The Cricket Tier


The Cricket Social

The Cricket Social will stream on the BBC Sport website and app, and feature the likes of Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan, James Anderson, Ebony Rainford Brent, Phil Tufnell and Andy Zaltzman discussing the latest news, action and results from Sri Lanka.                                                        

The Cricket Social: a new online show from TMS
TMS is launching a new online-only show during England’s tour of Sri Lanka.


Beginning on Wednesday 10 October as England take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the tour, The Cricket Social is an interactive show that will complement BBC Sport’s regular live text service and allow the audience to get directly involved in the coverage.

The Cricket Social is just one of the ways fans will be able to follow England’s tour to Sri Lanka across BBC Sport. There will also be live updates from reporters at the matches in Sri Lanka on BBC Radio 5 Live and other outlets.

Each day’s action will then be rounded up in the definitive TMS Podcast with Jonathan Agnew and Michael Vaughan.

Ben Gallop, Head of BBC Radio and Digital Sport, said: “We know how popular the BBC Sport website is as a way for fans to follow the cricket. We want to build on that and we’re delighted our new show, the Cricket Social, will give fans a chance to hear their favourite TMS broadcasters, like Aggers and Michael Vaughan, give their expert view on England’s tour of Sri Lanka and take part in discussions around all the big issues in the sport.”

Test Match Special is the home of cricket on the radio. It has exclusive commentary rights to all of England’s home internationals through until at least 2024 and all ICC events until at least 2023, including the Cricket World Cup next summer.

TMS also has rights for the next three Ashes series, both home and away, and England’s 2019 tour of New Zealand.

Every ball of the County Championship is broadcast on the BBC and Test Match Special provides extensive coverage of women’s cricket including the ICC Women’s World T20 in November, the Women’s Ashes next summer and the KSL.

The Cricket Social will stream on the BBC Sport website and app from Wednesday 10th October. Download the TMS Podcast here:


Basil D'Oliveira receives Freedom of City

When I saw the headline below that Basil D'Oliveira was to receive the freedom of the city it brought a smile to my face. Ten years ago it wouldn't have. As ten years ago I had no idea about Basil D'Oliveira's history and what he'd been through, but then six or seven years ago I read Peter Osborne's brilliant book.              

Cricket legend Basil D'Oliveira to receive posthumous Freedom of City

I lent Oborne's outstanding biography off my friend's dad and reading how Basil D'Oliveira's life brought together sport, politics and race was extraordinary. Along with how a black South African defied incredible odds to play cricket for England against racial prejudice, both in South Africa and right here in England. Now I here the below:

"The Freedom of the City of Worcester will be posthumously awarded to local cricketing legend Basil D'Oliveira CBE, at a red carpet ceremony to be held at the Guildhall (High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY) on the evening of Friday 14 September.

The Mayor, Cllr Jabba Riaz, will present the Freedom of the City Certificate to Shaun D’Oliveira, son of the legendary cricketer – and a permanent inscribed plaque will be unveiled in the Guildhall.

The accolade will be made 50 years after the so-called D'Oliveira Affair, which prompted a sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

Cllr Riaz said: “Basil D’Oliveira became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, linking Worcestershire cricket to international politics in the process.  Millions of people around the world owe him a debt of gratitude – it will be a great honour to posthumously award the Freedom of the City of Worcester to his family.”

Basil D’Oliveira was of Indian-Portugese descent and was born into a Catholic family in South Africa in 1931. A keen cricketer from an early age, he played in South Africa’s national non-white team before emigrating to England in 1960. He joined Worcestershire County Cricket Club in 1964 and was first selected for the England team in 1966.

In 1968 the England team was due to play in a tour of South Africa. D’Oliveira was initially not selected because of South Africa’s apartheid rules. However, there was national outrage in the British press and D’Oliveira was then called up to the England squad. South Africa responded by cancelling the tour.

