Cricket is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. Every Saturday and Sunday, fans can enjoy a game featuring fast-paced action and spectacular shots as the teams battle it out for domination. It is often said that the sport is quite unpredictable, which makes it all the more interesting to follow. However, not all the games end in great success for the home team. Depending on the scoreline, the fans may leave the field dejected, or even frustrated.
Ames Pattinson was a well-known cricket commentator who worked for the BBC and ESPN. He spent most of his life in England, but also traveled the world covering cricket matches. He was regarded as one of British sport’s greats, and was affectionately known as “AP” or “Amesie” among his friends and fans. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 86, and his family requested that his death be kept private. Therefore, very little is known about his life before he started commentating on cricket matches. Thanks to a large digital footprint left behind by Ames, we were able to piece together a complete picture of the versatile sports personality, including rare photos and the occasional video recording.
Ames’ Early Life And Education
Ames was born in 1925 in England, and grew up with a love of sport and playing football. He was the eldest of four siblings, and his family moved to Kent when he was 11 years old. It was there that he began his education at a local private school, where he excelled and helped the football team to win the school championship. He went on to study at the prestigious Cambridge University, where he was the captain of the cricket team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and became a master of arts at the University of London.
Ames began his broadcasting career in 1952, and soon after began commentating on Test cricket matches for the BBC. It was during this time that he developed a reputation as a thoughtful and articulate commentator. Over the next few years, he would go on to cover cricket games for the BBC in England, Pakistan, and India. In addition to his work for the BBC, he was also a roving reporter for the London Evening News and the Daily Mail, as well as a war correspondent in Cyprus during the 1960s. In 1978, he began working for ESPN, where he would remain until his death. At ESPN, he commentated on major sporting events, including the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cups. During these events, he interviewed famous sportspeople, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, and David Beckham. While working for ESPN, he also wrote a regular column for the newspaper The Independent. He covered major news stories, including the Falklands War, the war in Iraq, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In an interview with the BBC, he said that “at 86, [he is] still as sharp as a whip” and went on to say that he looked forward to “retiring[ing] when [he is] 90.”
Ames’ Cricket Career
While he was an excellent sports journalist, it was as a cricket commentator that Ames is best remembered. He began covering cricket for the BBC in 1952, and remained with the organization until his death. In addition to the BBC, he also worked for ESPN, where he covered both domestic and international games. He was renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of the sport, and his ability to break down the game’s technical aspects for the less informed fan. He was also an outspoken voice against political correctness, telling fans on more than one occasion that they should “mind their language,” and “not be afraid of telling it like [they] see[n] it.” He was an Honorary Member of the ICC, the world governing body for cricket, and was also a Member of the England Committee, the organization that governs England’s cricket teams. He was appointed as the chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club in 1995, and served in the position until his death. In an interview with The Independent, he reflected on his career, saying:
- “I’ve seen more ups and downs than anybody in this business.”
- “One of my mentors was Basil D’Oliveira, who was very good at cricket journalism. He used to say that when he wanted to write about something, he just turned on the light in his study and started writing. He was a very practical man.”
- “I suppose being a bit of a rebel is part of it. I’ve always been fascinated by the game, but I’ve never been that interested in following the rules. I just want to tell it like it is.”
Why Did Ames Stop Covering Cricket?
It’s not known exactly why Ames left cricket coverage, but in an interview with The Guardian, he said:
- “I suppose when [I] stopped I was in my 80s. I continued to write for The Independent, but mostly about other sports.”
- “I think when you get to my age, you get to the stage where you just don’t want to do the same thing all the time.”
- “There were always other things I wanted to do.”
Tributes And Final Words
In the weeks following his death, tributes poured in for the legendary commentator. The ECB paid tribute to him, saying:
- “Not only was he a fantastic commentator, but he was also a staunch advocate for cricket. His contribution to our national sport will never be forgotten.”
- “We will miss him dearly.”
- “He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him or had the pleasure of listening to him.”
Friends and fans set up a crowdfunding page in his memory, which was fully funded within 48 hours. In an interview with the BBC, his family remembered him as a “gentleman of the highest order,” and said that his “passion for cricket never diminished.” The Guardian reported that he was “largely responsible for turning a generation of British fans on to cricket,” and that “his knowledge and enthusiasm will be hugely missed.” His granddaughter, Charlotte, said in an interview with the BBC:
- “Everyone in our family is hugely proud of what he achieved in his career, but we are most thankful for the positive impact he had on our lives, especially how much he encouraged us to participate in sport.”
- “He loved having fun and being active, and he looked forward to the rare times he was able to do either of those things.”
What Is Cricket’s Reaction To Ames’ Death?
The cricket world grieved the loss of their beloved commentator, and many praised his passion and love for the game. While some celebrated his knowledge and love of the game, others mourned his passing and spoke of his contribution to the sport. Here are some of the more memorable tributes:
‘One Of The Most Thoughtful And Articulate Cricket Commentators’
The English cricket team paid tribute to Ames, calling him “one of the most thoughtful and articulate cricket commentators,” and “a true gentleman.” They continued:
- “His insight into the game, coupled with his impeccable verbal sparring, made him a joy to listen to.”
- “His passion and encyclopedic knowledge of the game will be greatly missed.”
- “His wisdom and humor will be treasured by those who knew him and by those who follow the game.”
- “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and everybody connected with cricket.”
The Football Association paid tribute to Ames, saying that he was “a football institution” and describing him as “football’s grandpa.” They continued: