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Gentelmen and Player

The story of Colin Cowdrey, cricket’s most elegant and charming batsmen. Colin Cowdrey was born on a tea plantation in India and was granted a memorial service in Westminster Abbey. His Test career spanned two generations, making his debut against Miller and Lindwall and his farewell against Lillee and Thomson. The first man to play 100 Tests and a member of that exclusive club who have scored 100 first-class centuries, Cowdrey is more often remembered for the purity of his strokeplay and the unfailing courtesy of his demeanour than his run-making exploits.

His career was not without its disappointments and controversies, however, his involvement in the D’Oliveira affair and his continual flirtation with the England captaincy being the most notable. Criticism was also occasionally levelled at him for the pawkiness of some of his innings, especially when placed next to the times when he seemed to be batting with the gods. The author has had full access to all of Cowdrey’s personal letter and papers, including voluminous correspondence with Don Bradman, which has allowed him to probe the enigma at the heart of this kind, charming but essentially shy man, known by the entire cricketing world but whose true nature remained maddeningly hidden from even his close friends.

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