Warne leads tributes to spin guru Jenner
Thursday 26 May 2011
In the nets at the back of the Adelaide Oval four years ago, it was instructive to watch the master spinner and his guru. Shane Warne bowled and occasionally, very occasionally, Terry Jenner spoke.
Who knows what particular aspect of the craft they were working on but the surest thing was that Warne listened. After the practice, they chatted, earnestly it seemed, for five or 10 minutes, Warne slapped him on the shoulder, and went off, seemingly satisfied.
Warne went on to take 23 wickets in the series, 708 in all and then retired. It is impossible to know how many he would not have taken had Jenner failed to come into his life, but his tribute made as soon as he heard of Jenner's death at the age of 66 yesterday was heartfelt.
"Very sad day since hearing the news of my great friend, TJ's passing," he said on Twitter. "He gave up so much of his time for cricket and spin bowling – he was an amazing man – full of knowledge and wanted to share it."
Jenner was an abundantly enthusiastic man. No mean leg-spinner himself, he played nine Tests, but the feeling was he did not do himself justice. For one so ebullient he seemed afraid to let his bowling express itself.
The point was made by Greg Chappell, one of his captains, who said: "I think one of the reasons he was able to relate to spin bowlers was that he'd been through the mill. He'd found it pretty tough himself as a spin bowler. It's not an easy art.
"I think there were probably times that TJ didn't have the confidence in himself that perhaps he was able to imbue in others as a coach. I think TJ could relate to Warnie's personality and the fact that he did not respond to authority very well, because TJ never did."
Jenner played his part in the development of England wrist spinners, supervising the special programme established in 1999. If he did not find another world-beater – though Adil Rashid of Yorkshire came through it – his engaging personality spread the wrist spin gospel. David Parsons, the England and Wales Cricket Board's performance director who worked with Jenner, said: "Terry shared much of himself with everyone he met and I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of much of this – his fire, his passion, his knowledge, his skills, his humour, his home, his family and his generosity."
Still, perhaps his most enduring contribution to the English cricket psyche came at Sydney in 1976-77 when he was felled by a bouncer from John Snow, which provoked a crowd riot prompting the England team to leave the field.
After his retirement, things did not go well for Jenner for a while and he was jailed in 1988 for his embezzling funds from his employer. On his release the cricketing community rallied and Jenner found his true niche.
Jenner suffered a heart attack last year and never fully recovered.
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