CHARLES SALE: Mark Nicholas back on the mic for England Tests

Veteran cricket presenter Mark Nicholas will anchor talkSPORT’s ball-by-ball coverage of England’s winter tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies. 

Nicholas, 60, is available to work for talkSPORT because his usual winter employees Channel 9 in Australia have lost their Test rights to Fox.

Former Hampshire captain Nicholas has recently combined his Test highlights pundit role with Channel 5 in England with his Australian commitments as the face of Channel 9 cricket.

His appointment – although Nicholas has still to sign the contract – gives talkSPORT immediate authority when the network is faced with replacing BBC’s tried and trusted Test Match Special.

And it demonstrates that talkSPORT are intent on playing safe with their rights rather than selecting a fresh cricket host who might alienate traditional listeners to TMS.

Nicholas, who was part of the 2004 talkSPORT team for their coverage of England’s winning series in West Indies, is expected to have former Test stars Darren Gough, Steve Harmison and Matt Prior alongside him over the two tours.

lt’s not a good sign for Sky cricketer presenter Ian Ward when even his own colleagues follow up Sports Agenda in referencing on air him being so pally with the England players.

Sir Ian Botham said he was the only non-player invited to the players’ golf day last Monday, and Michael Atherton called him ‘a friend of the stars’.

The MCC may have made the biggest blunder in the club’s history when they allowed property developer Charles Rifkind to outbid them at auction in 1999 for the 999-year lease of the railway tunnels under the Nursery End.

But in contrast the £1.8million spent on the Lord’s drainage system three years later was money so well spent that it paid for itself on one day last Friday in allowing enough play to save £2m worth of refunded tickets.

The RFU have an £80m refurbishment of the East Stand at Twickenham – currently £30m over budget – riding on attracting all the England international corporate hospitality trade inside the stadium to their new facilities.

So it looks like a serious problem if a report from the chief financial officer Sue Day to the last board meeting mentions the RFU’s ‘disappointment’ at clubs still selling tickets to rival unofficial hospitality providers.

At a time when the England Cricket Board are looking for a new family audience for their flawed Hundred tournament, one of its eight venues, Headingley, are already doing their best to alienate supporters.

One double T20 season-ticket holder was told when he phoned the club in advance that he needn’t take evidence of the two extra junior tickets he had bought for his son’s friends for the T20 Roses match last week. 

But on arrival at Headingley a steward told them they needed paper tickets and had to go to the main ticket office.

When the family arrived there, they were told they were being denied entry because of an ‘abusive’ attitude towards the steward. Not wanting to let down his son on his 13th birthday, the father then bought two more tickets off a tout.

Yet he had been tracked on CCTV using the black market facility and was refused admittance again when he returned to the gate. A Yorkshire cricket spokesman promised an inquiry into the family’s scandalous treatment.

Football fans are again being treated with contempt by rail companies with Euston, a major railway hub for football traffic, scheduled to close for the next three weekends, including on Bank Holiday Monday on August 27 when Spurs play at Manchester United.

Middlesex are upping their search for a new ground with capacity for 4,000 spectators where they can stage first-class matches. It is needed because Lord’s will be hosting fixtures in the Hundred tournament that will further limit availability for Middlesex at cricket’s headquarters.


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