Australian Simon Taufel will this year become the first umpire to give the prestigious MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Friday.

The lecture began in 2001 in memory of former Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) president Colin Cowdrey, who played a key role in the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ being enshrined in the preamble of the Code of the Laws of Cricket in 2000.

The retired Taufel, who was voted the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) umpire of the year between 2004 and 2008, will become the third non-player to deliver the lecture.

The late British cricket journalist Christopher Martin-Jenkins delivered the lecture six years ago, with former Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu following suit in 2008.

“After the initial shock of being asked, I am delighted, honoured and humbled to be able to participate in such an important cricket event,” said Taufel. “I look forward to representing umpiring in this fine tradition and all that Mr. Cowdrey stood for.”

This year's lecture will be on July 24. — AFP

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