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The event was first hosted in 2001, following the death of its eponym Late Lord Colin Cowdrey, in December 2000. Colin Cowdrey is reported to have been instrumental in adapting the Captains' Charter as the Spirit of Cricket and subsequently adding it as the preamble to the Laws of Cricket. 
It is held annually during the English summer and is delivered by pre-eminent cricketing personalities. The event is an invite only affair, with high profile cricketing personalities, représentatives of cricketing boards and journalists in attendance. The format of the event is simple: the cowdrey lecture followed by an informal discussion/question-answer session with a panel of distinguished personalities.
List of all lectures till date
|Year||Lecturer||Country of Lecturer||Flag||Key Message||Panel|
|2001||Richie Benaud||Australia||No known recording. Manuscript available on the Lord's official website.|
|2002||Barry Richards||South Africa|
|2004||Clive Lloyd||West Indies|
|2006||Martin Crowe||New Zealand|
|2008||Desmond Tutu* ||South Africa||Racism and sports, apartheid, impact of sports on politics, Spirit of Cricket|
|2011||Kumar Sangakkara* ||Sri Lanka||The history of Sri Lankan cricket, Spirit of Cricket, socio-cultural impact of cricket.||Mark Nicholas, Kumar Sangakkara,Michael Holding, Andrew Strauss|
|2014||Sir Ian Botham||England|
|2016||Brendon McCullum||New Zealand|
|2017||Brian Lara||West Indies|
|2018||Dave Richardson||South Africa||Spirit of Cricket, Code of conduct, ball tampering incident of Newlands, Womens Cricket, Player penalties and punishments.||Mark Nicholas, Dave Richardson, Sanjay Manjrekar, Jason Roy|
* - Denotes Lecturers who received standing ovations from the audience.
- The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu is the only non cricketing personality to have ever delivered a Cowdrey lecture.
- Kumar Sangakkara was the only actively playing cricketer to have delivered a Cowdrey Lecture. Every other lecturer has been a retired player who has been serving cricket in other ways.
- The two men above are also the only ones to have received a standing ovation for their speech.
Lecturers by country
|Flag||Country||Number of lecturers|
- "MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture". www.lords.org. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
- "Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets standing ovation after cricket lecture". www.mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
- "SANGAKKARA AND THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 2018-08-08.