Warwickshire and England legend MJK Smith returned to Edgbaston on Sunday to celebrate his 90th birthday and watch his beloved Bears in Vitality Blast action.
Michael John Knight Smith – who captained Warwickshire a record 327 times – was a guest of honour during the North Group finale against Durham where he marked his milestone birthday with friends and family.
He took time to see the Club’s newly repositioned MJK Gates, behind the Eric Hollies Stand, which were initially erected in his honour by the main entrance but moved following the piazza’s development.
As a player MJK Smith scored more than 30,000 runs for the Bears and is remembered as a shot-making, positive player in the days of largely reserved championship cricket.
But would an MJK in his pomp have slotted into the Bears Blast line-up?
“I wasn’t known as a banger of the ball, a really big hitter, but I could score a few runs,” said Mike with some understatement. “I played at a time when the One Day Cup (40 overs) was introduced; players and supporters really enjoyed it and there were some big crowds.
“I don’t get to come to Edgbaston as much these days but, when I do, it’s always a thrill and of course I’ve got so many incredible memories here.”
MJK Smith scored 39,832 runs in a 25-year career and was also capped 50 times by England, half of which came as captain between 1963 and 1966.
Having retired from the First Class game in 1975, he became Club Chairman between 1991 and 2003, and was an ICC match referee between 1991 and 1996.
Warwickshire President Dennis Amiss said: “MJK is a great stalwart of the Club. He gave over 50 years’ service as a player, captain, secretary and finally Chairman.
“I was fortunate to play with and under him. He was a fantastic player for both the Bears and England. He Became my Chairman when I was CEO and was always very supportive; we were a fantastic partnership together and helped the Bears win 11 trophies in 12 years.
“I had the greatest admiration for him both on and off the field. He was admired by many for his stature in the game and it was a pleasure to join him to celebrate his 90th birthday. What a great innings!”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.