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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the BBC have announced the creation of two ‘Spirit of Cricket’ awards in memory of Christopher Martin-Jenkins, the former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special Commentator.
The Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket awards, in association with MCC and BBC, will include an Elite Award and a Youth Award, with both intended to support the grassroots game in England and Wales.
The Elite Award will be presented to a professional cricketer who has made the biggest contribution to the Spirit of Cricket in the 2013 English cricket season - with overseas players being eligible. The Elite Award winner, together with a joint MCC and BBC judging panel, will choose the beneficiary of a £2,000 prize to support a cricket programme at a primary or secondary school.
The Youth Award will recognise an Under 16 junior cricketer or team in England and Wales who have best demonstrated the Spirit of Cricket in action. The Youth Award winner, alongside their team or class, will be invited to attend the Yorkshire Bank 40 Final at Lord's by MCC, with the BBC TMS commentators interviewing the winners on the day.
Application forms and nominations for the Elite and Youth awards will be made available later this summer on the Lord’s and BBC websites. Winners will be judged by a joint MCC and BBC panel.
Commenting on the creation of the awards, Mike Griffith, MCC President and lifelong friend of Christopher Martin-Jenkins, said:
“Cricket lost one of its greatest friends with CMJ’s passing, and I don’t think there was anybody in the game who did as much to promote the Spirit of Cricket as him. It is absolutely fitting therefore that MCC and the BBC have joined together to create these awards in his memory. The Club is passionate about its role as Guardian as the Laws and Spirit of Cricket and these awards will help to spread the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message throughout the professional and junior game in England and Wales. We very much hope to be inundated with nominations later in the summer.”
BBC Head of Radio Sport, Richard Burgess, said:
”CMJ was a much loved figure in the BBC and so it was befitting for us to create these awards with MCC to continue his love for the game. Cricket commentary on TMS is at the core of the BBC’s radio sport output and this is an opportunity for us to support the game at grassroots level, in memory of such a great commentator and ambassador of the game.”
BBC Cricket Correspondent and Test Match Special Commentator, Jonathan Agnew, adds:
“Christopher was absolutely passionate about the Spirit of Cricket and for the need for the game to be played not merely within the Laws, but also within the spirit of the Laws. Not a day will pass without us missing him in the commentary box and these awards will be a constant reminder of his great contribution to the game and also the standards that we strive to preserve.”
In judging the awards, both MCC and the BBC define the Spirit of Cricket as demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship, fair play and respect for captains, opponents, umpires and the game’s traditional values. Nominations might be along the lines of a single incident such as when Andrew Flintoff consoled Brett Lee at the end of the Edgbaston Test in 2005 or it may refer to a number of examples across the season.
Schools will be able to nominate themselves for the £2,000 Elite Award prize via the Lord’s or BBC websites. They will need to demonstrate a proven need for the donation and show how the money would make a real difference. Examples might be funds to form a team which could not otherwise exist, to support a new coaching programme or provide desperately-needed cricket equipment.
For the Youth Award, nominations must be submitted by a teacher, coach or a parent, with all cricket matches, regardless of the surface, number of players on each team or the type of ball, eligible for entry.
Full terms & conditions, along with application and nomination forms and for the Elite and Youth awards will be made available later this summer on the Lord’s and BBC websites.
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Notes to editors:
Christopher Martin-Jenkins enjoyed a long and warm relationship with MCC. He first played at Lord’s in 1962 – hitting a half-century for Marlborough College against Rugby School and a year later scored 99 in the annual fixture. He became an MCC Member in 1967 and went on to play 67 times for the Club before serving on several committees, including that which organised the celebratory events marking the Bicentenary of MCC in 1987.
In 2007 Christopher Martin-Jenkins became the first, and thus far only, career journalist and broadcaster to deliver the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture – previous lecturers had all been former international cricketers. In 2010 he was nominated by John Barclay to succeed him as President of MCC.
CMJ started commentating for BBC Test Match Special in 1973. He was also a chief cricket correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and then The Times newspapers.
MCC is the custodian of the Laws of Cricket. When the 2000 Code of Laws was introduced, it included, for the first time, a Preamble on the Spirit of Cricket. Colin Cowdrey and Ted Dexter, two distinguished MCC Members (and ex-England captains) were at the forefront of this MCC Spirit of Cricket campaign.
Now into its second decade, MCC Spirit of Cricket is a central force for good in the game at all levels. It has been embraced by the finest players – including all the IPL captains – in the world, and is also being used in schools to teach children about the benefits of teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship and learning how to win and lose. In partnership with UK charity the Cricket Foundation, 2013 will see over 400,000 children in around 4,000 schools across the UK introduced to the Spirit of Cricket message.
For more information please contact:
Head of Media & Public Affairs, MCC
Lord's Cricket Ground
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7616 8523
Mobile: +44 (0)7876 746038