Graham Cowdrey dead: Tributes paid as former Kent star passes away age 56

Graham Cowdrey in September, speaking to Hampshire captain Sam Northeast (Image: Getty Images)

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English cricket was in mourning following the news of Graham Cowdrey's death at just 56.

The former Kent batsman was a part of one of the game's most famous families with his dad Colin the most renowned of four generations who played first-class cricket.

Graham didn't quite manage to make it to international level like his dad or brother Chris, but he played over 400 games for Kent and was a stalwart of the side in the 1980s and 90s, before becoming a Cricket Liaison Officer for the ECB.

His aggressive middle order style brought him 14,000 runs for the county who confirmed in a statement that he had died following a short illness.

Former Kent captain and England all rounder Matthew Fleming said: “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.

“‘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.

Graham Cowdrey in action for Kent
(Image: EMPICS Sport)

“However, it was 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 that we will also remember with the greatest possible affection.”

Close friend and comedian Rory Bremner tweeted: “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.”

England wicket-keeping coach Bruce French has announced his retirement from full time coaching with James Foster stepping into the role for the tour of South Africa with Marcus Trescothick also part of the coaching team.

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