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Ashes 2013: @SkyCricket at the heart of England versus Australia

Everyone's talking about it

@SkyCricket will bring you the best of the Ashes this summer!

But what Tweets might our on-trend Ashes Panel have sent out during their career and how do they think social media is changing the way we follow and interact with Test cricket?

It's over to David Gower, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton - in rather more than 140 characters...

skysports.com: What Tweets might you have sent out during your Ashes career and how important is @SkyCricket to Sky Sports' coverage this summer?

NASSER: I don't think I would have used it as a player, to be honest. As a player I used to either play the game or completely switch off. Searching for your name on Twitter is a very dangerous game! I can imagine the Twitter response I would have got after sticking Australia in at Brisbane! You know in the back of your mind what is being said out there anyway - you don't need it rammed down your throat by 5,000 Tweets.

Nasser reviews England preparations

I have to say, though, that I find Twitter an invaluable tool as a broadcaster because you find out very quickly what's going on - sometimes even before news channels. As an Arsenal fan I'm always on the lookout for what's going on if I can't get to the game and there will always be someone tweeting updates and the same goes for cricket if you want any kind of injury or team news. I don't tweet but I do use Twitter - the @SkyCricket page is the first thing I go to in the morning, to see what people out there think and what the punters want from us. Some of the best things we do are the Twitter forums where we take questions from the viewers.

ATHERS: I wouldn't have sent out any Tweets as a player - I don't think there's any value for a player to be on Twitter in any way, shape or form. You stand and fall by your performances on the field - how many runs you get, how many wickets you take. Twitter is irrelevant to all that.

Get ready for the Ashes!

That said, @SkyCricket does give us good interaction with the viewers who send in their thoughts and often we react to them. Sometimes viewers pick up mistakes or send in something that one of us hasn't thought about; people might send in ideas for interviews or analysis. I think that level of interaction is good because it gives the viewers a bit of a voice which they wouldn't otherwise have.

You always get feedback on how you are doing and sometimes that is critical, which might make you sharpen up, but it's important not to be affected by everything that is said on Twitter because some people can be quite nasty. Once you start worrying about what everyone is thinking, saying or tweeting you can go a bit loopy but direct feedback can be interesting and important to some extent.

BOB: I was very flattered to have a Twitter impersonator around a year or so ago! Social Media is something we should embrace in the media. Like us, people in the written and electronic media get a lot of information from players who seem to spend an enormous amount of time telling us what they had for breakfast and what clothes they are wearing out that night. Twitter does give you an insight into the players' lives, but the England management are very protective of their charges - particularly after last summer's Kevin Pietersen saga - but a little snippet here and there does add to the aura of the game. In a summer where there's no World Cup or European Championship football, or Olympics, the Ashes is taking centre stage and any stories around the cricket is to be encouraged.

If Twitter had been around when I was a player I would have been tempted to explain why I put Australia into bat at Adelaide on the 1982/83 tour when they got 400-plus and we lost the game. On reflection, I would have liked to have put Messrs Lamb, Botham and Gower in the dock for persuading me that there was a green tinge to this flat Adelaide pitch! I might have exposed them for what they were as opposed to taking the brickbats of the press and media myself and saying it was wholly my decision at the time!

@BeefyBotham: Thirty-odd years ago we could never imagined the impact that something like Twitter can have but I'm sure I would have sent out a few Tweets after the 1981 series! The same goes for 1986/87 when we were written off before the series began by our own media - it would have been nice to have had a right of reply back then.

I would have tweeted something quite simple along the lines of "I see you got it wrong, boys" - and stuff similar to that, with a bit of sarcasm and wit thrown in. Twitter shouldn't be a vindictive medium and I for one certainly don't use it that way and I wouldn't.

Looking back there are probably all sorts of things that I could have sent out during my career - pictures of Elton John celebrating with us in the dressing room in 1986/87 for example - but the option simply wasn't on the radar.

DAVID: I appear to be on Twitter but I can assure everyone that it's not me! It's always interesting to get feedback from our enthusiastic viewers but I'd rather not know what someone has had for breakfast... That, as they say, is that.

Sky Sports Ashes HD will show exclusively live ball-by-ball coverage of the Investec Ashes this summer. Find out more about our coverage and how you can tune in here.

Cricket coverage on Sky Sports is available on TV, PC and on the move via mobile and tablet devices, thanks to Sky Go.

Sky Sports will also launch an enhanced Ashes experience within the Sky Sports for iPad and via the Ashes Event Centre on skysports.com, providing users with even more viewing options, data and insight throughout the series.

Sky Sports News HD will provide daily reports, views and analysis throughout the Ashes while skysports.com, the UK's leading commercial sports website, will offer visitors all the latest news, video and match coverage.

Can't wait for the Ashes to start? Then check out some of the great content already available on skysports.com, including our vote to find the Greatest Ashes Moment. Simply click here for more.

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