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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Cricket mourns death of Frindall

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Frindall was 'consummate professional' - Agnew

BBC Test Match Special statistician and scorer Bill Frindall has died at the age of 69 after suffering from Legionnaire's disease.

Known as 'Bearders' and also dubbed 'the Bearded Wonder' by commentator Brian Johnston, Frindall was the longest serving member of the TMS team.

He joined the BBC in 1966 and wrote several statistical cricket books, editing the Playfair annual since 1986.

Frindall was appointed an MBE in 2004 for his services to the sport.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said: "He brought scoring alive.

"This is what Bill will always be remembered for. He brought to life this weird and wonderful world of cricket scoring that other people might find tedious and boring. He made scoring into an art form.

"He had this incredible scoring system that made every ball an event. If you referred back to something that had happened earlier in the day, he would know exactly which delivery you would be talking about.

"And if you had a query on a statistic, he would have the answer in seconds, his records were so meticulous.

TMS BLOG
TMS producer Adam Mountford

"He also played the role of curmudgeon in the box, if ever we strayed too far away from talking about the cricket he would bring us back."

Long-serving former TMS producer Peter Baxter said: "Bill was part of the family. TMS has been a family for a long time - I first set foot inside a commentary box in 1966, he was there then and he was certainly there when I retired from it in 2007.

"He would occupy his corner of the commentary box and woe betide anyone who tripped over and made a mess of any of his papers.

"He liked to check and be careful but he'd written most of the record books himself so he knew where to look - he'd probably have a shrewd idea of the answer but he just wanted to make sure in that meticulous scorer's way - he knew what he was looking for and knew it inside out.

"He could be quite serious, he had an impish sense of humour, very dry and quite laconic, but the great thing about him was phenomenal powers of concentration which he said he'd learned in RAF, where he did national service.

"Then he extended it working in Nato command centre in Fontainbleau, during that time he really learnt concentration.

"He could get up from his desk, walk to the back of the box and pour himself coffee while three balls were bowled, but he'd always know exactly what had happened and record it.

"We trusted him to the extend that if he said scoreboard was wrong, we'd go with him not the scoreboard - his MBE was a real tribute to his service."

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England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris added: "Bill Frindall was renowned for the sheer breadth of his knowledge and the deep and lasting affection he had for the game of cricket itself.

"He will be much missed not only by millions of radio listeners worldwide but also by the fraternity of cricketing scorers in England and Wales whose work he did so much to champion.

"On behalf of the many past and present England players who considered him a good friend, I would like to send our condolences to his family."

International Cricket Council President David Morgan said: "The news of Bill's passing has shocked me and my thoughts and those of everyone at the ICC go out to his wife Debbie, other members of his family and friends.

"Cricket owes Bill a huge debt of thanks because his tireless work has helped create a context for the game we know today.

"He was one of the first people to bring together records from the history of Test cricket and put them all in one place, publishing the scorecards and records of every Test match played. That has allowed people to more easily compare players and teams from different eras.

"Bill was the gold standard of cricket statisticians, someone universally recognised within the game as a master of his art, and a prolific author.

"He was an integral part of the BBC's cricket coverage for more than 40 years and, away from that arena, he was a passionate supporter of the Lord's Taverners charity and blind cricket.

"Bill's devotion to the game of cricket was truly outstanding and he will be sorely missed."

Former England fast bowler Mike Selvey spent more than 20 years alongside Frindall on the TMS team, and said: "He was a broadcasting legend, without necessarily being a broadcaster.

"He took one of the most mundane jobs in cricket and made himself an institution.

"And having worked with him for so long, I was extremely fond of him."

Another member of the TMS team, Alison Mitchell, added: "There are in-depth tributes written elsewhere on this site, so I will keep this brief and say rest in peace Bill.

"You made scoring an art form, and will be remembered as a legend.

"As the youngest member of the BBC cricket team, I listened to Bill on the radio for many more years than I worked with him, but I feel lucky to have overlapped at least a few years with the Bearded Wonder."

Frindall wrote a regular column for the BBC Sport website, and latterly the TMS blog, in which he invited readers to 'Stump the Bearded Wonder'.

A huge variety of questions on cricket statistics, records, laws of the game and a number of other more quirky incidents came in regularly from when it began on 16 May 2001 until it finished 185 editions later in January 2009.

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see also
Remembering the Bearded Wonder
30 Jan 09 |  Cricket
Cricket's bearded wonder made MBE
12 Jun 04 |  Wiltshire


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