Test Match Special is one of those British institutions which is always destined to be not quite what it was.
You get the impression that for many people over the age of fifty (a demographic I haven't quite joined yet), the programme's 'Golden Age' belongs back in the era when John Arlott was still going strong. Johnston, and Gibson, and a younger Frindall and Martin-Jenkins would have been there too. Now all of those are gone - for me it would be a wonderful thing to hear CMJ again but it seems I never will - but, for those of us who care about such things, the programme is still a central part of winter mornings and summer days. With the right sort of technology you can even hear it without interruptions from the shipping forecast or Yesterday in Parliament.
As Michael Henderson and a few others will tell you, aspects of it may not be what they were, but, as this fluctuating, unpredicted, enjoyable series has unfolded, TMS has sounded as essential as ever. Like Cook or Pujara on one of their many good days it has displayed an innate sense of control and authority.
For me, the most enjoyable and refreshing element of recent weeks has been the experience of listening to Rahul Dravid. This is a man who has been one of the best and most famous cricketers in the world, yet has retained an alluring air of humility and gentle humour, and his reminiscences and judgements are lent weight by their grounding in recent experience. He could perhaps do to play a few more shots, but he'll learn.
A penny for Simon Mann's thoughts when Dravid thanks him (implicitly for giving him the privilege of sharing the airwaves).
I'd retire there and then.
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