The D'Oliveira Affair was a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa. It led to a dramatic turn in international opinion against the South African regime and is credited as being a landmark on the road to the eventual fall of apartheid in the early 1990s."


All Out For Cricket in The City 2018

All Out For Cricket in The City is happening once again this year – and we here at The Cricket Tier are thrilled to let you know it is and support it once again ourselves. Please find all the information for the event below:                                                                           

Date: 3rd September 2018

Time: 9.30am

Location: The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in Moorgate, London

Guests will watch six teams battle it out in a round-robin T6 tournament in the heart of London, whilst enjoying entertaining commentary and drinks in the sunshine. Set in the beautiful grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company near Moorgate, with cricketing stars on hand to help our teams, All Out For Cricket in The City is not to be missed by any cricket fan!


Now in its seventh year, All Out For Cricket in The City returns as a daytime only event, meaning more time out on the pitch!

Our all-star commentary team
Listen to enjoyable commentary from comedian Andy Zaltzman, TV Broadcaster and Journalist Henry Kelly, actor Tim Downie, author Ross Armstrong, and alternative commentary provider and official radio broadcasters for Ireland's inaugural Test Match against Pakistan, 'bonkers but brilliant', Guerilla Cricket.

Andy Zaltzman is one of Britain’s leading satirical comedians and cult cricket writer of He is one half of the hit topical podcast The Bugel, which appears regularly on BBC radio and has firmly established himself in the vanguard of British comedy with his unique brand of political satire. 

Henry Kelly is famed as the face of TV shows like Going For Gold and Game For A Laugh. He’s coined the catchphrases “What am I?” and “Now you’re playing catchup!” and is guaranteed to bring his sharp mind to our commentary team. 

Tim Downie made his feature film debut in the Oscar and BAFTA-winning King's Speech as the Duke of Gloucester, followed by films including Les Miserables and Paddington Bear. On TV he has worked extensively in comedy shows such as Toast of London, Peep Show and Miranda and will bring wit and humour to the day. 

Ross Armstrong is The Sunday Times bestselling author of The Watcher. Ross has also featured in the films Turn On, Mr Selfridge and Invisible Eyes.Ross will no doubt provide some informative commentary.

'Bonkers but brilliant' Guerilla Cricket will provide 'revolutionary cricket commentary' like you've never heard before. 

Adult spectator tickets are £20, children's (aged 3-16 years) are £8, or guests can purchase an 'All out for 100' ticket and enjoy a BBQ lunch, cream tea in the afternoon and unlimited drinks package* for £100 per person.

*Unlimited drinks package from 12 – 6.30pm. Lager, red wine, white wine and soft drinks available. Over 18s only.

Tickets now on sale for All Out For Cricket in The City!
Join us on Monday 3 September at The Honourable Artillery Company near Moorgate, London, to watch six teams battle it out in a round-robin T6 tournament whilst you enjoy entertaining commentary and drinks in the sunshine. Listen to commentary from comedian Andy Zaltzman, TV Broadcaster and journalist Henry Kelly, actor Tim Downie, author Ross Armstrong and 'bonkers but brilliant', Guerilla Cricket. Tickets start at just £20. For more information or to buy your tickets click here, call 020 7638 4066 or email

Virat Kohli’s England run drought – in numbers

Virat Kohli has thrived all around the world in Test cricket – except England. As the Indian captain prepares for his return to English soil, for the Test series starting tomorrow, research from StarPick shows just how badly he struggled on India’s 2014 tour – and how he’ll need to improve this time around.           

The Indian skipper has struggled in English conditions –
but is this the series where he puts those issues to bed?

Kohli averaged just 13.40 across those five Tests four years ago, with a high score of just 39. This is in sharp contrast to his record outside of England, where he averages a heady 57.65 from 61 matches.

The 2014 tour was an unhappy one all round for Kohli, who saw his country fall to a 3-1 defeat, losing the final two Tests by an innings. In unfavourable conditions, the tourists were destroyed by the swinging ball, with player of the series Jimmy Anderson picking up 25 wickets.

