On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, regulars Yas Rana and Phil Walker were joined by David Gower.
With listeners sending in their questions to the former England captain, Gower revealed the bowlers he most feared facing during his illustrious playing career. While Malcolm Marshall topped the lot, there was an honourable mention for a Northamptonshire seamer that made good use of conditions to cause Gower plenty of strife.
“The bowlers one most fears – I could probably list 20 West Indian quicks who, in the Eighties, would all inspire some sort of anxiety,” said Gower. “Malcolm Marshall was the best of them. It’s a huge pick to have to make because you’ve got people like Michael Holding, my great mate, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Sylvester Clarke, who could hardly get a Test match. Malcolm, who I played with at Hampshire at the end of my career – one of the reasons for going there was to be on the same bloody side as him for once. Even then I had to stand at first slip and try and catch him. But Malcolm was probably the best of them all. A huge honour to play against him, a huge challenge.”
But for all the challenges Gower faced at international level, he also made sure to give mention to Tim Lamb, who dismissed him for a pair in a County Championship match in 1980 and then removed him for another duck the following year in a Benson and Hedges Cup match, all at Northamptonshire’s County Ground.
“Anywhere else in the country I’d back myself to get runs,” added Gower. “If Northants came to Leicester. I’d have to take revenge and get hundreds. Everytime I went to Northants, they would stick ‘Tiger Tim’ on. If he hadn’t got me out within two or three balls, there was something seriously wrong as far as they were concerned. That became my living nightmare.
“Tim’s style was brisk medium – might swing a little bit, might nip off the seam. Northampton in those days, the pitch was not my sort of pitch. I would lunge forward, stick a leg down the line of the stumps. It would invariably swing back in, pitch and nip, and whoever was standing in the white coat was ready and poised to stick the finger up.
“I once walked out at Northants, inevitably Tim was bowling, I took guard at the bloody Football Ground end, thinking ‘What am I doing here? This is not going to work’. And he ran in and bowled an orange, which pitched, nipped back and hit me on the pad! So even that would have done me.”
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