CMJ named as next President of MCC

Cricket writer and broadcaster Christopher Martin-Jenkins was tonight named as the next President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, one of the highest honours in the game.

The former cricket correspondent of the Telegraph, The Times and the BBC begins his one-year term of office on October 1, succeeding the former Sussex captain, John Barclay, who made the announcement at today’s MCC annual meeting.

It is a particular honour for a journalist, following to the office as he does the likes of great England players and captains such as Derek Underwood and Mike Brearley, Barclay’s immediate predecessors as MCC President. It is not the first “first” that Martin-Jenkins has scored for journalists: in 2007 he became the first career journalist and broadcaster to be invited to speak at the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture. Previous lecturers had all been former international cricketers.

Martin-Jenkins, 65, has been an MCC member for more than 40 years, having played for the club 67 times in its club and school touring side. He was elected to the MCC Committee in 2009, and he also sits on the Arts & Library sub-committee.

Martin-Jenkins learned his cricket at Marlborough School, and once scored 99 at Lord’s playing against Rugby. But Martin-Jenkins’ cricket career did not extend beyond the Surrey 2nd XI (although his son, Robin, plays first-class cricket for Sussex). It was while at school that Martin-Jenkins wrote to Brian Johnston at the BBC asking him how he should go about becoming a cricket commentator; 11 years later, in 1973, Martin-Jenkins was appointed the BBC’s cricket correspondent.

After working with EW Swanton as assistant editor at The Cricketer, “CMJ” – as he was soon dubbed by Johnston – returned to The Cricketer as its editor in 1980.

While continuing to broadcast, in 1990, he joined the Daily Telegraph as cricket correspondent, switching to The Times in 1999, where he has remained a regular contributor since he was succeeded in 2008 by Michael Atherton.

Annoucing the appointment today, Barclay said: “Christopher has a wealth of cricket knowledge and a very strong connection to the sport; quite simply, he loves the game.

“Working within the world of cricket for over 40 years, he is, I believe, ideally placed to serve as MCC President.

“Following in the footsteps of former professionals such as Mike Brearley, Derek Underwood and myself, I think it’s nice to have a bit of variety in the role.

“I am delighted to nominate Christopher Martin-Jenkins as MCC President and believe he will do an excellent job.”

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