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He could have been much better: Illingworth

Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2000, 1:30 [IST]
 
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London: Colin Cowdrey is the fourth highest scoring batsman in English Test history yet former captain Ray Illingworth believes his record could have been even better.The Yorkshireman joined the lengthy list of world renowned sporting celebrities paying tribute to Cowdrey, who died earlier on Tuesday aged 67. Illingworth shared an international dressing room with Cowdrey on a number of occasions.And despite their vastly differing backgrounds, the pair shared a common determination to help England win Test matches. Having been brought up as part of the amateur scene, Cowdrey had a light-hearted approach to the game, which is sadly lacking in the modern era."He wanted to play the game in the right way. When he said 'It's not cricket' it really meant something. He felt an enormous amount of pride at playing for England but he didn't jump up and down or shout and bawl like they seem to today," Illingworth said."The game seemed to be so easy to him. He had exceptional timing, so his stroke play could be fantastic. The only flaw was that he lacked confidence in his own ability. Sometimes he would give you a chance but if he wanted he could tear you apart. The problem was he could have done it every time he went into bat," Illingworth added.Even with this drawback, Cowdrey's Test record has only been passed by Geoff Boycott, David Gower and Graham Gooch, all of whom played in more Test matches than their illustrious predecessor."He came from a different era and I didn't socialise with him so much away from cricket. But there is no doubt he was a truly great player, one of the best England has ever produced. His Test figures prove it," Illingworth said.Copyright @2000 AFP. All rights reserved

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