Jonathan Agnew: why the banter of Test Match Special beats “boring” over-prepared commentators

The BBC's cricket commentator says he does little preparation – and his coverage is all the better for it

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Notes and stats are just blather that keep you from the action says Jonathan Agnew, who says he does little preparation for Test Match Special commentary.

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The BBC’s cricket correspondent says he avoids arriving at a cricket match with piles of notes, instead relying on TMS’s seemingly endless capacity for wit and anecdote to see him through a day’s play.

“I look at some young commentators who sit down with piles of notes, and of course, what are you going to do if you’ve spent hours preparing all this stuff? You’re going to bloody well read it out. Boring! Get out there and say what you see and tell stories about what you’ve been up to,” Agnew says in the latest issue of Radio Times.

“You’ve got to be on top of things, but you can’t communicate when you’ve got your head buried in stats,” he adds.

Agnew does admit he gets caught out occasionally, saying that not getting a chance to watch county cricket means he isn’t always aware of England’s next generation.

“You can’t now do county and international cricket and have a life,” he explains. “And I feel uncomfortable about that because people you haven’t seen do come up. I hadn’t seen [new England star] Mark Wood bowl. But you’ve only got three days between Test matches.”

And why worry about swatting up when you have Geoffrey Boycott to wind up instead?

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Read the interview with Test Match Special’s Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott in the latest issue of Radio Times, in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 21st July