Fabian Cowdrey makes his Kent first-team debut

Friday 4th May 2012

Cowdrey is a name steeped in tradition in the cricketing world. Colin and Chris captained both Kent and England, batsman Graham also played 179 first-class matches for the county – and now there is a new Cowdrey on the block.

All-rounder Fabian made his Kent first-team debut against Oxford MCCU in a three-day friendly at the Parks this week, making him the third generation of the cricketing family to play for the county. Understandably the youngster has received plenty of media attention; it is an occasion the batting all-rounder will never forget.

How pleasing was it to make your first team debut?

Walking out in my Kent kit as a first-team player for the first time was fantastic. It was an amazing feeling. I got the call up from Wilco (Simon Willis), and Jimmy (Adams) then announced that I was in the side in our team meeting. When I heard my named read out, I felt genuinely chuffed. We didn’t get much play at Oxford and things could have gone a bit better for me personally but I enjoyed the experience and hope to get further opportunities.

The 19 year-old's father, Chris, played for Kent between 1977 and 1992 – scoring more than 12,000 first-class runs. Unlike his batting style, the St Lawrence Ground legend was late for his son’s debut but Fabian expressed his parents’ pride.

How pleased were your Mum and Dad?

They were both delighted. Both have been very supportive and are fully behind me. Dad came up on the first day but got there fairly late so he didn’t see much action but it was great that he made the trip and I hope that both of them, together with the rest of my family, will see me involved again further down the line.

Trying to live up to the great Cowdrey name cannot be an easy task. Lord Colin played in 114 Test matches for England, captaining on 27 occasions. There is pressure on the former Tonbridge School student to excel in the game but he hopes to use the family knowledge to his advantage as he attempts to make his name at Kent.

The Cowdrey name is synonymous with Kent and England cricket. Has the family name helped or hindered you?

I’m not too sure – a bit of both. I guess it has probably hindered me fractionally but it probably is an advantage. I get the opportunity to talk to Dad and my uncle (Graham Cowdrey) and they have both helped, together with the Kent coaches that have supported me through the pathway. I didn’t really get the opportunity to talk about cricket with my granddad (Lord Colin Cowdrey), as he passed when I was only seven, but the knowledge that I have gained; talking to the family has certainly helped me develop in my first year as a pro. It has taught me how to go about things and the rights and wrongs of developing as a cricketer.

Is there additional pressure on you – following in the footsteps of such illustrious cricketers?

I guess people would think that but I’m not sure it is the case. All I can do is to give my best. If I give 100 percent and work hard in training and in matches then I will give myself the best possible chance. I’m, naturally, keen to perform so I put it to the back of my mind and focus fully on my game.

The Kent Academy graduate was handed his first professional contract over the summer and has been given license to impress in the second XI in a bid to force his way into the first team. After his call-up to the side that travelled to Oxford, it looks as though Fabian is in fine form.

How pleased are you with your game?

I’m pleased. I’ve started the season pretty well. I got 89 for the second team, batting at six against Warwickshire at Canterbury, and followed it up with figures of four for 15 when we played a Kent

Premier League XI at Beckenham. My batting is developing nicely but I am keen to keep showing what I can do with the ball. It’s a long season but hopefully I will get some further opportunities and keep staking my claim.

Throughout his career playing for Sevenoaks Vine in the Kent League, the all-rounder has made runs and taken wickets with his left-arm spin. Fabian sees batting as his priority but knows he has to develop his game over the coming years.

What type of cricketer are you?

That’s a difficult question. I’m a batting all-rounder. First and foremost I have played lots of one-day cricket. It is what you do growing up; you only play that sort of cricket. Now, the challenge for me, over the next couple of years, is to show how I adapt. My temperament needs to be good, I need to keep working on the timing of innings and the way you go about it. It is something that I’m still trying to learn although hopefully, in a couple of years, I will be in a decent place.

There is a buzz around the St Lawrence Ground at the moment after a promising, unbeaten start to the season and it is something the youngest cricketing Cowdrey is clearly happy to be a part of.

How are you enjoying your first year as a professional?

It’s fantastic. I love the fact that I now play cricket as a professional. It’s my job and is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve worked very hard on my fitness and realise that you have to prepare yourself. The first-team schedule is a lot more hectic, there is lots of cricket to be played but Pete Kelly (the Strength & Conditioning Coach) has helped get everyone into shape and it is great to be a first-year pro. I’ve got lots of hard work ahead of me but I’m enjoying it and approaching each day with a smile on my face.

Photo Sarah Ansell SarahCanterbury.com