Sunday, September 15, 2019

David Gower: The best England batsman I have seen

David Gower is in the news today because Sky Sports have let him go.

Many readers will know him as a classy and latterly avuncular broadcaster, but I am lucky enough to remember Gower the batsman.

When he pulled the first ball he faced in test cricket for four, John Arlott exclaimed "Oh, what a princely entry!"

And 'princely' describes the young Gower of those days so well.

There were times, such as the summer of 1985 when he captained England to victory over Australis and scored a double century and two centuries in the process, that he appeared invincible - the best England batsman I have ever seen.

But there was a fragility about him too. When you watched him playing for Leicestershire at Grace Road you were on the edge of your seat, determined to enjoy every shot, every ball, in case some misjudgement cut his innings short.

Here he is scoring his first test double century against India in 1979, his second summer of test cricket.

The bowling looks distinctly ordinary, but oh the shots he plays!

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