Proteas

'Shattered' Jeremy Fredericks on Robin Jackman: 'I believe he was the best in the world'

Robin Jackman
Robin Jackman
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Fellow SuperSport commentator Jeremy Fredericks remembered his good friend, Robin Jackman following his passing on Christmas Day.
  • Fredericks told Sport24 that he was shattered to hear the news but was comforted that his friend of more than 30 years is at rest.
  • Fredericks also reminisced over a Boxing Day tradition, which saw him and Jackman belt out to Frank Sinatra's standard 'My Way'.


SuperSport commentator Jeremy Fredericks has paid a poignant tribute to his friend and former colleague Robin Jackman, who passed away on Christmas Day.

Jackman, who died on Friday at the age of 75, was well-loved and respected by his adopted country of South Africa after playing four Tests and 15 ODIs for England.

Following his retirement from the game in 1982, Jackman relocated to South Africa and began a successful career as a commentator for SABC and then SuperSport.

"I met Robin in the 1980s when he was coaching the Western Province team at the time with guys like Stephen Jefferies and Omar Henry. That's where my memory goes back with him," Fredericks told Sport24.

"Afterwards in the early '90s, we met via commentary when he and Trevor Quirk helped me into the commentary booth at the SABC."

READ | Trevor Quirk's touching tribute to Robin Jackman: 'It's devastating losing your best friend'

Fredericks stated that the "always helpful" Jackman and best friend Trevor Quirk guided and mentored him in the start of his commentary career.

"I went to SuperSport in 1998 and Robin was already a renowned broadcaster there," continued Fredericks.

"He was keen to help anyone who was coming into commentary. He never shied away to help people and he always gave of himself."

Fredericks maintains that 'Jackers', as he was affectionately called in South Africa, was the best broadcaster the world has produced.

"We would chat about cricket for hours, he loved the game so much and he has a fantastic wife, Yvonne, who supported him through thick and thin."

In 2012, Jackman was diagnosed with throat cancer. He had multiple operations and struggled to speak.

"When Robin was diagnosed, it was a traumatic period and thank God, he went into remission and SuperSport was very kind to him and looked after him," said Fredericks.

"He couldn't talk for a half-an-hour, it put a strain on his voice but for me, he is probably the best broadcaster the world has produced."

An emotional Fredericks said he was "shattered" when he heard the news of Jackman's passing.

"He was such a loving human being and the last couple of weeks was tough on him," said Fredericks.

"It took me aback and I am shattered but I'm also at peace that my friend is at rest.

"A few weeks ago, we were supposed to go to a luncheon and I couldn't make it. When you think back, in hindsight, I only saw him two months ago prior to his passing. I live on with his memories and that's what's important to me."

'Lived a life that's full'

Fredericks said Jackman was the kindest and truest friend anyone could ask for.

"Our friendship goes back 30-odd years and it's been a marvelous friendship. This man has been a fantastic friend and a true friend. We used to travel together and do commentary and along the way we've had some fun."

And what fun they had. 

Fredericks, who is commentating at the Proteas' opening Test against Sri Lanka at Centurion, fittingly reminisced over one of his favourite memories with Jackman.

"There are so many, I can name a lot of memories that stuck with me. But every year, the Boxing Test match would be at Kingsmead in Durban," remembered Fredericks.

"We'll go to Durban and on the third day of the Test match, Castle Breweries would put up a function at their deck at Kingsmead.

"We'd be late into the night partying but the one thing that will always be remembered is the that the both of us would get up and sing a rendition of 'My Way' from Frank Sinatra.

"Everyone looked forward to it and we did the song every year ... he was a bit of a party animal," he said.

"He loved to have fun and lived life to the fullest. There have been many parties at his house where I would always be the last one to leave but when I wanted to depart he'd say, 'Let's have one more for the swing'. He was an amazing human being."

There is no doubt that Jackers did it his way.

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