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May 25, 2011
Terry Jenner, the former Australian legspinner and noted bowling coach of Shane Warne, has died after a long period of ill health. He was 66.
Taking part in nine Tests for Australia between 1970 and 1975, reaping 24 wickets at 31.20, Jenner found life difficult following his playing days, and in 1988 was jailed for embezzlement related to gambling debts. He re-emerged in middle age as the mentor of Warne, helping to mould a prolific talent and then popping up for a chat and a coaching session whenever Warne needed a tune-up. This role was as fruitful for Jenner's public rehabilitation as it was for Warne's bowling.
"Very sad day, since hearing the news of my great friend TJ's passing. My sympathy to all his family - the great man will be missed - RIP !," Warne tweeted on the evening of Jenner's death. "He gave up so much of his time for cricket and spin bowling - he was an amazing man - full of knowledge and wanted to share it."
When Jenner emerged from prison, he was quickly given the chance to work as a spin bowling mentor at the Cricket Academy in Adelaide, where Rod Marsh had recently been installed as coach. Jenner was put in touch with Warne, then a pudgy youth with two Tests and one wicket to his name, and a pivotal relationship was formed.
"He'd been in prison before I got to Adelaide and he had no confidence," Marsh told ESPNcricinfo. "I got him into coaching at the academy and that got him some of his self-confidence back.
"Having Shane as one of his boys to coach was really significant for him and that gave him almost a reason to live, he was so ashamed about what had happened.
"From there he went from strength to strength, he coached in so many countries and did a great job in England, he was over there every year and basically became the spin coach for the ECB."
The peaks and troughs of Jenner's life had for a while seemed confined to the cricket field, where he had to work assiduously to keep his leg breaks under control while also assenting to the whims of his captains. Starting in Western Australia, Jenner moved alongside Ashley Mallett in 1967 to Adelaide, where he would accumulate 389 first-class wickets at 32.18. Differences with authority were common, while the seeds of a heavy gambling habit were sown that would ultimately see him placed behind bars 20 years later.
Rehabilitated by the academy and Warne's arrival, Jenner maintained a hectic lifestyle between 1992 and 2010, coaching and commentating widely while also becoming synonymous as a gregarious presence in cricket, notably through his hosting of the Adelaide Test match breakfast.
"Working with Shane changed everything," Jenner said in 2010. "I was out there earning the respect of people and the good news is that I felt like I'd redeemed myself for the downs I had."
His visits with Warne often took place at times when Warne's technique or attitude were at a low ebb. Among the most notable sessions was a heart-to-heart at the beginning of the 2005 Ashes, after Warne had struggled for torque and traction in his early season stint with Hampshire. He was also at Adelaide in 2006 to offer advice between innings before Warne engineered the most stunning of English collapses in the second Test.
Others to benefit from Jenner's tutelage included the prolific Indian Anil Kumble, who struggled on Australian pitches in 1999-2000 but returned far more handsome figures in 2003-04 after being advised to vary his pace.
"He was probably the best coach I've ever worked with," said Marsh. "I don't know what the definition of coach is in the dictionary but he had it. He could explain what was wrong with a bowler better than anyone and then explain how to fix it better than anyone."
|"He was probably the best coach I've ever worked with. I don't know what the definition of coach is in the dictionary but he had it. He could explain what was wrong with a bowler better than anyone and then explain how to fix it better than anyone." Rod Marsh on Terry Jenner|
Jenner suffered a massive heart attack on April 7 last year in England and flew home to Australia with a doctor by his side. Failing health shed kilograms from Jenner's frame and ended his days of coaching and travelling, but he made sure to visit Adelaide Oval during the December Ashes Test. Operating at a mere 15% of heart capacity, Jenner was increasingly restricted to time at home, but remained keenly interested in the game.
Marsh visited Jenner a few days before his death and said he had continued to worry over the prospects for young spin bowlers in the 21st century game.
"We talked about it last week, he said 'it's a shame there aren't more coming through of the required standard, and one regret I have is that not enough people really know about spin bowling'," Marsh said. "All the work he did with other coaches, he would be disappointed some of those other coaches he worked with haven't been able to relay the message 100%."
His health continued to deteriorate into 2011, until he died at 12.15pm local time on May 25 in the beach-side suburb of Brighton. Jenner's funeral will be held at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, May 31.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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