Christopher Martin-Jenkins: 'It is doubtful anyone has contributed more to coverage of cricket'

Former cricket correspondent for the BBC, Daily Telegraph and The Times Christopher Martin-Jenkins has died of cancer aged 67. The Test Match Special commentator was also a former editor of The Cricketer.

 
He got his start in journalism after leaving Cambridge University in 1967 when be became an assistant on The Cricketer under editor Jim Swanton, the Telegraph notes in its  obituary.
 
After three years there he joined BBC Radio Sports and in 1973 he took over from Brian Johnston as BBC cricket correspondent.
 
He accepted an invitation to become editor of The Cricketer in 1981, partly to allow him to spend less time overseas and more time with his family. He went on to write various books and to continue to commentate for the BBC.
From 1984 to 1991 CMJ returned to the BBC as cricket correspondent. He joined The Daily Telegraph as chief cricket correspondeont in 1991 before being enticed to join The Times in the same job in 1999.
 
CMJ was replaced by the Michael Atherton in 2008 but has continued to contribute articles for the paper.
 
Atherton wrote in The Times: "His clear, crisp tones and his love and knowledge of the game, meant that he was an exceptional ball-by-ball commentator...
 
"If the job of a cricket commentator and writer is to act as a conduit between those who play and those who watch, then cricket has lost one of its best."
 
Times deputy cricket correspondent Richard Hobson described CMJ as his mentor. He wrote (also in The Times):
 
"Advice was never proscribed, criticism rare and always constructive. He belonged to a generation that valued good grammar and liked to see a bit of description to lift reports from a plain catalogue of facts. He disliked what he thought was gratuitous abuse of a player for shortcomings, but for bad behaviour or disrespect of the game’s traditions few words could be too harsh."
 
Current BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said: "With modern media now preferring the views and experiences of former Test match cricketers, Christopher's authority and respect was not gained from a high-profile playing career, but a deep-rooted love of the game linked to a strong protective instinct which helped him earn the most coveted position of president of the MCC [Marylebone Cricket Club]...
 
"Considering the years he worked as editor of The Cricketer magazine, and as correspondent for the BBC twice, the Daily Telegraph and the Times, and 40 years commentating on Test Match Special and the many books he wrote, it is doubtful that anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket than Christopher Martin-Jenkins."
Sign up for our free weekly digital magazine, Press Gazette Journalism Weekly, and daily newsletter
To contact Press Gazette with a story call 0207 936 6433
or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk
To advertise, please call 0207 936 6764.