Terry Jenner: Cricketer who went on to act as coach and mentor to Shane Warne

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The Independent Online

Terry Jenner was an Australian cricketer who made nine Test appearances between 1970 and 1975 but whose more significant contribution to cricket came in his role as coach and mentor to his countryman and fellow leg-spinner, Shane Warne, who became under his tutelage one of the finest and most successful bowlers in the history of the game.

The relationship with Warne transformed Jenner's life after he had spent 18 months in prison following a conviction for embezzlement in 1988. His role in Warne's career brought him work coaching spin bowlers at home and abroad, including several years helping young English spinners in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board. He also became a respected broadcaster.

Jenner was born in Mount Lawley, Perth, in 1948, but grew up in Corrigin, in the wheat belt of Western Australia, where his father ran a shop. He pursued a career in cricket against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to study accountancy. A bowler with a preference for loopy, attacking deliveries, Jenner attracted attention as an 18-year-old by bowling Ted Dexter, the England captain, with a googly during net practice in Perth. He made his debut for Western Australia in 1963 but his appearances were infrequent and only after he moved to South Australia in 1967 did his career move forward. His first cap came in the first Test of the 1970-71 Ashes series in Brisbane, but he was unable to impress the selectors consistently.

After a nervous debut he was left out until the final Test in Sydney, where he took three wickets for 42 runs as England were dismissed for 184 but had the misfortune, while batting, to be hit on the head by a ball from John Snow, the England bowler. The incident sparked crowd trouble so serious that the England captain, Ray Illingworth, led his players off the field. Jenner, who had no protective helmet, retired hurt, although he completed his innings later. Australia lost the match and the Ashes.

In 1971 Jenner played in England, for Rawtenstall in the Lancashire League and for Cambridgeshire in Minor Counties cricket. He was picked for Australia against the Rest of the World in 1971-72, after a visit by South Africa was cancelled, but was overlooked for the tour of England that followed. He regained his place on the 1972-73 tour of the West Indies, in which he took five for 90 in the final Test at Port of Spain as Australian won the series. Yet he was not selected again until 1974-75, when he played twice against England and made 74 in Adelaide despite suffering cramp.

Like his protégé, Warne, he became embroiled in controversy. At a party during the 1972-73 West Indies tour, he was wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a female guest and was then reprimanded by Sir Donald Bradman, chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, over comments made to a newspaper after being omitted from the 1975 tour of England. His one appearance against West Indies in Brisbane in November of that year earned him his ninth and last Test cap. He finished with 24 Test wickets at an average of 31.2 runs each.

After failing to attract a lucrative World Series contract in 1977, he retired with a respectable record of 389 first class wickets as well as 10 half-centuries with the bat, but he began to drink and gamble heavily. In 1988, he was jailed for six and a half years for embezzling A$30,000 from the car dealership for whom he worked. He would say later that incarceration enabled him to focus on gaining redemption in what he called his "second life."

Released after 18 months, he was offered work coaching young spinners at the Adelaide-based Australian Cricket Academy, where his first intake included the spiky-haired 20-year-old leg-spinner from Victoria introduced to him as Shane Keith Warne. The two developed a strong bond, Jenner seeing much of himself in Warne's rebellious nature. Yet it did not stop him taking a firm line with his pupil. After an inauspicious debut for Australia against India in 1992, Warne visited Jenner armed with a dozen bottles of beer, only to be lambasted for not taking himself or his game seriously. The dressing-down prompted Warne to embark on a fitness regime that saw him shed more than three stones. The following year, in England, he was to bowl Mike Gatting with the prodigious leg break that became known as "the Ball of the Century".

As Warne revived enthusiasm for leg-spin bowling, Jenner was in constant demand as a coach and guru. He was invited to oversee the England and Wales Cricket Board's Elite Wrist-Spin Development Programme in 1999 and provided coaching for young English bowlers at his home in Adelaide, on scholarships funded by the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust.

Jenner suffered a heart attack in April 2010 while in England. Doctors did not expect him to survive but he recovered enough to return to his seaside home in the Adelaide suburb of Brighton, announcing his intention to live at least for one more year, a goal he was able to achieve.

Terrence James Jenner, cricketer and coach: born Mount Lawley, Perth 8 September 1944; married twice (one daughter); died 25 May 2011.

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