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Test Match Special's Peter Baxter
"Swanton was a major figure in cricket journalism for two generations"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 January, 2000, 19:36 GMT
Cricket pundit Swanton dies

Cricket writer and BBC commentator EW Swanton has died in hospital in Canterbury after a short illness, aged 92.

Christened Ernest, but always called Jim, Swanton spent more than 30 years broadcasting for the BBC.

He was a regular Test Match Special commentator until his retirement, his fruity voice easily recognisable.


EW Swanton: Journalist, player, commentator and author
But he was not afraid to speak out, expressing his hatred of South Africa's apartheid regime and later of Australian tycoon Kerry Packer, who he called "the anti-Christ".

"This is a very sad day for cricket," said former Test umpire Dickie Bird.

"I have lost a close friend - and so has the game of cricket. He was probably the finest journalist I met and I have known him all my career, both as an player and an umpire at cricket grounds all around the world."



In the Thai jungle my 1939 Wisden was in such demand that at one camp borrowers had to be limited to 12 hours each
EW Swanton
Broadcaster Michael Parkinson said: "Jim Swanton was not the greatest stylist, but he was the most authoritative commentator of the game.

"He was a man of his time and he could be incredibly pompous. Once when he did a TV piece to camera, a small boy wandered aimlessly in front.

"Swanton took him to task like the headmaster of Greyfriars. But he was extraordinarily professional and a wonderful journalist."

Swanton, who lived in Sandwich, Kent, worked for the London Evening Standard before World War II and also had a brief playing career with Middlesex.

His first article, and the only one to appear under the name of Ernest Swanton, was published in 1926, about all-rounder Frank Woolley.

During the war he was captured at Singapore and held prisoner for three years.

After his release he became the Daily Telegraph's cricket, football and rugby correspondent. But his number one passion was cricket - a game he fell in love with as a boy and still enjoyed in his 90s.

He wrote more than 20 books, had a collection of Wisden - cricket's annual Bible - dating back to 1879, covered 20 Test tours and twice took a team of his own to the West Indies.



He always tried to do the best for the highest principles of the game
Lord Swanton
Swanton, who as a baby was taken to a game in which WG Grace score a century, was married with no children.

His services to the sport were awarded with the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and the Command of the British Empire in 1994.

Former England and Yorkshire fast bowler Fred Trueman said: "This is the end of an era of great cricket writers. I still looked forward to reading what he wrote in the Daily Telegraph even in his old age.

"I don't think all Yorkshiremen were his greatest favourites, but you cannot take away his ability with the pen."

Former England and Kent captain Lord Cowdrey added: "He gave his whole life to the game of cricket, interrupted only by some miserable years as a prisoner of war of the Japanese.

"He became a supreme journalist with very strong views. He always tried to do the best for the highest principles of the game."

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