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.
Colin Cowdrey’s 152 against West Indies in 1957 must rank as one of the finest of his career, and one of the finest to have been played at Lord’s. He came to the crease with England wobbling at 34 for 3 in response to a poor West Indies total of 127, Tom Graveney and Peter May having both failed to trouble the scorers. Immediately he and Peter Richardson took control with a counter-attack that left the tourists bowling and fielding ragged. A partnership with Godfrey Evans reached 174 in under two hours as England raced to a first-innings lead of 297. It was Cowdrey’s second 150 in consecutive Tests, and England fears of West Indian spinners Ramadhin and Valentine, which had persisted since 1950, were finally put to rest.
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