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When Gower pacified an angry Swedish scientist after Fowler & Pocock’s waterbomb accident

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

David Gower, the former England captain, has recounted a hilarious tale from the time his side toured India in 1984/85, when he had to write a letter to himself in a bid to pacify an angry Swedish scientist.

Gower, speaking to The Cricket Podcast, revealed that during a fun-and-games evening in Hyderabad on that tour, Graeme Fowler and Pat Pocock unwittingly exploded a waterbomb in the out-air dining area at a hotel, right next to “a very eminent” Swedish scientist.

Gower was tasked with pacifying the angry fellow hotel guest, and had to write a letter to himself, being the team captain, on the scientist’s insistence that authorities be notified of the incident.

“The only waterbomb [incident] I was involved in was in India in 1984/85, I was captain in India,” said Gower. “We had a night in Hyderabad, during a zonal game, where we made our own fun basically with … they call them shikharas, which are Indian gondolas [wooden boats]. Had a bit of a race around the ornamental fountain in the lake, we had people up on the roof of the hotel, which were six-seven stories.

“We had Graeme Fowler and Pat Pocock on the roof, with oranges and waterbombs. They were bombing the gondolas, [which] are out on the artificial lake. And the only problem was, one of the waterbombs kind of exploded too early. So it dropped on the terrace below, which was open-air dining. It took by surprise [a] Swedish scientist, who was staying in this hotel. He was a very eminent person, a very serious person.

“This thing landed right next to his table, and it does make a hell of a noise, it takes you by surprise. When we got back from the gondolier race, it’s absolute carnage. I was tapped on the shoulder by the hotel manager, who said, ‘Mr. Gower, we’ve a slight problem.’ And he explained the situation – water bomb falling, very angry scientist who’d like to know who was in charge, which was probably me then.

“So I went to see said Swedish scientist, and apologised profusely. He said, ‘But I’d like the authorities to be informed’, so I said, ‘I’ll do that straightaway’. So I wrote a letter to myself on MCC headed notepaper, borrowed a typewriter from the Daily Mirror, borrowed some notepaper from the manager.

“I wrote a letter to myself, saying this was disgraceful, and action must be taken. Handed a copy to said Swedish scientist, and we ended up paying the damage to the shikharas, which was 50 quid – lots of rupees – but sorted, done that. By 11 o’clock that night, the whole thing was sorted.”

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