The Christmas and New Year period was shocking for the cricketing world with the sad passing of Tony Greig and Christopher Martin-Jenkins.
For years I have listened to both commentating on networks such as the BBC, Sky and Channel 9, and as an avid follower of cricket, I will miss the contributions of both.
My favourite memories of Tony Greig has to be when he commentated on the England tour of West Indies for Sky in 1990 (I think it was). I remember him getting very excited at the sight of Devon Malcolm trying to take on the great Viv Richards on that tour, and Greig’s extravagant commentary style including his line “on yer bike Charlie,” which he would use at the fall of a wicket.
It probably wasn’t text book commentary from Greig, but it was entertaining (to me anyway), and in a way it summed up the way Greig was, he wasn’t text book, he was his own person.
If I’m brutally honest, CMJ wasn’t my favourite commentator. In my younger years I had this view that TMS was a stuffy old commentary by snobs and toffs that no one really listened too, unless you where a snob or a toff.
It wasn’t until I got a lot older and actually started listening to it that I realised how wrong (and stupid) my opinion was.
Yes, it was a touch stuffy, I still believe I was right there, but it was that touch of stuffiness that gave TMS its character, it was part of what it was.
I now find it’s those ‘stuffy’ characters that I miss, Bill Frindall for instance, he didn’t say much, but when he spoke, it added to the experience. I still don’t think TMS has been the same since the passing of ‘The Bearded Wonder.’
If I thought it wasn’t the same before, it’s going to be worse now without CMJ.
A totally different character to Greig, CMJ had a dry sense of humour. I couldn’t envisage him bringing the house down in an after dinner speech, but he had a way about him that suited TMS, he was the right pace for what TMS was (which is probably the best way to describe TMS now).
A writer by trade, and a cricketing aficionado in general, CMJ’s overall contribution to the game as a whole, is up there with the players he described and wrote about. In a sport where the media is absolutely dominated by ex players, CMJ held his own and surpassed most of his (media) peers.
The next time I switch my radio on to listen to TMS, again for the worse, it will have changed forever.