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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Terry Jenner, 1944-2011

TJ's frankness and humour stood out

A friend and captain pays tribute to Terry Jenner

Ian Chappell

May 25, 2011

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Terry Jenner bowls at the nets, November 17. 1970
Wristspinners the world over have lost a great ally © Getty Images
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Terry Jenner has passed away and wristspinners the world over have lost a great ally.

There weren't many better qualified to speak on the subject of wrist-spin bowling than TJ and he was a fierce protector of the art. He understood the art and its practitioners and most importantly, was able to communicate his thoughts clearly and concisely, at times with a brutal frankness that typified the man.

As his captain for many years, first with South Australia and then at the international level, it was his honesty I appreciated almost as much as his wicket-taking ability. If Terry had a problem with my captaincy, and he often did, I quickly knew about it. There would be this thunk on the wooden table in the Adelaide Oval main dressing room and I'd say, "Do we have a problem Terrence?"

TJ would then sit down and pour two beers from his large bottle and we'd swap viewpoints. Whether we agreed or not that would be the end of the matter; the next day we'd start again from scratch. A captain appreciates it when his players don't hold any grudges from past dealings.

It was also hard to get cranky with TJ. He was usually complaining because either I didn't bowl him enough or he'd been operating down wind. It's difficult for a captain to fault a bowler who wants more work.

TJ also had a sense of humour; he often needed it as he battled life's ups and downs. His humour came to the fore when he was in jail for embezzlement in the late 1980s and the early 90s. He was made coach of the jail's cricket team. On one occasion they travelled to play a "clean team" as he called them, in other words a non-jail side. That day they were short a scorer, so TJ kept tally and played his role as coach. At the end of a very tight game, TJ had his jail team winning by a couple of runs. The opposition coach complained bitterly and things looked like getting out of hand when TJ lightened the mood; "Mate," he said, "I could count the money, I just didn't bank it."

Terry got a raw deal with his extremely severe jail term. He'd done wrong and he admitted it but as I wrote back in 1988; "I don't consider TJ to be a criminal. Never have, never will." He received six-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of three years. As a QC told me, that is a ridiculous penalty for a comparatively small amount of money.

 
 
It was also hard to get cranky with TJ. He was usually complaining because either I didn't bowl him enough or he'd been operating down wind. It's difficult for a captain to fault a bowler who wants more work.
 

Nevertheless, Terry did his time and as he often said afterwards, "I've come out a better man." Never was a truer word spoken. He became a mentor for Shane Warne and hundreds of other spinners around the world. In November last year a group of cricket lovers in the UK walked from The Oval to Lord's to raise money for the charity that supported TJ's development of spinners in England. People who met TJ didn't forget him. They may not have always agreed with him but they remembered him; he was a character who spoke about life with commonsense.

He was also an extremely capable broadcaster for a number of years on ABC radio. And he was an excellent and entertaining speaker whether it be as MC of one of his fabulous Test Brekkies in Adelaide or at an after dinner gig.

And TJ never forgot those who helped him. Roger Bryson from the Adelaide Mission was a great supporter of his while he was in jail. After he was released, TJ organised some of the best fund-raising functions in Adelaide to repay what he felt was his debt. I've no doubt Roger will tell you he got the better end of that deal.

TJ was also a doting father and an adoring grandfather. I wouldn't mind betting TJ felt he had an incentive to be a good father. When he was a young lad growing up in Corrigin in the wheat belt of Western Australia, TJ went against his father's wishes. He continued to pursue a cricket career when his dad wanted him to study accountancy. While TJ's judgement proved correct he never received acknowledgement from his father. TJ told me all he wanted when he was first selected for Australia in 1970-71 was a telegram from his dad saying, "Well done."

There'll be no shortage of people at TJ's funeral who will say "well done" for the contribution he's made to society. And there'll be plenty of his mates charging their glasses to TJ and drinking a toast. That's the way he'd want it; the only thing missing will be that thunk of the beer bottle on the wooden table.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by Rahul_78 on (May 26, 2011, 9:34 GMT)

Respect to Sir Ian. Wonderful memoir. RIP TJ!

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 9:10 GMT)

Very heartfelt! Long live leg spin bowling!

Posted by   on (May 26, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

A brillaint article on Terry Jenner by Ian Chappel

Posted by 100_rabh on (May 26, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

well written IC, a fantastic farewell to the flagbearer of one of the most fascinating art in the cricket

Posted by PeteB on (May 26, 2011, 5:20 GMT)

I always enjoyed listening to Terry on the ABC radio commentary. Vale and condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by InsideHedge on (May 26, 2011, 1:07 GMT)

He mentored Shane Warne. That alone makes his a great contribution to the game of cricket.

Posted by mandi on (May 25, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

GREAT CRICKETER he was,RIP.

Posted by   on (May 25, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

Well written. RIP, Terrence.

Posted by   on (May 25, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

and so say many of us Thanks for the contribution Terry and thanks to Ian for an appropriate farewell.

Posted by subodhhc on (May 25, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

The article about TJ is well written and TJ has been very aptly described, Chappelli. U know he never forgot ur gesture of taking him for a drink once he got out of prison and what u told him when he was apprehensive about entering the place. I dont know if he told u this but he always had the highest respect for u as a person, friend, colleague and captain (even though he himself admitted to being on the wrong side with u on numerous occasions where his bowling was concerned!) Thanks for reliving some of the moments from his playing and coaching career. Will miss him dearly but I for one will definitely carry forward his legacy of leg spin bowling! To Terry Jenner, the most honest and astute cricket coach ever!

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Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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