Jack Bannister, the former Warwickshire seam bowler, broadcaster and an important figure in the Professional Cricketers’ Association since its inception in 1967, has died aged 85.
Bannister attended the inaugural meeting of the PCA at the Cricketers’ Club in London and went on to serve the Association as secretary for 20 years, chairman and president.
His outstanding service to the PCA was recognised with a Special Merit Award in 2011.
Bannister helped to improve the conditions for county players during his time as secretary and he was also instrumental in setting up the pension scheme for county players.
After retiring from playing Bannister became a bookmaker, a business that was taken over by his daughter when his broadcasting career blossomed.
As well as being cricket correspondent of the ‘Birmingham Post’ Bannister commentated for BBC radio and television, worked as a broadcaster in South Africa where he had coached and, more recently, worked for Talksport.
Jason Ratcliffe, Assistant Chief Executive of the PCA and Chairman of the Warwickshire Old County Cricketers’ Association, said: “Everyone at the PCA is very saddened to hear the news of Jack’s death and our thoughts go to his family, many friends and colleagues.
“Only yesterday we were editing footage for a new profile video for the PCA and we were going through the filming we did with Jack at his home in Brecon for his Special Merit Award in 2011.
“There is no denying that every cricketer owes Jack a huge debt of gratitude because he was one of the pioneers who were responsible for laying the foundations for the organisation we have now.
“Jack was always a players’ man and he worked tirelessly to improve pay and conditions for players during his long association with the PCA.
“He was a fantastic cricketer with an outstanding record for Warwickshire. After he retired from playing, Jack became an influential figure in the broadcasting box from where he continued to promote the game he loved.
“My links with Jack go back a long way. My father, David, was a team mate of Jack’s at Warwickshire and Jack was cricket correspondent of the ‘Birmingham Post’ when I came onto the staff at Edgbaston.
“Jack had excellent contacts at the club and the wider game and he always seemed to know our team before the players did.”
Jack Bannister was born in Wolverhampton in August 1930 but he was raised in Birmingham, living close to Warwickshire’s home ground and attending King Edward VI, Five Ways school.
He played Second XI cricket in 1959 and made his first team debut against Glamorgan at Swansea in August 1950.
Bannister was part of the County Championship-winning squad of 1951 although he did not play a match until the title had already been won.
Bannister played 374 first-class matches before he retired in 1968, taking 1,198 wickets with 53 five wicket hauls.
His best figures of 10-41 were taken against the Combined Services at Portland Road in Edgbaston in May 1959.
He took nine for 35 against Yorkshire at Bramall Lane in 1955 where only the wicket of Brian Close, bowled by Roly Thompson, eluded him.
Bannister played in two Gillette Cup finals, a defeat by Sussex in 1964 and a victory over Worcestershire two years later, and made his final first team appearance against Sussex in the first season of the Sunday League in 1969.