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Mark Nicholas

Mark Charles Jefford Nicholas (born 29 September 1957 in Westminster, London) is an English cricketer who played for Hampshire from 1978 to 1995, captaining them from 1985 to his retirement.

His grandfather Fred Nicholas captained Essex CCC, his mother is the actress Anne Nicholas and his stepfather the broadcaster Brian Widlake.

Playing career

A swashbuckling middle-order batsman and occasional medium-pace bowler, Nicholas captained Hampshire to four major trophies - the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1988 and 1992, Sunday League (now National League) in 1986, and NatWest Trophy (now C&G Trophy) in 1991. Despite captaining England A on tour to Zimbabwe in 1989-1991, Nicholas can be considered one of his generation's better players to never play a Test for England.

Known for his suave appearance and urbane manner, Nicholas is one of a long line of colourful characters to captain Hampshire County Cricket Club, including Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie and CB Fry.

Broadcasting career

Since his retirement, he has worked in broadcasting, first as a commentator for Sky Sports, and 1999-2005 as the anchorman for Channel 4's cricket coverage. He worked freelance in 1995 for Sky and others, before signing for Sky Sports in 1996 as Anchorman; where his first major role was presenting domestic and international cricket. He led Sky's coverage of England's Winter Tours to Zimbabwe and New Zealand in 1996/7, and continued this in the West Indies in 1998. His last role with Sky Sports was presenting the networks Live and Exclusive coverage of the 1998/99 Ashes Series in Australia when he was famously live in the commentary box when Darren Gough claimed a Test hatrick at the SCG - describing the ball as a "corker of a yorker". He also commentates for Australia's Nine Network during the Australian summer cricket season. He now anchors the Nine coverage, being a future anticipated replacement of Richie Benaud as the face of cricket on Nine, despite having once been dropped from the commentary team for reasons that were never fully explained before his reinstatement. His rise to the top of sports broadcasting - in Australia at least - is quite remarkable considering he never played at international level during his cricketing career. (Every other senior member of Nine's on-air team has played at the elite level, many of them captaining Australia.)

Up until 2008 he wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph. He was named Sports Presenter of the Year in 2001 by the Royal Television Society, as well as being one of only two presenters to ever stand-in for Richard and Judy. Nicholas also presented the 2nd series of the UK version of reality show Survivor. He continued his commitments to Australia's Nine Network in March 2006, anchoring the afternoon coverage of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He also rated fourth in a Melbourne newspaper poll that set out to find the public's choice on the new host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Australia.

He served as anchor during the Ashes of 2005 for Channel 4 producing several memorable commentary lines, demonstrating genuine excitement and elation at the events he was describing. The most famous being, 'Oh! Stephen Harmison, with a slower ball, one of the great balls! Given the moment, given the batsman and given the match, that is a staggering gamble that's payed off for Harmison. he bowled that perfectly.' after Harmison's slower ball dismissed Michael Clarke at the end of Saturday's play in the Second Test at Edgbaston. Others include, 'Crikey O'Reilly!' after a Kevin Pietersen six, "Beauty, yes! Magnificent cricket from this man." after Andrew Flintoff had Ricky Ponting caught behind, 'Oh, yes! That's that, Andrew Flintoff is very special!' after Flintoff wrapped up Australia's innings, also at the Second Test at Edgbaston and his particularly insightful "That is very good" after Simon Jones's dismissal of Michael Clark in the third test at Old Trafford after the ball, which looked to be a safe leave cut back and knocked over the batsman's off stump. He also gave a memorable description of Ricky Ponting being out on the final day at Old Trafford in the 3rd test. when Billy Bowden put up the finger, Nicholas shouted "he's given it out! Out! Ricky Ponting is out!" It must be noted however that Nicholas now expresses similar elation at home wickets with his new Australian employers, for example he "couldn't see" in his words, that Australian batsman Brett Lee was lbw to English spinner Monty Panesar in the 2006-07 Ashes, even though replays showed to be "plum". His signature cry is "by heaven!" whenever something remarkable happens during play (usually a six-hit), although this has been scarcely used in the 2006-07 Ashes series. He is also notable for the saying, "That's maximum" when a six has been hit.

While as Channel 4 anchor for the Cricket, Nicholas presented Today at the Test which would cover the highlights of the days play at the England test matches or the trophy finals.

Mark Nicholas was approached by Five to cover England cricket highlights from 2006-2010, the programme being named Cricket on Five. He commentates on the programme with former cricketer and Channel 4 cricket commentator Geoffrey Boycott and former Channel 4 cricket analyst Simon Hughes. They also are joined by a guest commentator from the touring country.

Nicholas recently served as anchorman and commentator for the Nine Network coverage of the 2006/2007 Ashes and continues to serve this role for other Australian Home Test Series. He was also part of the world feed commentary team for the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, heard by millions around the world.

Nicholas is also the "anchorman" for EA Sports Cricket 07 game. He introduces the matches which the user is playing, and also commentates during the game with Richie Benaud, taking over from Jim Maxwell. Nicholas presented ITV1's Britain's Best Dish in 2007, and currently presents the show's second series. He is currently into the 3rd year as main presenter and commentator on Cricket on Five.

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