Anderson has certainly had the wood over Kohli personally, dismissing him five times in Test cricket – more than any English player. All five of those wickets have been caught behind, showing the Indian skipper’s struggles outside off stump against the veteran seamer – something Anderson will hope continues this summer.

However, after a long hot summer in the UK, things may be different this time around. Conditions are likely to be far more familiar for Kohli and India, and with the sun out, the pitches could play more like Bangalore than Birmingham.

Kohli, who has averaged 53.40 across his career, (and 109.16 on England’s tour of India in 2016/17) will certainly hope to conquer his personal final frontier, and lead his side to their first series victory in England since 2007.

Rohit Nair, StarPick co-founder, said: “Virat Kohli’s struggles in England are well known – but this could be the summer where that all changes. If the clouds stay away, even the talents of Jimmy Anderson may find it difficult to get the ball to swing, which should be good news for the Indian tourists – and their captain, especially.

“Kohli certainly looks a better player now than he did four years ago, and he’ll be going all out to improve his record in England, and stamp his mark as the world’s best batsman.”


'not The Spin' fanzine

I've never really read much about the thoughts of Lancashire Cricket Club fans about their own team, but to be honest it's not actually something I thought I was missing in my life. I've read other general cricket magazines along with match reports on websites and I've listened to numerous pundits on the television give their opinion.         

Then I heard there was a Lancs fanzine, excellent I thought.

I've chatted to people in work about cricket of course, well those that would. Nearly everyone is a football fan, a few have opinions on the England cricket team and International cricket, but specific thoughts on LCCC? Hardly anything. I've only really had the pleasure of chatting domestic cricket and Lancs cricket with two, sometimes three people over the years.

I can still remember the day two of us were in the office of around fifty people on the day Lancashire finally won their first County Championship title in 77 years. We were the only ones with any interest and we followed it all day ball by ball on our laptops as the scored ticked over and the tension was intense. When we actually mentioned it to others what was going on, I'd have got more conversion out of people if I'd mentioned the weather.

Anyway, so when I heard about Lancs Action Group on Twitter I was intrigued and started to follow their updates, it was great to hear how open and honest their opinions of the club were and of course how the team on the field were doing too.

Clearly they have more knowledge of the ins and outs of the club than myself, but I wanted to know more. When I then heard they also had a fanzine to read I had to get myself one. The only other fanzine I read regularly is that of United We Stand (UWS), the Manchester United one which I've been reading for years, so why not a Lancs CCC one?

Now, no one wants to see their team or club criticised, but when it comes from genuine fans that want the best for their club and for their fellow Lancs fans, I can understand it. The same when they're praising the team and individuals on their performances, it's generally just good to hear different views and to get that little bit more of an opinion which allows myself then to pass judgement and decide what I think etc.

When the fanzine "not The Spin" arrived at my door fast and promptly I was pleased to see how good it looked and how thick it was. That surely could only mean thing, good content and I wasn't wrong.

There were five bold headlines on the front page about what was inside the fanzine and all five interested me, so I got straight into it. I'd never heard of the MRG, I didn't know Lancs member prices were so high compared to other counties around the country, but I did know how bad the catering facilities have been. Having experienced it at both Lancashire and England games over the years. This was all stuff I read about in the opening pages, so if you want a copy of the remaining few first editions then please get in touch with them here. Otherwise the second edition is out this Monday.

The first edition isn't just about the club though, I learned about what happened to the Bolton cricket league and what's happening now at Aigburth cricket ground, a ground I have watched Lancs play at before. I've not actually been to Old Trafford or a Lancashire game this season as yet though, but I do have tickets to go to some in the next month.

Anyway, get yourself a copy of "not The Spin" and you too can read the views and opinions of the various contributors to the fanzine, it's a great read and I shall definitely be purchasing the second edition.

