John Woodcock dies aged 94 as cricket bids farewell to ‘one of the best writers’

Former cricket writer and Wisden editor John Woodcock dies aged 94 – as the game recalls a flamboyant correspondent who once spent 43 DAYS driving to a test series in India in a Rolls Royce

  • Legendary former cricket Times correspondent John Woodcock has died at 94
  • Woodcock also edited Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack from 1981 to 1986
  • He was as loved by the players as he was by the press during a brilliant career

Cricket mourns John Woodcock, legendary former cricket correspondent of The times, who passed away at the age of 94.

Known as the ‘Sage of Longparish’ after the Hampshire village he called home, Woodcock is said to have seen more test matches – over 400 – than anyone else in the world until he was overtaken by Richie Benaud. He also edited Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack from 1981 to 1986.

But it was his newspaper work that earned him a lasting place in the cricket-writing pantheon. After finishing a 33-year stint as a Times correspondent in 1987, he continued to write for the newspaper well into his 90s, always in crystal-clear prose. He was as loved by the players as he was by the press.

John Woodcock has died aged 94 after a glittering career as a cricket writer

The legendary former cricket correspondent of The Times was also the editor of Wisden

The legendary former cricket correspondent of The Times was also the editor of Wisden

For his first work trip, to Australia in 1954-55, he traveled by boat – a three-week journey in which his only professional requirement was ‘400 words through Ceylon’ (now Sri Lanka).

On his last, to Pakistan in 1987-88, he received an unusual parting gift from the English players: an over in the nets against the leg-spinning great Abdul Qadir.

In between, Woodcock arrived in India in 1976-77 by Rolls-Royce, having completed the journey in 43 days with his friend and colleague Henry Blofeld.

Former England captain Mike Atherton, the current Times cricket correspondent, described Woodcock as ‘one of the best cricket writers and a great company’.

Woodcock's last tour as a cricket writer was in Pakistan during the winter of 1987-88

Woodcock’s last tour as a cricket writer was in Pakistan during the winter of 1987-88

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