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West Indies v England

David Gower praised for defending players’ ‘passion’ after heated exchanges in West Indies-England Test

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Former England captain David Gower has earned praise from England fans for his erudite evaluation of a heated confrontation between Ben Stokes and Jermaine Blackwood on the third day of the second West Indies-England Test.

The two exchanged words as Blackwood neared his century, with the umpires speaking to Stokes and England captain Joe Root before stepping between the two as Blackwood advanced towards Stokes, in response to the latter saying, “Let’s get you in England boy, let’s get that average down to 26.”

Instead of criticising the pair, Gower explained how he loved “to see a bit of passion out there”, with such moments, in his view, helping to dismiss the perception of cricket as simply a friendly game.


“They’ve got a lot of mutual respect I’m sure, but when things boil over, let’s face it,” said Gower on BT Sport. “It’s a hot day, there’s a lot of overs without a wicket, there are a lot of flash points out there. And to me actually, my view is this: It shouldn’t go over a certain limit and of course the umpires are there to control it, but I love to see a bit of passion out there, batter or bowler. I love to see these personal contests because it just reminds people that cricket is not just the sedate game played on village greens and next to the church where people say ‘well batted’ and ‘well bowled’ all the time and break off for a nice cup of tea and a scone. There has to be passion. There has to be competition.”

Gower received plenty of plaudits for his elegant evaluation, with one fan calling him “a national treasure”.

Gower, who worked as a commentator at Sky Sports for over two decades following the end of his playing career, has long held a fond place in the hearts of England fans for his wry manner and gentle wit. After leaving Sky Sports he has worked for the host broadcaster of the Pakistan Super League and played a part in BT Sport’s cricket coverage.

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