Colin Cowdrey was one of cricket’s great stylists and most revered gentlemen.
Recognised as a prodigious talent while still at Tonbridge School, he made his Test debut at Brisbane aged just 21 and his final Test appearance came at the age of 42. He was the first cricketer to play in 100 Test matches and for many years he held the record for the number of catches held by a non-wicket keeper (114). His peerless slip-fielding was a clue to his all-round gift for games; he excelled at rackets, squash, real tennis and golf.
He captained England in 27 Test matches, winning 8 and losing just 4. At Lord’s in 1963 he famously came to the wicket with a broken arm during the final over of a Test match against West Indies at Lord’s. In later years he was one of cricket’s most well-regarded elder statesmen; he served as MCC President in the Club’s bicentenary year (1987) and later campaigned successfully for the spirit of cricket to be enshrined in the game’s Laws.
England sealed a comfortable victory by 7 wickets in a match most notable for a change of the fast-bowling guard: it was Fred Trueman’s final Test match and John Snow’s first. It was Fred Rumsey who spearheaded England’s attack, taking 4-25 as the visitors were bowled out for 175.
Suffering a bad back, Cowdrey played a solid hand in England’s reply, remaining at the crease for just two minutes under six hours and sharing partnerships of 93 with Ted Dexter and 105 with Mike Smith. Sixth out with the score on 285, Cowdrey had steered England into a position of strength.
Michael Colin Cowdrey (Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge) (1932-2000)
114 Tests for England averaging 44.06 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1956