Parkinson and Barnsley Cricket Club opening partner Dickie Bird had trials at Yorkshire alongside future England batter Geoffrey Boycott.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club have paid tribute to Sir Michael Parkinson following the television chat show host’s death after a brief illness, aged 88.
Before his famous broadcasting career got off the ground, Parkinson and Barnsley Cricket Club opening partner Dickie Bird had trials at Yorkshire alongside future England batter Geoffrey Boycott.
Parkinson once kept Boycott out of his hometown Barnsley team but the pair, plus Bird, a former international umpire and one of the most recognisable figures in cricket, established lifelong friendships.
Bird paid tribute to his “dear friend” and said they spoke on the phone earlier this week.
Bird told the PA news agency: “I shall miss him, I’ll tell you that. Not only was he a friend but he was a dear friend and I just don’t know how I will cope, I will miss him so much.
“There will never be another Parky.”
Former England fast bowler Darren Gough paid tribute to the broadcaster who he regarded as a close friend.
Gough, Yorkshire managing director of cricket, said: “He was a Barnsley boy, like myself, and it was an absolute pleasure to know him and his family.
“We are all devastated here at Yorkshire and thoughts of everyone at the club are with Sir Michael’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Barnsley Football Club also paid their respects, saying on Twitter: “Barnsley Football Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Parkinson CBE.
“The town has lost one of its favourite sons, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Parkinson interviewed a number of high-profile sportspeople, most notably former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali – widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all-time – with whom he had a couple of tense exchanges in the 1970s.
It was on Parkinson’s show in 2008 where Victoria Beckham – husband of former England captain David – revealed she referred to the ex-midfielder as ‘Golden Balls’, a nicknamed he would become synonymous with.