Here are excerpts from some of the tributes to him I've seen since the announcement of his death.
Sometimes a line would just whack you between the eyes, as when one of the monks at school promised to take him to watch Bradman at Worcester "but the black-cowled swine reneged".
A superb writer and an utter gentleman. This book was my favourite of his. There is no more intimate or empathic retelling of a cricket tour. The vignettes of 'the magnificent loony loner' Boycott are priceless, whether coming through customs ('As usual, this time, I noticed Sir Geoffrey filled in his 'Purpose of Visit' as 'Business'. Typical'), or trying to make sense of his first-innings dismissal by Michael Holding at Barbados ('With Ann beside him, Boycott's blue contact lenses fiercely glinted in concentration, his nose almost touching the tiny TV monitor. Scarce a word was said except for him to ask for the over to be replayed again. And again. At the end, he said knowingly: 'Thanks, I think I’ve seen all I need to see.')
Keating... was one of this country's great sportswriters.
Not for nothing was Tom Graveney Keating's favourite cricketer. This is worthy of Cardus: "Our Tom was of the orchard rather than the forest, blossom susceptible to frost but breathing in the sunshine. Taking enjoyment as it came, he gave enjoyment which still warms the winters of memory. Still the hero."
Few have written with such sympathy, able to laugh with them [sports people], not at them, at the same time minting fresh, inventive phraseology. He created a new language for the nation's sporting press. He was unique, and beloved by contemporaries, who saw his writing skills and awards as a guiding path for their own.
A friend reminded me of Keating's description of Bob Willis: 'A 1914 biplane tied up with elastic bands trying vainly to take off'. (Thanks: RB.)