Martin-Jenkins was one of the most respected journalists in the cricketing world
Cricket commentator, journalist and former MCC president Christopher Martin-Jenkins has died at the age of 67 after losing his battle with cancer.
Martin-Jenkins, who was born in Peterborough, worked at The Cricketer magazine straight after completing university before going on to join the BBC in 1970.
He later returned to The Cricketer and held the editors position between 1981 and 1991.
His time at the BBC saw him become a pivotal part of the Test Match Special commentary team from the early 1970s till his illness forced him to step away in 2012.
He was also the BBC’s cricket correspondent during two separate periods, the first from 1973 to 1980 and the second from 1985 to 1991.
Martin-Jenkins left the BBC in 1991 and became the Daily Telegraph’s cricket correspondent till 1999, upon where he joined The Times and held the same position till 2008 before handing it over to former England batsman Michael Atherton.
He continued to be a regular contributor to The Times and even wrote about the death of long-time friend Tony Greig.
“It was probably for him a merciful release because the late stage of any cancer is often hell on earth,” Martin-Jenkins wrote.
Martin-Jenkins was awarded an MBE in 2008 and held the position as the MCC president from 2010 to 2011.
Shortly before his death, Martin-Jenkins released a book about his memoirs, CMJ: A Cricketing Life.
Current MCC president Mike Griffith, who had known Martin-Jenkins since their schooldays at Marlborough College, said: “Christopher gave tremendous service to cricket and to MCC. 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.”
In 2007, Martin-Jenkins become the first, and to date, the only journalist to deliver the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, with all other lecturers having been former cricketers.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew praised Martin-Jenkins for having earned the respect of the entire cricketing community, despite never having played at the international level.
“He was one of cricket’s most respected writers and broadcasters,” Agnew told BBC Radio 5 Live. “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.”
Derek Pringle, now the Daily Telegraph’s cricket correspondent, said: “Desperately sad to hear that CMJ has passed away. Always engaging company and a superb broadcaster and journalist he will be missed by many.”
Former England captain and all-rounder Sir Ian Botham also paid tribute to Martin-Jenkins, calling him “a true gentleman”.
“Very sad to hear of the death of the ‘Major’… Christopher Martin Jenkins,” Botham said. “Our thoughts are with the family. A true gentleman.”
In a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board (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 man of great personal integrity, a true gentleman and our thoughts today are with his family and his close friends.”