Colin Cowdrey is remembered for the elegance of his strokeplay; but there was more to this complex man than a classical cover drive. Successes were numerous: 114 Test matches, 22 Test hundreds, 100 first-class centuries, countless famous victories and unforgettable innings. There was controversy and disappointment too, chief among them being repeated snubs for the England captaincy and the D'Oliveira Affair. Cowdrey was involved in three of England's most memorable Tests: Lord's in 1963 against the West Indies, batting at 11 with his arm in plaster, two balls left and all four results possible; Trinidad in 1968 in which England secured a famous victory against the West Indies; and The Oval in 1968 when England gained an improbable final-over win against Australia. In later life, he shone as an administrative leader - as president of Kent and of the MCC, and as chairman of the ICC - and was made a Lord. Sir Garry Sobers spoke for many when he said at his memorial service, "Colin Cowdrey was a great man."
Andrew Murtagh is the author of four previous cricketing biographies, on George Chesterton, Tom Graveney, Barry Richards and John Holder. A former county cricketer for Hampshire, he became a teacher of English at Malvern College once his playing days came to an end - but only on his retirement discovered his metier as an author.