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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 12:11 GMT
Ramadhin remembers rival and friend
Cowdrey in action for England
Cowdrey in action for England
Former West Indies spinner Sonny Ramadhin talks exclusively to BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson about Colin Cowdrey

On the pitch they were the fiercest of rivals.

But away from the crease they were friends who enjoyed nothing more than to talk about the game they loved.

Sonny Ramadhin was the mean West Indies spinner who had demolished England on a number of occasions.

Cowdrey was the master batsman who was a devil to get out.

During the summer of 1950 Ramadhin had ravaged England when he claimed 32 wickets in just four Test matches.

Colin was very hard to dislodge and was one of the most frustrating players to bowl at
  Sonny Ramadhin

In 1957, it looked as though England were heading for defeat again - until Cowdrey and Peter May put on a record fourth-wicket stand of 411 to save the Test match at Edgbaston.

Ramadhin, now 71 and living in Watershead, near Oldham, recalls: "I had bowled Colin out in the first innings for just four runs.

"England were really struggling. They were 288 runs behind and in the second innings were 113-3.

"Then in came Colin.

"He was a great cricketer and one of the top players of his generation.

"He had his bat and pad so close together they was hardly any daylight to try and get the ball through.

Ramadhin in his heyday with the West Indies
Ramadhin in his heyday with the West Indies
"He was very hard to dislodge and was one of the most frustrating players to bowl at.

"He never gave you a chance."

Ramadhin said Cowdrey had a number of cricket attributes which stood out.

"His concentration was amazing and he would not be lured into a shot he did not want to make.

"He always batted with a straight bat - never hit across the ball.

"He was a true professional."

Unassuming man

Ramadhin and Cowdrey remained good friends after their playing days were over.

"We met a number of times and knew each other well," said Ramadhin.

"He was a quiet man, unassuming, but a great chap.

"He truly loved cricket and we would reminisce about the old days.

"I am very said that such a great man has died. He was one of the greats."

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