To get in touch with the Lancs Action Group, you can contact them on Twitter at @lancscccaction or through their Facebook page at Lancashire Cricket Action Group where you can pay easily through direct banking or paypal.

The Doosra: A new BBC cricket podcast

A new cricket podcast from BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Asian Network features chat, debate and world-class special guests with a focus on the passionate South Asian cricketing community.

Presented by World Cup winning England Women’s player Isa Guha, passionate Pakistani fan and stand-up comedian Aatif Nawaz and host Ankur Desai.     

The Doosra: new BBC podcast talks cricket with a South Asian spin

The Doosra is launched as giants of the sport Pakistan and India tour the UK. As well as featuring other major sides like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, The Doosra will focus on emerging South Asian nations like Afghanistan and Nepal.

Each week, the presenting trio will be joined by a host of voices from the world of cricket, with IPL superstar Jos Buttler their special guest for the series pilot.

The first episode, now available online, features special guest Waqar Younis, the former Pakistani cricketer and coach regarded as one of the best bowlers of all time.

The Doosra team wants to hear from listeners. Get in touch with stories from the parks and pavilions that make up a major part of the British Cricket community using #bbcdoosra. 

A Doosra – in cricket terms a type of delivery by an off-spin bowler - is translated as ‘the other one’ in Hindi and Urdu.

The first episode is available via the BBC website:

Something always happens!? Eng v Pak

Joe Root has confirmed the team for the first Test Match vs Pakistan that starts tomorrow at Lords, with Dom Bess making his debut and Jos Buttler being recalled. England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (w), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Dom Bess.          

Then the Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c, w), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali, Saad Ali, Sami Aslam, Shadab Khan, Usman Salahuddin.

Something always happens when these two meet and there has been plenty of highlists over the years, whether it be controversies like match fixing, ball tampering, scuffing the pitch to outstanding matches and individual performances. Like England captain Joe Root's score of 254 back in 2016 at Old Trafford, which remains his highest test score.

Anyway, after a bad winter for England there is a few changes in their team, although under fire ex-captain Alastair Cook remains in the side to play in his 153rd consecutive match, which means he now equals Allan Border's record. Both Dawid Malan and Mark Stoneman also remain in the side and they will bat alongside Root, Bairstow and Stokes.

Somerset off break spinner Dom Bess comes in for his test debut to play alongside the pace bowlers of either Woakes, Wood, Broad and Anderson. Jos Buttler comes back into the side as a batsmen only to win his nineteenth cap after seventeen months of not being selected for the test side.

As well as the England vs Pakistan test series in the next month, there is also a test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka, as well as India playing Afghanistan in their inaugural test match.

MAY 2018

24 THU England v Pakistan at Lord's, 1st Test - day 1

25 FRI England v Pakistan at Lord's, 1st Test - day 2

26 SAT England v Pakistan at Lord's, 1st Test - day 3

27 SUN England v Pakistan at Lord's, 1st Test - day 4

28 MON England v Pakistan at Lord's, 1st Test - day 5

31 THU ICC World XI v West Indies T20I Match at Lord's, (night)

JUNE 2018

1 FRI England v Pakistan at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 1

2 SAT England v Pakistan at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 2

3 SUN England v Pakistan at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 3
Afghanistan v Bangladesh at Dehradun, 1st T20I (night)

4 MON England v Pakistan at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 4

5 TUE England v Pakistan at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 5
Afghanistan v Bangladesh at Dehradun, 2nd T20I (night)

6 WED West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, 1st Test - day 1

7 THU West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, 1st Test - day 2
Afghanistan v Bangladesh at Dehradun, 3rd T20I (night)

8 FRI West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, 1st Test - day 3

9 SAT West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, 1st Test - day 4

10 SUN West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, 1st Test - day 5
Scotland v England at Edinburgh, Only ODI

