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BBC Sport's Adam Mynott
looks back at Lord Cowdrey's life
 real 56k

Friday, 30 March, 2001, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Cowdrey remembered
Lord Cowdrey: One of cricket's gentlemen
Lord Cowdrey: Standing outside the pavilion at Lord's
Former Prime Minister John Major paid tribute to Lord Cowdrey at a thanksgiving service for the life of the former England captain, held in Westminster Abbey.

Lord Cowdrey, whose eldest son Chris also led the national team, died at his home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, last December, aged 67, four months after suffering a stroke.

He was the fourth highest scoring England player in Test history with 7,264 runs in 114 Tests, including 22 centuries, at an average of 44.06.

Lord Cowdrey went on to serve as president of the MCC for a year and later as chairman of the International Cricket Council, the game's world governing body, from 1989 to 1993.

Sir Gary Sobers played against Cowdrey on many occasions
West Indies Test legend Sir Garfield Sobers arrives at the Abbey

Major, now president of Surrey County Cricket Club, told the congregation: "he played life as he played cricket - with a clear eye, a straight bat and a cover drive from heaven.

"To millions who had never met him, he was one of the world's greatest cricketers. To those of us who knew him, he was one of the world's loveliest of men."

The service was also attended by Sir Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Alec Bedser, former Test umpire Dickie Bird and Major's successor as leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague.

Long Test career

Colin Cowdrey was born in Putumala in India and became the youngest player to represent his school at Lord's when he appeared for Tonbridge at the age of 13.

He made his first appearance for Kent in 1950, the beginning of a 26-year association with the club.

Former Test umpire Dickie Bird
Dickie Bird: Still raising the finger

In 1954, shortly after coming down from Oxford, he was chosen for the Australian tour squad and selected for his debut in the opening Test.

He still holds the record for the highest fourth wicket partnership in Test cricket after putting on 411 against the West Indies in 1957 with Peter May.

Cowdrey made his final Test appearance in Australia in 1975 after being recalled at the age of 42 to face fast bowling duo Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

He scored 107 first-class hundreds during his playing career and made 42,719 runs in total, at an average of 44.82.

He was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997 as Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge, becoming the second former England captain to achieve the honour after the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev David Sheppard.

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