News The tone in the Sky Sports commentary box these days is like a dressing-room banter free-for-all

The first session of the First Test has often proved a pivotal passage of play in Ashes series Down Under. Even the first ball; Steve Harmison’s wide to second slip in 2006, or Michael Slater smashing Phil DeFreitas through cover point for four in 1994. It tends to “set the tone”, as the pundits like to say – and the tone in the Sky Sports commentary box these days is like a dressing-room banter free-for-all.

A Lordly look at two very different eras

BOOK OF THE WEEK; Lord Ted - The Dexter Enigma by Alan Lee (Vista, pounds 6.99)

The end is nigh for Illingworth

One way or another, the end is nigh for Raymond Illingworth's turbulent reign as the godfather of English cricket. Within the next 36 hours, Gerard Elias QC, the chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board's disciplinary committee, is due to announce whether the unseemly row over Illingworth's forthcoming book should lead to a charge of bringing the game into disrepute against the chairman of selectors. Elias was at Old Trafford yesterday, meeting the principals in the drama.

Sport on TV : Unsporting guest and limited torque show

There is tough competition for the title of Most Annoying Entity in Televised Sport. A strong case can be made for Terry Wogan in his latest simpering incarnation fronting Auntie's Sporting Bloomers. Bellowing John McCririck should have the racing vote pretty well sewn up, and Charles Colvile will be similarly unopposed in the cricket category. But one character gets further up the nose than any of his rivals. For sheer boot-through- the-screen irritation-value, Kriss Akabusi is your man.

Botham beaten but Gooch joins panel

Cricket

Botham or Bolus? A poll that does not matter

CRICKET'S SELECTION ELECTION: By throwing headline-making names into the field, the counties have drawn the spotlight away from their own responsibilities in developing players, argues Graeme Wright

Amiss backing Botham

Cricket

`Put Botham in charge'

Cricket

Derbyshire keep faith with Botham

Derbyshire underlined their support for Ian Botham as a prospective England selector yesterday and dismissed suggestions that they are waging a campaign against Raymond Illingworth, the current chairman of selectors, because of his treatment of Devon Malcolm on the tour of South Africa.

LEADING ARTICLE : No longer bowled over by the old fogeys

The worms are turning. From the Law Society to the Test and County Cricket Board, insiders are running scared. Out there, at the grass roots, outsiders are banging on the doors. A vacancy on the selection committee for England's cricket team has called forth nine candidates, among them Ian Botham; there is no precedent for the election that now has to take place. This weekend, solicitors are consulting barristers about the legality of moves to oust the entire council of the Law Society. It turns out legal revolution is a lot easier to engineer than anyone thought. Will Carling's immortal phrase rings in the air. The old farts are again under assault. Deference is on the run.

You'd be mad to do it, Beefy; PROFILE: Ian Botham

Why a great England cricketer would make a terrible England selector. By Robert Winder

Lloyd in line as Illingworth ends dual role

Cricket

Pros and cons: four in the frame to coach England

Ian Botham

Champagne moment for cricket fans as Johnners' bats, caps and ties go on sale

Sarah Jane Checkland previews the auction of revered commentator Brian Johnston's memorabilia

Graveney may bank on Barclay

Cricket

High stakes on pride in prejudice

W illiam Webb Ellis and Eddie Waring are having a sporting celestial wager on the outcome. Bath versus Wigan may be a commercial gimmick, but will those who are interested in the result please raise their hands? Thought so. Just in case you missed it, a forest of arms shot up throughout the country.
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