12 TUE Scotland v Pakistan at Edinburgh, 1st T20I
Netherlands v Ireland at Rotterdam, 1st T20I Match

13 WED Scotland v Pakistan at Edinburgh, 2nd T20I
England v Australia at The Oval, 1st ODI (day/night)
Netherlands v Ireland at Rotterdam, 2nd Match

14 THU India v Afghanistan at Bengaluru, Only Test - day 1
West Indies v Sri Lanka at Gros Islet, 2nd Test - day 1

15 FRI India v Afghanistan at Bengaluru, Only Test - day 2
West Indies v Sri Lanka at Gros Islet, 2nd Test - day 2

16 SAT India v Afghanistan at Bengaluru, Only Test - day 3
West Indies v Sri Lanka at Gros Islet, 2nd Test - day 3
England v Australia at Cardiff, 2nd ODI
Ireland v Scotland at Deventer, 3rd T20I Match

17 SUN India v Afghanistan at Bengaluru, Only Test - day 4
West Indies v Sri Lanka at Gros Islet, 2nd Test - day 4
Ireland v Scotland at Deventer, 4th T20I Match

18 MON India v Afghanistan at Bengaluru, Only Test - day 5
West Indies v Sri Lanka at Gros Islet, 2nd Test - day 5

19 TUE England v Australia at Nottingham, 3rd ODI (day/night)
Netherlands v Scotland at Amstelveen, 5th T20I Match

20 WED Netherlands v Scotland at Amstelveen, 6th T20I Match

21 THU England v Australia at Chester-le-Street, 4th ODI (day/night)

South Africa's Batting Woes Continue

Australia exposed South Africa's batting problems with a ruthless performance in Durban. The Baggy Greens ripped through the South African line-up with frightening ease. Reverse swing master Mitchell Starc wreaked havoc and had the hosts back in the changing room one after the other.                  

As good as the Australian bowlers were it was a painful reminder to the South African think tank. Their batting problems can no longer be swept under the carpet. South Africa's recent record with the willow makes for dismal reading. In their last 8 innings, they haven't scored over 350 and have failed to make over 200 on four occasions. Since Dale Benkenstein was named batting coach the Proteas batting has imploded. All confidence and self-belief have vanished.

Dumping all these problems at Benkenstein's door isn't necessarily fair. The former Durham batsman didn't set the world alight in the international arena. However, having a lengthy list of international accolades on a CV doesn't make a successful coach. International sport is full of players from lower levels becoming industry leaders. 

Benkenstein was thrown into the deep end with his first assignments against the world's best. If ever there was a baptism of fire, playing India and Australia would be it.  There is a case for giving him more time in the job given how much he would have learned over this tough period. Whether Cricket South Africa will continue to back him is unknown.

The calls for his head are beginning to get louder. A big response from the South African batsmen in the three remaining Tests is needed. That will ease the pressure on Benkenstein. The implosion at Kingsmead may have far-reaching circumstances in the series. After such a dominant display in Durban, the Aussies are now 2/5 to win the contest in the latest cricket odds. With South Africa staring down the barrel, their batsmen need to step up.

There were a few glimmers of hope in the 4th innings during the first Test. South Africa's young prodigy Markram scored a magnificent 143. Quinton de Kock's return to form with a brisk 83 will have fans of the Proteas believing again. De Kock's place at number 7 is a crucial one in the Proteas set-up. Comparisons have been made between him and Adam Gilchrist. If South Africa are to play themselves back into this series, de Kock will need to be at his destructive best. 

No team in the world exploits weaknesses quite like Australia. They hunt in packs, with the bowlers and batsman being equally as aggressive. Bowling to a South African lineup as short on confidence as this current one is an Australian dream.

The South African Test side has been renowned for bouncing back after heavy defeats. A strong mental fortitude runs deep within the Test side. A strong response is to be expected.

This particular series has the makings of a thrilling one. If South Africa put up a better fight with the bat, it could be an all-time classic. Aiden Markram’s hundred in a losing cause may be the catalyst for a Proteas revival.

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