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Cricket world mourns CMJ passing

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Christopher Martin-Jenkins, the hugely respected cricket writer and broadcaster, has died at the age of 67.

A much-loved figure within the game and known to millions simply as CMJ, Martin-Jenkins started commentating for Test Match Special in 1972 and served as the cricket correspondent of the BBC, Daily Telegraph and the Times during a distinguished career in journalism. He also edited The Cricketer magazine.

In 2007 Martin-Jenkins became the first, and so far only, career journalist and broadcaster to deliver the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture - previous lecturers had all been former international cricketers.

He was made an MBE in 2009 and subsequently served as president of MCC for a two-year period, but was then diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of 2012, shortly after returning from England’s tour of the United Arab Emirates.

Martin-Jenkins’ long-time colleague on TMS, Jonathan Agnew, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He was one of cricket's most respected writers and broadcasters.

“With modern media now preferring the views and experiences of former Test cricketers, Christopher's authority and respect was gained not through a high-profile playing career but a deep-rooted love of the game.

"Listeners to Test Match Special will be all too familiar with CMJ's eccentricities, like going to the wrong ground for the start of a Test match for example. His legendary chaotic time-keeping was very much part of his charm.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins

Christopher Martin-Jenkins has sadly died at the age of 67. A hugely respected figure in sports journalism, he enjoyed a distinguished career as a writer and broadcaster and also served as president of MCC

“It's doubtful if anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket than Christopher Martin-Jenkins.”

Current MCC president Mike Griffith, a friend of Martin-Jenkins since childhood, added his own tribute.

"CMJ will be sorely missed,” said Griffith.

“I was fortunate to know him from his schooldays at Marlborough College and we became good friends.

“Christopher gave tremendous service to cricket and to MCC, where he was president as recently as 2011. 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 now being felt by the cricketing world that his live commentaries will never be heard again. On behalf of all members of the club I have sent our deepest condolences to Christopher's widow Judy and their children Robin, James and Lucy.”

TMS producer Adam Mountford added: “CMJ was one of the voices of the English summer - 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.

“The thoughts of all of us on TMS are with Judy and his family.”

International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said: “There are few men in cricket who are known simply by the initials and the fact that Christopher was referred to simply as CMJ around the cricket world reflects his standing in the game.

“He was a brilliant broadcaster with the BBC's Test Match Special as well as a renowned cricket correspondent for the BBC, The Daily Telegraph and The Times.

“Cricket has lost two of its most revered commentators in the last few days with the passing of both CMJ and, last week, of Tony Greig. I know that press boxes around the world will be deeply saddened by the death of two giants of the game and we pass on our condolences to both their families.

“I, like their colleagues, cricketers and administrators, will miss their wise words and their company.”