Jonathan Agnew: Wikis


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Jonathan Agnew
Jonathan Agnew.jpg
Personal information
Full name Jonathan Philip Agnew
Born 4 April 1960 (1960-04-04) (age 49)
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Nickname Aggers (earlier Spiro)
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Right-arm fast
Role Bowler, commentator
International information
National side England
Test debut (cap 508) 9 August 1984 v West Indies
Last Test 6 August 1985 v Australia
ODI debut (cap 77) 23 January 1985 v India
Last ODI 17 February 1985 v Australia
Domestic team information
Years Team
1979 – 1992 Leicestershire
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODI FC LA
Matches 3 3 218 147
Runs scored 10 2 2108 335
Batting average 10.00 11.51 9.30
100s/50s 0/0 0/0 0/2 0/0
Top score 5 2* 90 26
Balls bowled 552 126 35388 6813
Wickets 4 3 666 158
Bowling average 93.25 40.00 29.25 29.26
5 wickets in innings 37 2
10 wickets in match n/a 6 n/a
Best bowling 2/51 3/38 9/70 5/30
Catches/stumpings 0/– 1/– 39/– 19/–
Source: Cricinfo, 5 August 2008

Jonathan Philip Agnew (nicknamed Aggers) is an English cricket broadcaster and former professional cricketer. He was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire on 4 April, 1960 and educated at Uppingham School.

Agnew had a successful first-class career as a fast bowler for Leicestershire, taking 666 wickets at an average of 29.25 and winning three Test caps for England.

Since retiring as a player, Agnew has become a cricket journalist across a variety of media, but most notably on radio, as a Test Match Special commentator and as a BBC radio cricket correspondent. An on-air incident in tandem with Brian Johnston has been voted "the greatest piece of sporting commentary ever" in a BBC poll.

He was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts (Hon DArt) by De Montfort University, Leicester in November 2008.


Playing career

Capable of bowling quickly in suitable conditions, Agnew made his first-class debut for Leicestershire in 1978 after impressing in local club cricket. He took 101 wickets for his county in the 1987 season. His best first-class bowling figures were 9 for 70 and he took six ten-wicket hauls in 218 matches.

He was selected as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1988 as reward for a fine season for Leicestershire, although by this stage his England career had ended after disappointing in the three Test matches and three One Day Internationals (ODIs) he had played in the mid-1980s. His last Test was only twelve months after his first and his last ODI was only one month after his first.

With his height and pace, he had useful attributes for a fast bowler. In his book 8 days a week (1988), Agnew gave his opinion that it was the huge workload faced by county fast bowlers during the 1980s that limited his international appearances and ended his career early; Agnew retired at the age of 30.[1]

In 1992, two years after Agnew retired, Leicestershire experienced an injury crisis before their NatWest Trophy semi-final against Essex. Agnew was called out of retirement and finished the match with figures of 12-2-31-1. Leicestershire won the match, but Agnew chose not to play in the final.[2]

Broadcasting career

Agnew began to gain experience as a journalist while still playing cricket, taking off-season employment with BBC Radio Leicester as a sports producer. After retiring at a relatively young age at the end of the 1990 season, he had a stint as cricket correspondent of Today, a short-lived national newspaper, before being appointed the BBC's cricket correspondent in 1991, though in 1992 he answered an emergency call to an injury-strapped Leicestershire and played in the Natwest Trophy semi-final, taking a creditable 1-31 off 12 overs.

As a commentator Agnew is regarded as a cheerful and easy-going character (although even he became testy when asked to broadcast from an underground car park).[3] Agnew rose to fame as a commentator on BBC on Test Match Special (where he is known as "Aggers"). He joined TMS in 1990 and quickly became a respected figure in the field of cricket commentary, despite a very short international career. Agnew was initially a junior member of the TMS team, learning at close quarters from legends such as Brian Johnston, Henry Blofeld and Bill Frindall. However, following Johnston's death in 1994, Agnew became, in effect, the voice of English cricket. As the lead commentator on TMS, Agnew has augmented the programme's reputation for warmth, humanity and, above all, informality that belies the professionalism of all involved.

