BBC can’t keep their minds on the Test Match

I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy your lovin’ is all I think about
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy it’s more than I dare to think about

I have been reduced to listening to BBC online for my Test match fix, and what’s astonished me about the broadcast is how hard the TMS team are finding it to keep their minds on the job. At the drop of a hat they are musing on the Ashes battles ahead. One darn fool idiot (it could be Foxy Fowler) told CMJ just now that McGrath doesn’t like bowling to left handers. That might be news to Brian Lara, for just one.

It’s noticable because I’ve been used to listen to South African and Asian as well as Australian broadcasters the last nine months, and while the Ashes have been mentioned, it isn’t as noticable as it is with the English media.

BBC close Test Match Special messageboard

Just blogged this at the Surfer, and am posting it here very briefly – will comment on it later in the week when I have time, but it’s fairly big news. The BBC’s cricket messageboard, Test Match Special, has been closed due to a torrent of racist comments. The Times has more. Thoughts?

Aye up, and “Shot, boy”

Two abiding memories of this summer’s Ashes, for me, are from Geoff Boycott. “Shot, boy, shot,” to Andrew Flintoff’s straight-drive. And “Out. Out. No-ball, No-ball! Oooh, bad luck you Aussies!” when Glenn McGrath (yes – him) non-bowled Michael Vaughan.

So it’s excellent news to hear the miserable git par excellence has joined the BBC’s commentary team on Test Match Special, for England’s tour of Pakistan. Hurrah. Go for it, Boycs!

The most important Test for 52 years

Scyld Berry:

If there has been a more important Test match in living memory than the one scheduled to start at Trent Bridge on Thursday, it can only be the Oval Test of 1953, when England regained the Ashes after 19 years, an even longer interlude than the current one of 16 years.

As if the pressure on both teams wasn’t already enough! There is some fabulous stuff in the press today:

Scyld’s article on why England can reverse the Ashes trend.

Mike Atherton, whose articles I always enjoy, writes a light-hearted but revealingly clever piece on Ponting and Vaughan:

I’m not looking forward to confirming the news tomorrow morning [Gillespie missing out on selection] – it could be the end of his Test career.

Maybe I’ll let Merv tell him – the fat b****** has to do something for his money. Who voted him in as a selector anyway?

Cricket v Football at The Observer.

A very long, not particularly revealing but ultimately enjoyable interview with Simon Jones in The Sunday Times.

Another excellent writer and commentator, Vic Marks, says in his Guardian column:

Brett Lee acknowledged: ‘We are happy to come away with a draw.’ When did we last hear Australia so relieved, so ecstatic to avoid defeat in an Ashes Test?

Mike Selvey, Marks’ TMS colleague, has been trying to escape from Ashes Central, but failed. In his article, he said he even tried listening to the White Stripes’ album Elephant – but even this thwarted his attempts to get away from the game:

To avoid the chatter [on the plane] I turned on my iPod – the White Stripes’ Elephant would be a good safe haven I thought – and what did I hear? “Waking up for breakfast, burning matches, talking cricket” on There’s No Home for You Here and “It’s quite possible that I’m your third man” on Ball and Biscuit

Funnily enough, I too thought once thought those were the lyrics (“burning matches, talking cricket”) but my mate corrected me, almost in disgust at my obsession with the game. Apparently it’s “Burning matches, talking quickly.” Still sounds like “cricket,” if you ask me.

There’s lots, lots more besides which I’ve no doubt missed, but that lot ought to keep you honest for the time being. This lull in the Tests has been strangely uncomfortable, almost like when you walk to the next ride and find it’s crap, after going on a 100mph rollercoaster. The tumbleweed has been, well, tumbling – but I’m getting that familiar, nervous excitement returning to the pit of my stomach. It’s 1-1, guys and girls – and it’s about to kick off again in just four days time!