The cricket world is mourning the tragic death of English batsman Graham Cowdrey at just 56.
The son of cricket legend Lord Colin Cowdrey, Graham died on Wednesday after a short battle with illness.
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Graham Cowdrey scored exactly 14,000 runs across his first-class and List-A career with Kent from 1984 to 1998.
He made 21 centuries across his 14-year career, his top score 147 coming against Gloucestershire in 1992.
He worked as a Cricket Liaison Officer for the England and Wales Cricket Board after his retirement.
“I am numb with shock and sadness that the brilliant, generous, funny and complex friend who lit up so many cricket grounds has slipped away,” former Kent captain Matthew Fleming wrote on social media.
“We will remember his deep love of cricket and Kent, his commitment as a teammate, his integrity and his wicked sense of humour, his loyalty as a friend and the twinkle in his eye that shaped almost everything he did with the greatest possible affection.”
Impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner, who had Cowdrey as his best man at his wedding, tweeted: “So sad to lose my best friend (and best man) Graham Cowdrey.
“He made me laugh more than anyone else. So funny, kind and generous.
“Great batsman, too. Joins dad in the Pavilion all too soon. Play a Van song for him today.”
So sad to lose my best friend (and best man) Graham Cowdrey yesterday. He made me laugh more than anyone else. So funny, kind and generous. Great batsman too. Joins dad in the Pavilion all too soon. Play a Van song for him today. #thehealinghasbegun pic.twitter.com/rNOB6NBAiU
— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner) November 11, 2020
Kent said they were “devastated” by the death of their “much-loved former player”, describing him as “a top county professional from a remarkable Kent family, with an infectious love for the game”.
“More than his facts and figures, Graham will be remembered for the way he played the game: his vibrant personality at the wicket or in the field, with his sense of fun as clear as his competitive passion.”
English cricket loses another Cowdrey
Cowdrey’s nickname was ‘Van’ after legendary singer Van Morrison, who he saw live in concert over 200 times.
Cowdrey was part of English cricket’s most famous dynasty, with father Colin captaining his country and playing 114 Test matches.
His brother Chris also captained England, while nephew Fabian played for Kent.
Friend David Buik wrote on social media: “I was devastated to hear of the sad passing of my great friend Graham Cowdrey - just 56 years old.
“No person did more to restore my self-esteem and confidence than he did on my return from Japan.
“He was inspirational in his support. I shall miss him. RIP.”
Fans and the wider cricket community were also quick to pay tribute on social media.
I was devastated to hear of the sad passing of my great friend Graham Cowdrey - just 56 years old No person did more to restore my self-esteem and confidence than he did on my return from Japan. He was inspirational in his support. I shall miss him. RIP
— David Buik (@truemagic68) November 11, 2020
Kent Cricket is devastated to learn of the passing of our much loved former player, Graham Cowdrey, at the age of 56 after a short illness
— Kent Cricket (@KentCricket) November 11, 2020
Listening to Van Morrison remembering Graham Cowdrey.
— Graemefowler (@GFoxyFowler) November 11, 2020
We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Graham Cowdrey.
Our condolences and thoughts go out to all those who knew and loved him.
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) November 11, 2020
Very sad news about Graham Cowdrey. Great competitor and good man. RIP
— Martin Bicknell (@bickers1969) November 11, 2020
Words will never ever describe such a loss.
RIP Graham Cowdrey, fly high buddy
— Harry the Bunbury (@BunburyHarry) November 11, 2020
— Marylebone Cricket Club (@MCCOfficial) November 11, 2020
Shocking news. RIP Graham Cowdrey https://t.co/i4hWP57wg9
— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) November 11, 2020
Stunned & shocked at the passing of Graham Cowdrey @KentCricket. Beyond sad.
This 2020 can really go and do one.
— Ian Pont (@Ponty100mph) November 11, 2020
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