MCC hosts the Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s Cricket Ground annually.
The event is named after Lord Colin Cowdrey, the former England captain who is credited with initiating the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ – an outline for fair play that was later officially added as a preamble to the Laws of Cricket.
Lord Cowdrey passed away in December 2000 and in his memory, the Cowdrey Lecture was born. The first lecture took place in 2001 and was delivered by the former Australian captain Richie Benaud.
The speakers have customarily been distinguished former cricketers or cricketing personalities, other than when Desmond Tutu delivered the Lecture in 2008. Kumar Sangakkara, in 2011, is the only player who was still active in their playing career at the time of giving the Lecture.
The 2020 lecture was cancelled due to Covid-19, meaning the 2021 lecture will be the twentieth to be held.
The full list of previous speakers are as follows:
2001 Richie Benaud Australia
2002 Barry Richards South Africa
2003 Sunil Gavaskar India
2004 Clive Lloyd West Indies
2005 Geoffrey Boycott England
2006 Martin Crowe New Zealand
2007 Christopher Martin-Jenkins England
2008 Desmond Tutu South Africa
2009 Adam Gilchrist Australia
2010 Imran Khan Pakistan
2011 Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka
2012 Tony Greig England
2013 Simon Taufel Australia
2014 Sir Ian Botham England
2015 Rod Marsh Australia
2016 Brendon McCullum New Zealand
2017 Brian Lara West Indies
2018 Dave Richardson South Africa
2019 Mike Brearley England
The lecture has also typically been followed by a panel discussion, which has seen several other influential cricketing personalities discussing significant topics from the game. In recent years, the panel has included personalities such as Shane Warne, Michael Holding, Eoin Morgan, Anya Shrubsole, Sir Alastair Cook, Mahela Jayawardene and Sanjay Manjrekar.