Cowans: My Ashes impact gave individuals hope

“A great deal of Caribbean people, who were watching, had been really behind me and Britain. They wanted to see that there was wish too for their kids, who were delivered in this country, and that they can go on plus make a better life for themselves”

By Sky Sports Cricket

Last Updated: 21/10/20 3: 33pm

Norman Cowans - England' s initial fast bowler of Caribbean ancestry - in action during the fifth Check against India at Kanpur within February 1985

Norman Cowans – England’s first fast bowler of Caribbean descent – for during the fifth Test against Indian at Kanpur in February 85

Ian Botham’s last-gasp wicket stole the head lines in the nerve-jangling Melbourne Ashes Check of 1982 but it was Grettle Cowans who was England’s true motivation.

The Jamaican-born fast was the catalyst for one of England’s most memorable wins as he stated match-figures of 8-146, bagging 6-77 in the second innings as Quotes fell three runs short of the victory target of 292.

Cowans’ man-of-the-match display, which usually came in only his third Check, is often lost amongst the memories from the dramatic last-wicket stand of seventy between Jeff Thomson and Allan Border that took Australia towards the brink of an extraordinary win prior to Botham intervened.

Yet his performance not only sent out a note that the defence of the 1981 Ashes was still alive but provided hope to the Caribbean community in the uk that young black Britons can excel for England.

Cowans with chief Bob Willis during the fourth Ashes Test of the 1982/83 series, on Melbourne

Cowans with chief Bob Willis during the fourth Ashes Test of the 1982/83 series, on Melbourne

Cowans with chief Bob Willis during the fourth Ashes Test of the 1982/83 series, on Melbourne

“It was a fantastic moment and revolutionary at the time because I was relatively unidentified, ” Cowans told Sky Sports .

“To be one of the first black men to play for England as a quick bowler, it was a big thing and lots of Caribbean people at the time who were viewing, were really behind me plus England.

“They wished to see that there was hope too for his or her kids, who were born in this nation, and that they can go on and make a much better life for themselves.

“They weren’t going to be ostracised because they were from the Caribbean. This gave a lot of people a lot of hope. inch

Cowans arrived in Britain in 1972 at the age of 11 great passion for the game quickly persuaded teachers at his school within the borough of Harrow to run exercise sessions for the first time.

A few years on the Lord’s groundstaff preceded their debut for Middlesex in 1981 and the speedster’s sudden elevation towards the international stage the following season captured not only a country, but Cowans simply by surprise.

“I may remember my call-up very, perfectly, ” he said. “I has been playing for Middlesex down within Worcestershire and it was a very greyish, overcast sort of September evening.

Cowans pictured at a pre-season photocall for Middlesex in April 1981 at Lord' s

Cowans pictured in a pre-season photocall for Middlesex within April 1981 at Lord' s

Cowans pictured at a pre-season photocall for Middlesex in Apr 1981 at Lord’s

“Middlesex were going on the County Championship – it was among the games that would define if we might win it.

“At the end of that day’s play we would actually won the game and I returned to the dressing room and the cell phone rings. ‘There’s a phone call with regard to Norman Cowans’ – so I visited the phone and a man called Joe Lee, who was writing for one from the newspapers at the time, said that I’d already been selected to play for England.

“I was like ‘no, this really is some sort of joke’. I didn’t think him. I remember all the cameras emerged down; I was on the balcony from Worcestershire being interviewed about our thoughts on being selected for Britain.

“It was the majority of amazing feeling. You can talk if you like but until it’s presently there in black and white, you don’t believe this. ”

Cowans would certainly go on to play 19 Tests with regard to England, taking 51 wickets in a fraction under 40, while he or she bagged 532 wickets at twenty two. 57 apiece for Middlesex — playing a pivotal role within their Championship wins of 1982, 85, 1990.

He furthermore appeared in four one-day titles for the county between 1983-88 — Middlesex winning all of them – such as the 1983 B& H final towards Essex, in which Cowans returned 4-39 to help the Lord’s outfit effectively defend a total of 196-8 away their allotted 55 overs.

Cowans – who performed alongside Caribbean-born quartet Wayne Daniel, Wilf Slack, Roland Butcher plus Neil Williams during his period at the club – subsequently became a member of Hampshire in 1993 before making their final first-class appearance the following 12 months.

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