Sports journalist Ted Corbett passes away

The veteran journalist continued to write his weekly columns for The Hindu and the magazine Sportstar well beyond his 80th birthday.

A file picture of Ted Corbett.

Ted Corbett

Born: Birmingham. February 21, 1935

Died: Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon. August 9, 2017

Ted Corbett, who has died aged 82, took pride in his lowly beginnings. His father left the family in the middle of World War II so that he and his sister were brought up by their mother in between her duties as headmistress of the village school. Chance found him working as a tea boy at the Yorkshire Evening Press, more good luck sent him to Japan on his National Service and back in England he rose through the ranks of the sub-editors.

He had told the man teaching the paper’s young journalists that he wanted to be a cricket reporter. “Don’t be ridiculous,” was the reply. “Those jobs are like gold dust.”

Thirty years later he achieved his ambition to take on “the most envied job in newspapers” as cricket correspondent of a national paper.

Another lucky break during his National Service put him in charge of Japan News, the paper for the British forces in Korea, before his progress through the national papers – the Daily Herald, the Sun, the Mirror — took him to the Daily Star and “thanks to another scrap of good luck” — to seven years as their cricket man.

“It was an era when cricket writers were replaced regularly, but when the Star tried to get rid of me, I walked out of the office and set up my own freelance agency, helped by some good friends and a generous pension plan,” Ted Corbett had said.

With his partner, the TV and radio scorer, Jo King, Corbett turned Cricket Direct into a highly professional agency, reporting cricket from every Test playing nation: from the outback in Australia, the back of a swaying and bouncing bus in a dangerous South African township and with rainwater lapping round his knees during a thunderstorm in Zimbabwe. “Happily, reporting directly from our computers gave us a vital edge,” he used to say.

“We had a wonderful time, viewing the wild life in all ten of the cricket playing countries, making friends and, never missing a day’s work through illness,” Corbett had said.

Jo won fame as the scorer for both Sky TV and BBC and is now an administrator for Huntingdonshire Cricket Board.

Corbett retired from the travelling side of journalism in 2008. He continued to write his weekly columns for The Hindu and the magazine Sportstar well beyond his 80th birthday.