|Full name||Jonathan Philip Agnew|
|Born||4 April 1960
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
|Nickname||Aggers (earlier Spiro)|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Bowling style||Right-arm fast|
|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|
|1979 – 1992||Leicestershire|
|5 wickets in innings||–||–||37||2|
|10 wickets in match||–||n/a||6||n/a|
|Source: Cricinfo, 5 August 2008|
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.
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.
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.
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). 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".
Agnew's reaction was combative:
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.
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".
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. In England, "getting one's leg over" is a euphemism for having sexual intercourse, something for which Botham had quite a reputation. 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.
[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