Leonard John Coldwell
January 10, 1933, Newton Abbot, Devon
August 06, 1996, Teignmouth, Devon, (aged 63y 209d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
Len Coldwell was a well-built fast-medium swing and seam bowler, who generated surprising pace off a short run and was able to bowl long spells. He began with Devon, moving to Worcestershire after two seasons, becoming part of the very strong Worcester side of the 1960s. His new-ball partnership with Jack Flavell contributed to the county's titles in 1964 and 1965. He made his Test debut in 1962, 13 wickets in two Tests against Pakistan winning him selection for that winter's Ashes series. His style, however, was more suited to English conditions and he struggled, although he reappeared in the first two Tests of the 1964 series against Australia. His career came to a sudden end midway through 1969 when he returned to Devon to take up an appointment with a brewery.
Leonard John Coldwell, died suddenly on August 6, 1996, aged 63. Len Coldwell had his finest hour at Lord's in 1962 when he bowled England to a nine-wicket victory over Pakistan on his Test debut in front of a 20,000 Saturday crowd. But he played only seven Tests in all, and was never really a man for the grand occasion. In county cricket, however, he was one of the most effective fast bowlers of the 1960s, and he battled on undemonstratively through a succession of injuries. What made him special was the partnership he formed with Jack Flavell. Together they took Worcestershire to the brink of the County Championship in 1962, and then to the club's first ever titles in 1964 and 1965. It was a classic pairing - Flavell bowling out-swing, Coldwell bowling in-swing - and enabled Worcestershire to supplant Yorkshire as the most feared team in the country. Coldwell was a Devonian who had his debut for Worcestershire in 1955. He developed slowly for a fast bowler, but in 1961 he took 140 wickets, and in 1962 he took 152 - a figure surpassed only once, by Derek Underwood in 1966, in the 34 seasons since then, and now unthinkable. That summer he bowled 1,103 overs, an extraordinary workload for someone never wholly confident of the sturdiness of his hips and knees. According to Basil D'Oliveira, Coldwell would work out exactly where to bowl to each individual opponent: sometimes he would aim straight at the stumps, sometimes he would use the extreme edge of the crease. His methods proved less effective at the highest level. Success against Pakistan got him on to the 1962-63 tour of Australasia, but conditions there were less helpful and the batsmen less easy to think out. He returned for the first two Tests against Australia in 1964, was obliged to bowl a 100-minute spell in conditions which Wisden said would have been far more responsive to spin, and was never chosen again. Coldwell played on for Worcestershire until 1969 but then retired in mid-season and returned to Devon; in later years, he helped run a seaside cafe and became captain of Teignmouth Golf Club. His comradeship with Flavell lasted way beyond cricket. The two of them were firm friends as well as partners in the fast bowling business, and the families spent their holidays with each other. Coldwell had been looking forward to a hip replacement operation and getting rid of some of the pain that had bothered him since his playing days.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding