Fabian Cowdrey, on his time with Kent and facing up to the pressure of having a famous family name
Fabian Cowdrey, followed in not just his fathers footsteps but his grandfather’s as well by playing for Kent.
He had five seasons at Kent, before venturing of into the world of media, and currently runs a company called Cow Corner Events.
“It’s been an interesting period as you can imagine, in terms of running an events business as you can imagine live events are completely out of the picture, so we have had to remodel the way we are going to have to do things, we are taking things virtual, online. We’ve set up a really cool platform, we have had Shaun Pollock, Lewis Moody from rugby, Ian Bell, Simon Jones, Rob Key, so it’s been a really fascinating period learning about how the online game works and also I’ve been doing some song writing with my twin brother who is a musician. We wrote a song for the NHS called Frontline which has had over 150,000 streams, with all proceeds going to the NHS.”
Following in the footsteps of your father and grandfather always comes with added pressure, but Fabian accepts it is an honour to be linked with both Chris and Colin.
“It was one of those things when I started, I was a bit young to really take on all that information and really understand what I was getting myself into. When you start playing as a young player at Kent with the Cowdrey Stand behind you and the Cowdrey name on your back you are going to have support before you’ve even scored a run, and of course there is the natural element of pressure there, but it is a great privilege to see what impact my family have had in the county and it’s a great honour to be part of the family for sure.”
Fabian never made it as regular in the Kent first X1, despite scoring heavily for the second eleven.
“It was a difficult period. I remember there was seasons where I scored five or six hundreds in the second eleven, but opportunities were limited in the first team. Over time when you are putting in 12 months of graft, sweat and tears and you realise that you are aged 24 and you are desperate to make an impact and it just hasn’t come your way. Am I in the right place, the right county and should I move on, and the truth was I got desperately unhappy and I felt that all my blood, sweat and tears amounted to very little in the end. I played a lot of one day cricket as a bowler. I only ever really started bowling when I got to the county when they said why don’t you add another string to your bow, and then I got selected more as a bowler after a promising start as a batsman in one day cricket.”
After failing to nail down a regular first team spot, it put a lot of pressure on Fabian, who at times felt quiet low.
“It was quiet demoralising for me at times, a lot of hard work which I didn’t see getting rewarded and after a while It just wore me down, particularly when you want to do right by your old man, your uncle and your grandfather. I’m much happier now as cricket has given me a good grounding for the future and three years on now, I’m enjoying life.”
Fabian has had the privilege of playing with some great players at Kent. The experienced Darren Stevens is Mr Kent through and through.
“He was a kid in a candy shop. To think that I started and retired, and he is 16 years older than I am, it’s an incredible achievement. One of the most talented sportspeople I’ve ever played with, an incredible golfer and one of the nicest blokes on the circuit and just loved the game. He said to me a few years ago I will stop playing when I lose the enjoyment, and I don’t think we will ever see anybody like him ever again.”
Fabian also signalled out Rob Key for special praise.
“He is a great man, another man who had a great impact on Kent cricket for a lot of years. Kent Captain also for a lot of years, scored that wonderful double hundred at Lords against the West Indies. I just remember how Keysey enjoyed winding up the younger players, all in a really great fun way and his team talks were so precious and you learned a lot from someone like that and you can see the cricketing brain that he has by the way he goes about his punditry on Sky Sports.”
After a break of a few months it is expected county cricket will return on 1st August, Fabian feels the guys will be so keen to play again.
“All of them will be very excited to play. They’ve waited longer than they ever will have to again. They will be desperate to get out there. Lot’s of the batsman will be happy they have got rid of the early season new ball on a green pitch, that’s all gone.”
With the opening test starting against the West Indies next week, England have announced that Ben Stokes will captain the side in place of Joe Root. Fabian knows that this will be a big ask for Stokes.
“I think he’s got enough to juggle. He’s the best player in the majority of facets of the game already. He’s got a lot to think about. For me he’s the best captain, best batsman a real workhorse bowler, but has a lot to juggle and when you start asking an all-rounder, like they did Freddie Flintoff and Ian Botham in the past which didn’t have success as an England captain as they had so much to think about. It will be very interesting to see how Ben Stokes does that.”
The West Indies will start as underdogs in the series, but Fabian feels that you can’t write of their chances.
“I think it will be a very interesting match up. They’ve a strong bowling outfit. I think their bowling is a lot stronger than their batting. I will be interested to see how they will face up to Jofra Archer. I’m really interested to see how that goes in the heat of battle. England are without doubt favourites. They’ve got a few things to nail down in terms of their batting and what they go with and without Joe Root, I think West Indies have a good chance in this first test. If they go 1-0 up, you never know, and it could make for a very interesting series.”
After finishing with Cricket, Fabio decided to set up Cow Corner Events, which he felt there was a market for.
“I started that about six to twelve months after I finished playing cricket, to make an exclusive and memorable experience for individuals who wanted to get up close and personal to their sporting heroes. We’ve supported mental health foundations since we’ve started, we ran our live events in London and now we are looking into the virtual world we are launching an online community and membership starting in September/October, trying to give people the chance to learn from the very best who have played as there are so many sports that can teach you about life.”
Full interview with Fabian Cowdrey