Graham Cowdrey: Former Kent batsman dies aged 56 after short illness

Graham Cowdrey
Graham Cowdrey struck 20 centuries during his 14-year career at Kent

Former Kent batsman Graham Cowdrey has died, aged 56, following a short illness, the county have confirmed.

Following a 14-year career, the right-hander later became a cricket liaison officer and match referee at the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The son of former Kent and England captain Colin Cowdrey and brother of Chris, he was also the uncle of Fabian, who also played for the county.

His 450 appearances for Kent saw him score more than 14,000 runs.

"I am numb with shock and sadness that the brilliant, generous, funny and complex friend who lit up so many cricket grounds, on and off the pitch, has slipped away," former Kent team-mate and captain Matthew Fleming said.

"'Van' as he was universally known because of his love of all things Van Morrison, was an instinctive cricketer, a game changer, who won matches with his prowess as a batsman and a fielder.

"However, it was his deep love of cricket and Kent, his commitment as a team-mate, 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 that we will also remember with the greatest possible affection."

One of Cowdrey's most prolific seasons with the bat came in 1995 when he helped Kent reach the Benson & Hedges Cup final and win the Sunday League with a List A average of 53.90.

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