes
A Banbury cake is a spiced, currant-filled, flat pastry cake similar to an Eccles cake, although it is more oval in shape. Once made and sold exclusively in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England, Banbury cakes have been made in the region to secret recipes since 1586 or earlier and there they are still...

, containing real Indian sultana
Sultana (grape)
The sultana is a type of white, seedless grape assumed to originate from the Turkish, Greek, or Iranian area...

s, much to the amusement of everyone involved.

Beards


Beards have become a recurring theme during TMS commentary, under the supervision of "Bearders" himself — scorer and statistician. The TMS team receive sporadic missives from Keith Flett
Keith Flett
Keith Flett is a socialist historian and a prolific letter writer in the British press.-Activities:Letters from "Keith Flett, London N17" are regularly published in the press, literary and political journals, advancing his favoured causes of socialism and the Beard Liberation Front...

, social historian, serial newspaper letter writer and chairman of the Beard Liberation Front
Beard Liberation Front
The Beard Liberation Front is a British interest group which campaigns in support of beards and opposes discrimination against those who wear them. It was founded in 1995 by socialist historian Keith Flett who continues to organise and represent the organisation...

, a group dedicated to the removal of a societal prejudice against the facially follically enhanced or bearded. Flett offers his opinions on the state of beards in the game today and his views are frequently discussed on TMS, particularly by Jonathan Agnew, including transformations in the recent and bygone Pakistan cricketers, and most recently with regards to the "splendidly hirsute" Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar
Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, known as Monty Panesar , is an English cricketer who currently plays for Sussex. A left-arm spinner, Panesar played Test and one-day cricket for England until 2009. In English county cricket he played for Northamptonshire until 2009...

.
Bill Frindall
Bill Frindall
William Howard Frindall, MBE was an English cricket scorer and statistician. He was familiar to cricket followers from his appearances on the BBC Radio 4 programme Test Match Special, nicknamed the Bearded Wonder by Brian Johnston for his ability to research the most obscure cricketing facts in...

 was announced "Beard of the Year" winner in 2008.

Charity


There is a tradition that every Saturday of a home Test match the commentators wear a Primary Club
Primary Club
The Primary Club, started in 1955, is a charity based in Essex, England, that raises money to provide sports and recreational facilities for the visually impaired....

 tie. Membership of the Primary Club is available to anybody who has been out
Dismissal (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, a dismissal occurs when the batsman is out . Colloquially, the fielding team is also said to have snared, bagged or captured a wicket. At this point a batsman must discontinue batting and leave the field permanently for the innings...

 first ball
Duck (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, a duck refers to a batsman's dismissal for a score of zero.-Origin of the term:The term is a shortening of the term "duck's egg", the latter being used long before Test cricket began...

 (a "golden duck") in any form of cricket. Proceeds are donated to a charity for blind and partially sighted cricketers.

View from the Boundary


This is a regular Saturday lunchtime feature during home Test Matches, in which guests from all walks of life are interviewed about their love of cricket as well as their own sphere of activity. In the early years of the feature, the interviewer was usually Brian Johnston. Nowadays most interviews are conducted by Jonathan Agnew. Guests have included Lily Allen
Lily Allen
Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper , better known as Lily Allen, is an English recording artist and fashion designer. She is the daughter of actor and musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. In her teenage years, her musical tastes evolved from glam rock to alternative...

 who has been interviewed twice and has stated a preference for the longer test forms of the game during her first interview on View from the Boundary., Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe is an English actor who rose to prominence playing the titular character in the Harry Potter film series....

 whom in Agnews books Thanks Johnners was interviewed on his 18th birthday at the Lord's test in 2007 after being hunted down by Shilpa Patel TmMMS's long standing assistant producer in 2007 and proceeded to give a fascinating interview with Agnew over lunch.

During the Ashes test in 2009 at Lords, Patel also succeeded in attracting the Australian actor Russell Crowe into the TMS box while his cousin the former Kiwi test cricketer Jeff Crowe
Jeff Crowe
Jeffrey John Crowe is a former New Zealand cricketer. He is the son of Dave Crowe and elder brother of Martin Crowe. They are cousins of Oscar winning actor, Russell Crowe....

 was serving as the Match Referee at this test causing Agnew to remark "that we have been joined by the cousin of the match referee" live on air. Also the current Prime Minister David Cameron has been interviewed twice on View from the Boundary, once when serving as the Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition and as recent as Prime Minister.

Champagne Moment


At the end of each test match, the commentators vote for their favourite special moment in the match, and the player involved wins a bottle of Veuve Clicquot
Veuve Clicquot
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is both a champagne house in Reims, France, and a brand of premium champagne. Founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, Veuve Clicquot played an important role in establishing champagne as a favored drink of haute bourgeoisie and nobility throughout Europe...

 champagne. Examples include a personal milestone for a player, such as a century or 5 wicket haul, a dramatic celebration, or a spectacular piece of fielding, wicket or shot.

Criticism


In 2008 Mike Selvey
Mike Selvey
Mike Selvey is an English former Test and county cricketer, and now a cricket writer and commentator. Selvey played in three Tests for England between 1976 and 1977...

 was "asked to leave" TMS after making comment regarding the shift towards "laddish" commentators such as Arlo White
Arlo White
Arlo White is an English sports presenter and commentator, originally from Leicester.-Early career:He began broadcasting at the age of 27, after gaining experience covering non-league Football for Radio Derby and also while travelling in Australia....

 and Mark Pougatch
Mark Pougatch
Mark Pougatch is a freelance radio and television broadcaster, a journalist and author who works mainly as a sports presenter for the BBC.-Early life:...

 who have "little knowledge of the game, especially of the cadences of Test Match cricket", a shift in dynamic by current producer Adam Mountford. This sentiment has been echoed by many of his contemporaries and the wider cricket community in general.

External links