Cricket mourns Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Test Match Special's revered voice of the English summer

Commentator dies aged 67

You could say it was the voice of the English summer – and now, in the depths of winter, it has been silenced.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins was Britain’s leading cricket commentator and for 40 years his precisely modulated tones conjured up for the nation white figures on a dazzlingly green pitch and the knock of leather on willow. Today he succumbed to the cancer that took hold a year ago. He was 67.

The passing of the much-loved former BBC cricket correspondent and president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), universally known as CMJ, was met with a flood of tributes, led by his former colleagues on BBC’s Test Match Special.

“It is doubtful that anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket,” said the BBC’s current cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew, who was a close friend. “CMJ was one of cricket’s most respected writers and broadcasters. Listeners to Test Match Special were all too familiar with his eccentricities – like going to the wrong ground for the start of a Test match. His legendary, chaotic time-keeping was very much part of his charm.”

Not least among the public’s memories of him will be an incident in the summer of 2008 when Martin-Jenkins, whose clipped speech led to his being nicknamed “the Major” in the press box, was rendered almost incapable of speaking by a fit of the giggles. Delivering his account of the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori facing the English bowler Stuart Broad, Martin-Jenkins said: “Broad’s in, he bowls, this time Vettori lets it go outside the off stump, good length, inviting him to fish.”

Then, with his next comment, Martin-Jenkins’ composure deserted him. “But Vettori stays on the bank… and keeps his rod down, so to speak.”

Adam Mountford, producer of Test Match Special, said: “CMJ was 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.”

Martin-Jenkins began his long career in journalism as assistant to E W Swanton, a stalwart of Test Match Special for 30 years. He had two spells as the BBC’s cricket correspondent and filled the same role at The Daily Telegraph and The Times. He gave up broadcasting when his cancer was diagnosed but continued to produce written reports.

Although never a Test cricketer himself, unlike many modern commentators on the game, he was a useful schoolboy player at Marlborough College and played two games in Surrey’s Second XI. He was greatly respected by all the leading players of recent years and took great pride in the career of his son Robin, who played first-class cricket for Sussex.

The former England captain Sir Ian Botham tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of the ‘Major’, Christopher Martin-Jenkins. Our thoughts are with the family. A true Gentleman.”

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.”

Appointed MBE in 2009, Martin-Jenkins served as the MCC’s president in 2010 and 2011, which was a singular honour for a journalist. The current MCC president, Mike Griffith, said: “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 felt by the cricketing world that his commentaries will never be heard again. CMJ will be sorely missed.”

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.

Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
arts + ents Samuel L Jackson and Michael Madsen have taken part in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s axed follow-up to Django Unchained.
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit