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British press heap encomiums on Cowdrey

Published: Thursday, December 7, 2000, 17:00 [IST]
 
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London: The British press has eulogised noted English cricketer Colin Cowdrey, who died of a heart attack Monday, as a "sporting gentleman" and "glorious cricketer" who was the first man to play in 100 Tests. The passing away of Lord Cowdrey, 67, overshadowed the bans on Indian players Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja for match-fixing and gave sports writers a chance to recall the high noon of international cricket as exemplified by the standards set by Cowdrey. Former England captain Brian Close, quoted in the 'Daily Mail', described Cowdrey as "a fine player, a hell of a nice chap and a true gent who played cricket the right way. After he finished playing, he helped uphold the moral standard of the game as it existed in our day." Tim Lamb, chief executive of the English Cricket Board, said, "Colin was quite simply the most eminent person in contemporary English cricket. Not only did he excel at the highest level as a player but he held the most important administrative office in the game as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC)." The 'Daily Express' recalled Cowdrey's encounter with Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson, who along with Dennis Lillee had terrorised the England side during their 1974-75 Ashes tour of Australia. Cowdrey, who was 42 when he was recalled to assist the England side, walked on to the field and said to Thomson, "Good morning, I don't think we've met. My name's Colin Cowdrey." On Tuesday, Thomson described Cowdrey as "a great player and a very good bloke." Recalling the 1974-75 series, he added, "He was the only England batsman who tried to get behind the ball in that series - and he was 42 then." 'The Times' said in its obituary that there was never the slightest doubt of Cowdrey's good intentions and enduring love of the game. It added that by the time he retired in 1975, he had scored 42,719 first class runs at an average of 42.89 and hit 107 centuries. "A glorious player at his best, he was never less than a very considerable one," 'The Times' said. "As a captain, he was thoughtful and caring, but generally cautious. He much preferred to caress the ball rather than hit it. His batting, in fact, was a truer reflection of an innately unassuming personality." India Abroad News Service

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