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Stephen Fry to deliver the 2021 MCC Cowdrey Lecture

Posted: 16 September 2021

Stephen Fry, a lifelong cricket supporter and MCC Foundation Patron, will deliver the 2021 MCC Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Tuesday 16 November 2021.

The prestigious Lecture, which embodies the Spirit of Cricket, will return after a hiatus in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fry will be the 20th speaker and the second non-cricketing personality to deliver the oration, following Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s memorable, impassioned contribution in 2008.

Fry is best known for his work on screen as an award-winning and renowned actor, host and presenter. He is also a bestselling author, with works including four novels and three volumes of autobiography. Stephen is also an advocate for mental health and is President of Mind, the mental health charity.

It has also been announced today that Kumar Sangakkara and Kate Cross will form part of a panel discussion with Fry, which will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Nicholas and will follow the Lecture.

The MCC Cowdrey Lecture, in memory of Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge, has become an annual highlight in the cricketing calendar, provoking debate and discussion of the major issues facing the game today.

The inaugural address was delivered in 2001 by Richie Benaud and past lecturers include Clive Lloyd, Imran Khan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mike Brearley.

This year’s Lecture will take place two days after the Final of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai and, as in previous years, the event will be livestreamed via the Lord’s YouTube and Facebook channels at 18:30 GMT.

This is an MCC Members exclusive event.

"I am so grateful he has accepted our invitation and I am sure his delivery will be captivating and resonate with so many"

MCC President Kumar Sangakkara said: “Stephen has a deep and passionate love for cricket. How his brilliant mind interprets its place and significance in his life personally and beyond, will make for a truly special Cowdrey Lecture. I am so grateful he has accepted our invitation and I am sure his delivery will be captivating and resonate with so many, inside and outside of cricket, while at the same time broadening the relevance and impact of the spirit of cricket.”

"This gig is the closest I will ever get to playing cricket for my country and I am ridiculously excited about it.”

Stephen Fry said “At first glance it might seem one hell of a cheek for me, who has never bowled, fielded, caught or faced a first-class cricket ball in his life, to presume to lecture the cricket world on the spirit of their game. But I choose to interpret this invitation as an example of just how far cricket has come in recent years. It is embracing the one side of the sporting equation which is so often forgotten in all sports – the point of view of the fan, the lover, the amateur, the supporter. Sometimes the spectator really does see more of the game.

"I hope that I can also bring to bear some of my experience in the field of mental health to reflect on how cricket can reconcile the intense pressures of global and commercial growth with the needs, welfare and futures of the men and women who sustain it. This gig is the closest I will ever get to playing cricket for my country and I am ridiculously excited about it.”

The 2021 MCC Cowdrey Lecture comes after a busy summer, during which MCC welcomed the return of spectators to Lord’s, including for a thrilling Test Match between England and India and the inaugural year of The Hundred, for which the Home of Cricket staged both the men’s and women’s finals.

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