It takes something special to get Alastair Cook to roll back the years and clear his singing voice but when Kent cricket royalty came knocking, the former England captain was more than willing to help.
Julius and Fabian Cowdrey, the sons of former England captain Chris and grandsons of the legendary Colin, penned Frontline after the former was struck down by Covid-19 – a brush with the disease that the former Made in Chelsea star admitted left him fighting for his life.
Bed bound with a disease that has already claimed over 30,000 lives in the UK, Julius experienced the ugly side of the coronavirus despite being in an age bracket that has been impacted far less seriously than others.
Julius and his twin, former Kent all-rounder, Fabian, have been writing songs around the family piano since they were teenagers, so when the former recovered from the virus there was only one thing for it.
Which is how the brother’s Frontline song – all the proceeds of which are going to the NHS – came about. And the cricket community has been on hand to help them out, with Essex and Northamptonshire adding their voices (some good, others questionable) to the cause.
“I was constantly on the phone to the doctor through 911 and was told that they didn’t have space for me (in the hospital) unless it became a respiratory problem,” he tells TheCC. “Luckily it didn’t hit my lungs. I did think I was dying but I was told to stay at home.
“I was a typical person of my age. I was saying ‘I’m healthy, I’m young, there’s no chance of me getting this thing.’ I was fine and then I was hit with it harder than anyone else I know.
“The day I really got better fully, I just sat at the piano and really wanted to write some music. It was the only thing on my mind. I just said to Fabs ‘let’s just write a song – let’s just get this off our chest’. We wrote it in half an hour, 45 minutes, it felt so easy to write it and within 10 days it was released. We just wanted to do something for the NHS.”
Which is where Cook and his Essex team-mates come in.
“Ryan ten Doeschate then tweeted Fabs and asked him to call him,” he says. “He told him he wanted to do a Frontline Essex version to raise money for our local NHS. Then Notts did it and challenged Northamptonshire to do it too.
“Alastair Cook is in the Essex one and it’s unbelievable seeing him sing a line in the verse of Frontline. He used to be a chorister obviously, but they’re pretty awful singers as you can imagine. He was definitely the best one out of a pretty bad bunch.
“We’ve been trying to get all the other counties to do it as well.”
Essex’s efforts have currently received almost 2,000 YouTube views, with bats doubling up for microphones and some taking things a little more seriously than others.
Nottinghamshire, meanwhile, have just over 1,000, leaving them playing catch-up with Cook and his crew.
“It’s the easiest song ever, players can learn it in a heartbeat,” says Cowdrey. “It can be a grind to get a song out. Especially when James Blunt and Alisia Keys release one the week after. But hopefully we can do something to help. I think that’s all anyone wants to do at the moment.”
All proceeds go to the NHS Charities together.