Test Match Special is back to hopefully uncork another vintage summer. The First Test Match was from Lords last week between England and the West Indies, and the second Test starts at Trent Bridge today.
Listen to the art of radio on Radio 4 (198kHz long wave) and BBC Radio 5 Live Extra (DAB) from around 0930 UTC and also on Line and Length to the West Indies. Online as well at the BBC.
A sign of the times is being able to follow many of the commentators and fellow fans on Twitter. Scorer Malcolm Ashton is at @TMSscorer and other TMS accounts include:
But cricket is secondary to the commentators'observations and talk. Always starting with cricket, it can soon wander off into all realms of wonderment. Henry Blofeld, Blowers, is in fine form, the Old Etonian making a good duo at the mike with chirpy north Londoner Phil Tufnell (Tuffers). A conversation on Matron giving Blowers barley sugars after injections was a classic interlude last week; the social contrast between these two highlights that the class divide in Britain is still very much alive, although often able to rub along side by side in fine fettle.
Aggers (Jonathan Agnew) is a calm public school voice. The former Leicestershire and England bowler leads the commentary charge these days in the TMS Box. Besides him is often the curmudgeonly Geoffrey Boycott, Yorkshire and England stalwart, who could happily have spent all five days of a Test Match grinding out a century, back in the day. His biting comments and commonsense approach to cricket are often obvious but usually true. Sadly missing is CMJ, Christopher Martin-Jenkins who is battling cancer.
The guest commentators in the box this series include the legendary Viv Richards who must be as popular on these shores as his own. As ever when the Windies are touring, Tony Cozier is the Windies' radio voice. A white Barbadian and former cricketer who has been commentating for decades- since 1965 in fact. A typical jolly jape in the commentary box occured on Test Match Special during the 4th England v West Indies Test match in 2007. Cozier began to read out a letter from a Mexican listener called "Juan Kerr" until Aggers stopped him...
Others often covering the cricket include Alison Mitchell, Mike Selvey, Vic Marks, Simon Mann and Michael Vaughan. Hopefully we will also hear Barbadian lawyer and commentator Donna Symmonds who usually makes it into the TMS box on a Windies tour of England.