Andy Murtagh always gets his man



Colin Cowdrey is remembered for the elegance of his strokeplay; but there was much more to this complex man than a classical cover drive.

Biographer Andrew Murtagh describes Cowdrey as “a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma. I got the impression that all he ever wanted to do was play cricket, for which he had an almost boyish enthusiasm. But the rest of it,” he writes, “the fame, the adulation, the controversy, the press scrutiny, the unwonted intrusion into his personal life, all that he hated.”

Cowdrey’s 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.

“Yet, during his life,” Murtagh adds, “he fended off efforts to have his story laid bare for public consumption. After his death, his family, as keepers of the flame, resisted any attempts for the posthumous story to be written, eager to respect their father’s wish for privacy and determined to protect his good name..."

Click here to read the full story behind Gentleman & Player, on Andrew Murtagh’s blog.

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Gentleman & Player. 

Gentleman and Player offers a unique insight into Colin Cowdrey, both on and off the cricket field.

  • The Cowdrey family granted the author unfettered access to his subject’s personal papers, which hitherto had not seen the light of day
  • He unearthed a treasure trove of diaries, letters, documents and memorabilia, including correspondence with world figures such as Don Bradman, John Major and Nelson Mandela
  • This new material helped to peel away the protective layers of a very private and complex man
  • Numerous former team-mates and opponents have been unstinting in providing memories and anecdotes from his playing career
  • As a former county cricketer who played against Cowdrey, the author is unusually placed to describe and interpret his subject’s pre-eminence as a cricketer
  • The author was also on the field when Andy Roberts famously broke Cowdrey’s jaw with a wicked bouncer, in the days before helmets
  • As an experienced biographer of cricketers, the author brings to life the story of perhaps England’s best-loved but least-understood batsman of his age