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 who died this year.
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.
Cricket lost one of its greatest friends with CMJ’s passing
Mike Griffith, MCC President and lifelong friend of Christopher Martin-Jenkins, spoke sait it was fitting that the awards had been created in the name of Martin-Jenkins:
"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," said the former Sussex captain.
"MCC 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 Cricket Correspondent and Test Match Special Commentator, Jonathan Agnew, added his thoughts on the award.
He said: "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.