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Terry Jenner dies after long illness

Daniel Brettig

May 25, 2011

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Terry Jenner conducts a spin coaching clinic at Harare Sports Club, February 4, 2010
Terry Jenner had suffered a massive heart attack last year © Zimbabwe Cricket
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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 ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

I just love Leg Spin bowling, being a leg spinner who played club cricket. I was not fortunate enough to meet him in my youth otherwise my life could have changed as a cricketer. RIP Great Man, young spinners will miss your guidance.

Posted by BombaWiggins on (May 26, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

R.I.P. Terry, thank you for your contribution to Australian cricket and bringing spin back in favour :)

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

God Bless Your Soul. Rest In Peace.

Posted by fazald on (May 26, 2011, 4:42 GMT)

Australia needs more cricketers like Terry Jenner to help teach our cricketers the art of spin bowling when our cupboards are virtually bare.Unfortunately nowaday's money does all the talking.All those who have benefited from his coaching should come forward to lend a helping hand to help our spin bowlers in this country.

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

RIP terry jenner. I wish you can teach me how to bowl like shane warne. i saw video in youtube but i cant throw like that.

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

TJ's value to the game is that he managed Warne's ego better than any other and that is what kept him in the game early in his career and allowed him to develop Warne into the genius he was.

TJ Aussie cricket will sorely miss you.

Posted by truth1 on (May 25, 2011, 21:09 GMT)

RIP Terry. You returned more to the world of cricket than you received from it. God bless your family.

Posted by   on (May 25, 2011, 20:08 GMT)

the spin Doctor ......... RIP

Posted by RaoMeister on (May 25, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

RIP Mr.Jenner. The world of Cricket lost one of its best spin coaches....

Posted by awg3599 on (May 25, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

I worked with Terry many times and shall remember fondly the nights spent in the free bar at Taunton School after the coaching had been done! He was a remarkable character and he carried a joie de vivre with him despite some of his own personal setbacks. The mere mention of a couple of names (such as Ian Chappell or Tony Greig) were guaranteed to set him off into animated reminiscence.

It is worth remembering that his time coaching in England (at these wrist-spinners special summer "camps") may well yet produce England's next test leg-spinner, as the young Rashid was one of his pupils.

RIP TJ

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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