Mr Jonathan Agnew MBE, DL

Doctor of Letters, Wednesday 18 July, 11am


Jonathan Philip Agnew, MBE, DL is an English cricket broadcaster and a former professional cricketer. He was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire and educated at Uppingham School. He is nicknamed "Aggers".

Agnew had a successful first-class career as a fast bowler for Leicestershire from 1979 to 1990, returning briefly in 1992. In first-class cricket he took 666 wickets at an average of 29.25. Agnew won three Test caps for England, as well as playing three One Day Internationals in the mid-1980s, although his entire international career lasted just under a year. In county cricket, Agnew's most successful seasons came toward the end of his career, after his last international match, when he had learned to swing the ball. He was second- and third-leading wicket-taker in 1987 and 1988 respectively, including the achievement of 100 wickets in a season in 1987. He was named as one of the five Cricketers of the Year by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1988.

While still a player, Agnew began a career in cricket journalism and commentary. Since his retirement as a player, he has become a leading voice of cricket on radio, as the BBC Radio cricket correspondent and as a commentator on Test Match Special. He has also contributed as a member of Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Grandstand team. Agnew's on-air “leg over” comment on Test Match Special, made to fellow commentator Brian Johnston in 1991, provoked giggling fits during a live broadcast and reaction from across England. The incident has been voted "the greatest sporting commentary ever" in a BBC poll. Michael Henderson, one of Agnew's peers and rivals, has described him as "a master broadcaster ... the pick of the sports correspondents at the BBC."

Press comment

“I am very proud to be recognised by the University of Leicester. This wonderful city remains a big part of my life, even having retired from the Cricket Club many years ago and I am thrilled that through this award, our connection is strengthened further.”

Video of Jonathan Agnew's oration and response

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