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Mike Brearley to deliver the 2019 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture

Posted: 19 March 2019

Former England captain Mike Brearley will deliver the 2019 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Tuesday, 28th May 2019.

In a cricket season, which includes both the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and an Ashes series, Brearley will deliver the Lecture having captained England in the 1979 Cricket World Cup Final at Lord’s and in three Ashes victories.

He will become the fifth Englishman to deliver the lecture, following in the footsteps of the late Tony Greig and Christopher Martin-Jenkins, as well as Geoffrey Boycott and Sir Ian Botham, two cricketers who played under his captaincy for England.

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

The MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture, in memory of Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge, has become a notable feature in the cricketing calendar, provoking debate and discussion on the major issues facing the game today.

This year’s Lecture will take place two days before the start of the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in England and Wales. The Lecture will be streamed online via the Lord’s YouTube Channel, as in previous years.


The inaugural address was delivered in 2001 by Richie Benaud, two years after England last hosted the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Past Lecturers include many other significant figures from the world of cricket, including Clive Lloyd, Imran Khan and last year’s lecturer David Richardson.

Brearley is widely regarded as one of England’s greatest ever captains, and as a great thinker about the game. He captained England in 31 of his 39 Test matches, winning seventeen and losing only four. In all, he scored over 25,000 runs in a first-class career spanning 22 years. He also played for Cambridge University and Middlesex.

Since retiring from cricket, Brearley has authored several books, including The Art of Captaincy, On Form and, most recently, On Cricket. An Honorary Life Member and former President of MCC, he chaired the MCC World Cricket committee for six years. He is also a psychoanalyst, and has served as President of the British Psychoanalytical Society

Former Sri Lankan batsman Sangakkara sits sixth on the list of all-time Test match run scorers and is regarded as one of his country’s greatest ever players, having also kept wicket for his country for much of his career. He delivered the Lecture himself in 2011 and to date, he is the only Sri Lankan to have given the Lecture.

Warne, universally recognised as one of the best bowlers of all time, enjoyed a distinguished international career with Australia, becoming the first bowler to reach 700 Test wickets, with his tally of 708 standing second on the all-time list.

Both Warne and Sangakkara sit on the MCC World Cricket committee, an independent voice in world cricket which debates issues that are solely in the interest of cricket and its players.

"Mike’s views on captaincy and the game command international respect "

MCC President Anthony Wreford said: “I am thrilled that Mike Brearley has accepted the invitation to give this year’s Cowdrey Lecture. Mike’s views on captaincy and the game command international respect and he always brings a different and fascinating perspective in his books and articles.

“I am also delighted that Kumar and Shane have agreed to appear on the panel. They are both highly articulate, knowledgeable and very honest in their comments on the game. The event will, therefore, be one of the highlights of this coming summer.”

Mike Brearley said: “I would like to thank MCC for the opportunity to give the Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture. This is a remarkable year, not only on the cricket field. It will be a challenge to try to tease out what the Spirit of Cricket means, how it functions and its relevance today.”


2018 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture


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