In 2006, Agnew began to develop a strong broadcasting relationship with Geoffrey Boycott. Their contrasting styles, jocular (though verging on confrontational) interplay and apparent respect for each other's abilities as broadcasters led some, most notably Wisden, to describe the pair as the "Lennon and McCartney of cricket broadcasting".[4]

Agnew has also lent his commentary prowess to several computer games, including the International Cricket Captain and Brian Lara Cricket series.

Broadcasting controversies

In 2004, the Zimbabwe government banned media from following the England cricket team on tour of the country. The popular response from English fans was "They've banned Aggers."[5]

Agnew's reaction was combative:[5]

But Aggers wasn't going on the back foot. He went on BBC breakfast television to say that the media ban presented a golden opportunity to the England and Wales Cricket Board to pull out of this controversial tour, and he couldn't believe the board would pass up such a chance.

In the summer of 2008, Michael Vaughan reacted testily to questions by Agnew about his batting form. When Vaughan resigned shortly thereafter, Michael Atherton, writing in The Times, commented that it had been an out-of-character outburst that was a portent of the resignation. When Atherton had himself been England captain, Agnew had led the calls for Atherton to resign over the "dirt in the pocket" affair.[5]

The leg-over incident

Agnew was commentating with Brian Johnston for an England v West Indies Test Match in August 1991 when they produced a piece of commentary which has been voted by listeners to BBC Radio 5 Live as the "greatest piece of sporting commentary ever".[6]

In a review of the day, Johnston was describing how Ian Botham, while batting, had overbalanced and tried, but failed, to step over his stumps. Botham was consequently given out hit wicket. Agnew's comment on this action was: "He just couldn't quite get his leg over." The innuendo provoked a lengthy period of laughter and giggling, most notably by Johnston, who tried to continue commentating through his giggles and included the line "Aggers, for goodness' sake, do stop it" between convulsions of mirth.[7] In England, "getting one's leg over" is a euphemism for having sexual intercourse, something for which Botham had quite a reputation.[8] It was reported that traffic on British motorways came to a standstill as commuters were forced to stop their cars due to fits of hysterical laughter while listening to the radio show. Comedian Ronnie Corbett admitted he and his wife found the incident so funny that they were two such commuters.[9]

Another on-air giggling fit by Agnew was provoked by Eleanor Oldroyd's comment: "One good bit of news for England is that Ian Botham's groin is back to full strength."[10]



Non-International First-class

Second XI Championship

  • Surrey Second XI (1977)
  • Leicestershire Second XI (1978–1986)


  • Marylebone Cricket Club Schools (1978)
  • National Cricket Association Young Cricketers (1978)
  • England Young Cricketers (1978/79)
  • Lord's Taverners (1983)
  • Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk's XI (1984–1989)
  • England XI (1984/85)
  • Sir JP Getty's XI (1992)


  1. ^ Martin Williamson. "Jonathan Agnew".   Retrieved on 8 July 2009.
  2. ^ Steve Pittard (May 2006). "The XI last-minute call-ups".   Retrieved on 5 August 2008.
  3. ^ "BBC SPORT | FUNNY OLD GAME | Super bloopers". BBC News. 2001-05-11. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  4. ^ "BBC SPORT | Cricket | Test Match Special | Boycott named as best commentator". BBC News. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  5. ^ a b c "Someone needs to question cricket's whiter than whites...". Independent. 2004-11-29. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  
  6. ^ "Incident which led to greatest sporting commentary of all time | UK news | The Guardian". 2005-08-20.,10488,1552787,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  7. ^ mp3 "Audio file". BBC. mp3. Retrieved 2010-01-06.  
  8. ^ "Sporting kiss and tell's". Guardian.,,1476497,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  9. ^ Tomlinson, Ricky (2006). Celebrities My Arse!. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 0316029904.  
  10. ^ "BBC SPORT | FUNNY OLD GAME | Super bloopers". BBC News. 2001-10-11. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Jonathan Philip Agnew (born 4 April 1960; nicknamed "Aggers") is an English cricket broadcaster and former professional cricketer.


[Commentating on Ian Botham trying but failing to step over the stumps]: "He just couldn't quite get his leg over." - TMS

"Umpire Bowden does like his leg-bye signal. It's a little stroke of the inner thigh followed by a wiggle of the foot. I imagine he practices it in front of the mirror." - TMS

"Perhaps Zaheer Khan might be quicker if he tried running backwards...he really is very ungainly." - TMS

External links

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