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23 Mar 2015

David Gower on Beefy, Tiger Moths and dropping the Ashes

Get the bragging rights over your mates on World Cup Final day with these nuggets of cricketing trivia from David Gower.

Get the bragging rights over your mates on World Cup Final day with these nuggets of cricketing trivia from David Gower.

1. Why England have never won the World Cup

At seven weeks the World Cup is too long, but it’s still an immense event for all of us in cricket. England’s finest chance came in 1992, when Graham Gooch, Ian Botham and all those guys came ever so close to winning in Australia. But English cricket has always had to deal with a simple problem: we understand Test match cricket, but the one-day game is less developed. We look at it differently; it’s a bit of fun.

 

2. My best mate in cricket

Ian Botham’s been a colleague of mine for 30 years-plus, and he’s a good buddy. I played 15 years of international cricket with him and we went all around the world together, getting into some interesting situations now and again!

You need friends to share the same values and experiences, to understand that life is not just about cricket
David Gower

But my best friend in cricket is Chris Cowdrey, of the famous  cricketing family. We first went on tour together at 17 or 18 on a school trip to South Africa. We went to the Caribbean a year or two later when he was captain of the England under-19 team. We've been close friends ever since.

 

That’s a friendship that will endure until the day we die because our lives are not just about cricket. There are some very complicated things going on beyond cricket. You need friends to share the same values and experiences, to understand that life is not just about cricket.

 

3. It’s my fault John Morris never played for the England Test team again

We were playing against Queensland in 1991, not at the Gabba but somewhere down on the Gold Coast. There was an airstrip nearby where two vintage Tiger Moths were doing tourist rides. After I got out on the third day, for a very good 13, I thought: ‘Hmm… tempting.’ It probably wasn't a good idea, but John Morris came with me and we hired these planes. We came over low, at about 150ft, and watched the game from a slightly different perspective. It was good fun.

 

Afterwards, we veered off and did a tour of the Gold Coast, but people realised it was us and the management got a bit miffed. They took a dim view of it and called me in for a meeting. Two or three days later they came up with a £1,000 fine, which was the maximum available by our contract and made the $75 to hire the planes a little bit more expensive than it had meant to be.  I got off lightly though. John didn't play in another Test match for England.

 

4. It was the music that ruined my tour, not the plane

After the fine I thought: ‘Right, we've done all this, we've had our fun, now it’s time to get back to the serious business of getting runs in the Test matches.’ But when I walked out to bat on the second morning at the Adelaide Test, the PA system played ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’ and after that I never got another run.

 

5. No, I didn't drop the Ashes

When I finished playing and was working for the BBC we did an Ashes preview. The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) doesn't let the real urn out if it can help it, so we had a replica. We were on top of Worcester Cathedral and the little cork that was in the top of this urn slipped out. So we spent 20 minutes trying to find it again. But it was only a replica, the real Ashes are still intact!