Tuffers Interview: Upcoming TMS theatre tour, Cricket and much, much more…..
Test Match Special is embarking on a 20-date LIVE TOUR this April and May 2022, to the delight of radio aficionados and all those crazy for cricket across the UK.
On offer is an evening with sporting legends and radio rock stars: PHIL TUFNELL (Tuffers) and JONATHAN AGNEW, as this iconic duo regale British audiences with all the highlights of their careers, both on the field and in the commentary box.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Tuffers and talk about the TMS Tour and Cricket…..
Following your career as a cricketer, the ups and downs, is that something you'll get into on the Tour?
Absolutely, firstly, I really like doing theatres they're great fun. You feel like you can go down different pathways, it's going to be almost like you're inside the TMS box.
There is going to be some anecdotes, serious cricket chat too, stories, behind the scenes of unseen footage taken from the likes of cricket finals, Stokes wonderful knock at Headingley etc.
We're also going to be getting some people very closely associated with TMS, celebrities and also cricketers from the region we're in. It's going to be a lot of fun, lots of laughs and some people popping in to be interviewed and tell their stories with TMS.
It's going to be great and take it to the nation up and down the country.
We all need a bit of a laugh coming out of Covid, and guess it's been tough for you guys and the theatres not being able to put on shows like this - sounds as if it's going to be really entertaining?
It's going to be entertaining, and I think you're right, people have been crying out to get out and have a laugh, joke, giggle and a beer at half time and what have you.
I hope people enjoy the show, I know they will do, but it's going to be great to get out and see people at the theatre, it should be good fun.
In regard to cricket and where it is at the moment, any thoughts on your own particular journey and your pathway into the game?
I was very lucky, I use to play age group cricket when I was a kid, left it out for a few years when I get myself a moped and started going down the dog and duck so to speak.
I managed to get back into it with a little more luck than judgement with the MCCYC Lord's ground staff. I've always had a passion for the game, always loved the game and enjoyed the comradery of your teammates going up and down the country and travelling the world.
It's always nice to look back and remember all those times and those sliding door moments. Very lucky to have played that level for 20 odd years and having so much fun along the way, so hopefully that will translate to the TMS show.
I think it transmits to the radio show when it's on, there is such a lot of warmth for TMS. I describe it as sort of a comfortable shoe, you can go on there, relax and watch the game unfold in front of you.
You analysis the cricket and love the performance but then also you can have a wander off and have a bit of laugh and joke along the way as well. I'm sure that will come across in the theatre show as well.
Just looking at your career, where would you place yourself in terms of a white ball cricketers now, with tournaments like The Hundred, T20, T10...?
I would have loved it; I don't think I played enough. Things were different back then, I played all of my ODIs on tour, never played one in England.
The last 50 over game I played I was man of the match, got 4/24, then was dropped and never played again. I look back and go "what the bloody hell was going on there."
I love my Test cricket, that's the pinnacle and should be safeguarded. We need to look after the red ball game and especially Test cricket, without it we would be in some trouble.
I'm also all for The Hundred, IPL and all these competitions and spin bowling does very well in it. I know when it all started people thought it was going to be the death of the spin bowler.
Now you look at the rankings and the spin bowlers are up there. I would have loved the razamataz, the coloured clothing, music, ground and the lights and what have you, the flames, I think it would have been right up my street.
In terms of cricket at grassroots, it's gone for through a real difficult time, is that something from your childhood that was an important factor for you?
As I said, I played age group cricket for Middlesex, I played club cricket. I was very lucky to have a mother and father who were sporting people, we would all get into a Cortina estate and they would take me to nets and football practise in the freezing cold.
When I look back on that I was very fortunate to have very supportive parents, but it's not always the case these days. You need to make sure there are pathways to get children to nets on those gloomy Wednesday nights.
I think club cricket is crucial, and school cricket is, I know a lot of schools don't even play cricket now. There are places that make cricket accessible to youngsters if they want to go along and try it out, it needs to be accessible for everyone.
For me, it was my local club, I'd go down there on sunny evenings, my dad would sit at the bar and I'd get coached and what have you, so I think that is crucial.
I think the hundred has been a good idea, I've been doing the commentary and there were packed grounds for the Men's and Women's games, it's really helped the Women's games.
It was a very diverse ground too, there were youngsters, families, young girls and boys all screaming and enjoying themselves. I think the hundred is here to stay and has helped get people interested in the game again.
You need to make sure you're out there grabbing the next Ben Stokes or Joe Root, or they will be off doing other things. You've got to sell your sports, there is so many more activities, so it needs to be fun.
Phil Tufnell and Jonathan Agnew will be on the road with The Test Match Special Tour throughout April and May 2022. Tickets available from www.fane.co.uk/tms
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