Tony Lewis

 

Anthony Robert (Tony) Lewis CBE (m. 1959) is a former Welsh cricketer, who went on to become the face of BBC Television cricket coverage in the 1990s, and become president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

Lewis was born in Swansea on 6 July 1938, and attended Neath Grammar School for Boys and then Christ's College from 1959, where he read History. He played county cricket for Glamorgan, and is the only Glamorgan cricketer to have captained England. He led the 1972–73 MCC tour of India, Ceylon and Pakistan, playing for England in all eight Test matches.  He was selected for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales as a first violin.

Lewis made his first-class cricket debut in 1955 at the age of 17, playing for Glamorgan against Leicestershire in the County Championship while still at School. After doing his National Service in the RAF, he established himself in first-class cricket in 1960, when in his first year at Cambridge he scored 1307 runs at 43.56, followed by 616 runs at 30.80 when he played for Glamorgan later in the season. He was captain of Cricket at Cambridge in his final season there in 1962, when in all matches he made 2188 runs at 40.51, with five centuries. He also topped 2000 runs in 1966, when he made 2190 runs, more than anybody else in the season, at 40.51, including his only double-century, 223 against Kent at Gravesend after Glamorgan had followed on. He captained Glamorgan from 1967 to 1972, taking the county to its second championship in 1969, when Glamorgan went through the season undefeated.

He was the last man to captain England on his Test debut. He led England on a five-month tour in 1972/73 to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Despite having no Test match experience, Lewis scored 70 not out in his debut Test in Delhi which guided England to their first victory on the Indian subcontinent for more than two decades. England lost the next two Tests, but Lewis went on to score his maiden Test hundred (125) in Kanpur. He then captained England a total of eight times, achieving England's first Test victory in India since 1951, losing twice and drawing five times. In the light of his achievements, Lewis was picked as vice-captain to Ray Illingworth, when the latter returned from his self-imposed break the following summer.

Lewis also played rugby union for Neath and Gloucester before winning a blue for Cambridge in The Varsity Match in 1959. Chronic knee trouble, which had curtailed his rugby career, meant that Lewis retired from cricket at the age of 34. When he was asked to captain England in West Indies in 1974, he declined, and subsequently retired from cricket and concentrated on writing and broadcasting. In 1965 he began writing rugby union reports for The Daily Telegraph and 1975 he was appointed Cricket and Rugby correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph. His broadcasting extended from Test Match Special to the anchor man of all of BBC television's coverage of cricket, from 1986 to 1999, and he was the initial presenter of the popular Radio 4 magazine programme, Sport on Four.

After long service to cricket at Lord's, having been instrumental in committee work from 1967 to 2011, he went on to create and chair the MCC World Cricket Committee from 2006 to 2011, opposing all cricket decisions that were led by money, race or religion. He also initiated MCC research into the use of a pink ball in Day/Night Test matches. He was MCC President for two years between 1998 and 2000 and in 2011 he became the 31st Honorary Life Vice-President of MCC to be nominated by the Club.

Lewis also turned his high profile in cricket and broadcasting to the benefit of his home country, Wales, by chairing the Wales Tourist Board for three terms, the Glamorgan Cricket Club for five seasons, and becoming a Trustee of the new Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay and chairman of the Welsh National Opera Company. Lewis made an important contribution to Welsh golf ambitions by leading the Wales Ryder Cup Bid in 2010 and worked for University College of Wales, Newport, as a consultant for five years. Lewis served a year as High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan for 1998. He was awarded the CBE for services to cricket, broadcasting and Wales, in the 2004 New Year Honours. He was an honorary Fellow of Welsh Universities Cardiff, Swansea, Glamorgan, Cardiff Metropolitan and Newport.

From 2003, Lewis was a consultant to University College of Wales, Newport, and, having returned to live in Porthcawl in 2010 accepted the offices of Captain, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club and President, Wales, of the Lord'sTaverners charity, both organisations among his lifetime allegiances. He continues his freelance writing particularly as a weekly columnist for the Western Mail Magazine, launched January 2015.


 

 
 

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