sport

Martin-Jenkins passes away

Cricket journalist and former president of the Marylebone Cricket Club, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, has died of cancer. He was 67.

A fitting testimonial to the broadcaster and journalist was perhaps made when he was nominated for president of Marylebone Cricket Club in 2010, by the incumbent John Barclay.

"When CMJ appears on the radio, he makes you feel that all is right with the world," Barclay said.

Following his death this morning, tributes flooded in for the father-of-three who was described as "one of the voices of the English summer", "a true gentleman" and "one of cricket's most respected writers and broadcasters".

Born in Peterborough, Martin-Jenkins joined the BBC as part of the Test Match Special team in 1973 having previously had a modest cricketing career that peaked with a 99 for Marlborough at Lord's.

He worked as the BBC's cricket correspondent twice, firstly between 1973 and 1980 and secondly between 1985 and 1991, while also commentating on the network's television coverage between 1981 and 1985.

Martin-Jenkins was the Daily Telegraph's cricket correspondent from 1990 to 1999 and then moved to the Times, where he was succeeded by former England batsman Michael Atherton in 2008. He continued to contribute to the cricket coverage in the newspaper and also wrote numerous books about the sport.

He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January 2012, shortly after returning from covering England's tour of the United Arab Emirates for TMS.

Jonathan Agnew and Martin-Jenkins spent many hours together covering cricket for the BBC, and Agnew praised his colleague for having built a career and earned respect without having played the game at the top level.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: "He was one of cricket's most respected writers and broadcasters.

"With modern media now preferring the views and experiences of former Test cricketers, Christopher's authority and respect was gained not through a high-profile playing career but a deep-rooted love of the game.

"Listeners to Test Match Special will be all too familiar with CMJ's eccentricities, like going to the wrong ground for the start of a Test match for example. His legendary chaotic time-keeping was very much part of his charm.

"It's doubtful if anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket than Christopher Martin-Jenkins."

TMS producer Adam Mountford said: "CMJ was one of the voices of the English summer - a true gentleman who embraced the changes in cricket whilst acting as a guardian of its traditions and values.

"Quite simply he will be remembered as one of the legendary characters of cricket writing and broadcasting."

Jonathan Wall, acting controller of BBC Radio 5 Live, said: "He was a master of the art of radio commentary - picture painting, a lovely clear voice, pauses in the right places and great warmth and wit.

"I used to sneak a pocket radio into school to listen to his commentaries. He will be missed dearly, not just by his colleagues but by millions of radio listeners across the world. Radio has lost one of its true greats today."

Ex-England all-rounder and current broadcaster Sir Ian Botham said on Twitter: "Very sad to hear of the death of the 'Major'... Christopher Martin Jenkins. Our thoughts are with the family . A true Gentleman !!"

MCC president Mike Griffith said: "CMJ will be sorely missed. As a commentator and journalist he was passionate about upholding the values of the game and always expressed his views with clarity and humour.

"Everyone at MCC shares the sadness now being felt by the cricketing world that his live commentaries will never be heard again."

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier described Martin-Jenkins as "a cricketing institution".

"He cared deeply about the game of cricket and his breadth of knowledge and understanding made him an enormously popular member of the Test Match Special team," he said.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: "Cricket has lost one of its greatest champions. Christopher was a supremely talented broadcaster and writer; a fount of knowledge about cricket - both past and present; and, as a devoted supporter of Sussex, someone who cared deeply about County cricket and the wider recreational game.

"These were the qualities which made him an excellent president of MCC and it was always a privilege and a pleasure to be in his company and share discussions with him about our great game.

"He was a man of great personal integrity, a true gentleman and our thoughts today are with his family and his close friends."

In 2007 Martin-Jenkins became the first, and so far only, career journalist and broadcaster to deliver the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture - previous lecturers had all been former international cricketers.

He was given an MBE in 2009 and served as the MCC's president in 2010 and 2011.

Martin-Jenkins leaves a wife, Judy, and three children Robin, James and Lucy.