On the Front Foot: Agnew caught in the crossfire of ball-by-ball commentary war

 

What fun at The Cricketer, the world's oldest cricket magazine.

Venerable it may be, but to move with the times and, as the vogue expression goes, to get down and dirty with the kids they have acquired the online commentary service Test Match Sofa. This is presumably intended to lend street credibility, not something that overly concerned Sir Pelham Warner, player, writer, selector and administrator when he founded the magazine in 1921.

Unfortunately, one of The Cricketer's modern directors is Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent and the sonorous, reassuring voice of Test Match Special. While TM Sofa is no more than a so-called rival – mildly irreverent, faintly diverting and nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is – its acquisition presents a conflict for Agnew. As it might for other luminaries of The Cricketer also associated with TM Special such as Vic Marks, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Simon Hughes.

So far, so polite, a matter of mere commerce in the post- modern media. But now the feisty new editor of The Cricketer, Andrew Miller, has taken to the social networks babbling about the delights of his new baby.

"Test Match Sofa – the alternative cricket commentary," he writes. "Forget Aggers, this is up-to-the-minute, ball-by-ball coverage by cricket fans, for cricket fans."

As of yesterday, Agnew et al were still registered on the (excellent) website of The Cricketer as columnists. Presumably it cannot go on, and Plum Warner may have turned in his grave.

T20 stars young at heart

There was great excitement at the fact that only two England players in the first Twenty20 match against Pakistan were over 30. Graeme Swann was the oldest at 32 (33 in Sri Lanka next month), Kevin Pietersen is 31.

But the average age of the team was still above 26, much older than the team that appeared against West Indies at The Oval on 25 September last year (and also lost), whose average age was only 24.46. The oldest batsman in the top five that evening was Ravi Bopara at 26 and 144 days.

It was still younger than England's youngest Test team, 26 years and 95 days, which appeared at Mohali in March 2006. The youngest international team of all were fielded by Zimbabwe in a one-day international against South Africa in February 2005, a barely-out-of-nappies 20 years, 205 days.

Let's hear it for all that Jazz

It is always a bone of contention in sport about how much publicity should be given to sponsors. The tendency is not to append the sponsor's name to a ground on the basis that another one will be along in a year or so.

The Oval for instance now has its fourth commercial prefix. When whole teams are named after sponsors, as they are in South Africa, making it impossible to determine their geographical location (the New Age Impi anyone?) it becomes trickier.

The sponsors of the series in the UAE between England and Pakistan may feel they have not entirely had their money's worth. Each of the three formats has been played under the same banner and a new trophy has been forged for Tests, ODIs and T20s. The official name of each is the Bank of Alfalah Presents the Mobilink Jazz Cup.

Openers forever in blue jeans

The new batting sensation on the block is South Africa's Richard Levi, who last week scored the fastest international Twenty20 hundred, from 45 balls, and made the joint highest score of 117no with 13 sixes.

As David Stewart points out, it was as well he has not followed the path of some of his compatriots and chosen to play for England. "The ECB commercial department would have been beside themselves at the prospect of him opening with the England Test captain." Indeed.

Levi and Strauss would doubtless have been expected to bat in blue jeans.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect