Martin-Jenkins dies, aged 67

Tue, Jan 1, 2013, 00:00

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

The news was reported by the BBC, where Martin-Jenkins worked as a commentator on Test Match Special, while his friend and colleague Jonathan Agnew said on Twitter: “Desperately sad to tell you that CMJ died peacefully this morning”.

Martin-Jenkins, a cricket correspondent for both the Daily Telegraph and the Times during his career, was given an MBE in 2009 and served as the MCC’s president in 2010 and 2011. The official account of Lord’s tweeted this morning: “Former MCC President Christopher Martin-Jenkins has died. Sad, sad news to start the new year.”

Martin-Jenkins’s son Robin was a professional cricketer for Sussex until his retirement in 2010, making 162 first class appearances for the county.

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.”

MCC president Mike Griffith said: “CMJ will be sorely missed. I was fortunate to know him from his schooldays at Marlborough College and we became good friends. Christopher gave tremendous service to cricket and to MCC, where he was president as recently as 2010.

“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. On behalf of all members of the club I have sent our deepest condolences to Christopher’s widow Judy and their children Robin and Lucy.”

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.

When nominated in 2010 by John Barclay to succeed him as president of MCC, he described Martin-Jenkins as “the voice of cricket”, adding: “When CMJ appears on the radio, he makes you feel that all is right with the world.”

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Charlotte Edwards, captain of England’s women, said: “Awful news of Christopher Martin Jenkins passing away,true gentleman and fantastic servant to the game of cricket,he will be missed #ripcmj”.

Former England spinner Shaun Udal added: “So sad to hear the news that Christopher Martin-Jenkins has passed away this morning. #ripcmj”.

Ex-England all-rounder and current broadcaster Ian Botham added: “Very sad to hear of the death of the ‘Major’... Christopher Martin Jenkins. Our thoughts are with the family . A true Gentleman!!”

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