Australia v England, first Test, Perth, 1982-83 May 30, 2010

A touch of Gower

A WACA innings where the batsman should, by rights, have gone on to make 400
61

When you are eight you watch cricket with a keener eye for detail than you shall ever summon again. Brief passages of play swell big and perfect in your head, almost as if you imagined them, maybe. This is particularly the case on the first Friday of the Test match summer - when you have been up since daybreak, engineering a migraine and various runny-tummy emergencies in an effort to avoid school, only to be rewarded with the spectacle of Chris Tavare and Geoff Cook, not so much an opening stand as an opening lie-down.

Such was my predicament in a bare living room in Anula, Northern Territory, Australia: broken furniture, no air-conditioning, twin baby sisters wailing, TV on. Then, in a blue helmet, no visor or chinstrap, blond curls crushing against his earguards, appeared David Ivon Gower.

A dainty flex of his arms and the ball went scudding through the covers. Balls nearer his legs were cuffed away, so soft, a butterfly catcher's touch. His feet hardly moved yet were always in position. No reaching or lunging was required, no tugging around corners.

The specifics fail me. But I see him standing tall, and with so much time, leaning always on the back foot, waiting… waiting for Dennis Lillee, and caressing him straight; waiting for Bruce Yardley, the spinner, and late-cutting him through slips.

Cricket in Perth - something to do with the light - often seems abnormally pure. This, though, was purer than spring rain. Then John Dyson at square leg dived three metres to his right and it was over.

Yesterday I looked up Scyld Berry's book from that summer, Train to Julia Creek. Magnificent - but not much cricket in it, and no Gower. I went to the newspaper archives room. No Gower until Wilkins' 22nd paragraph in the Australian; none in the Herald till the 23rd. McFarline in the Age mentions Gower's "sensible strokeplay" and Casellas in the West Australian his "enterprise". Seventy-two runs, Casellas concludes, that were "richly deserved".

Richly deserved? Gower deserved 400 that day, not 72. And this morning, no longer eight years old, I wonder: did it really happen?

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 2, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    I once bought a very poor video called The David Gower Story which seemed to spend as much time discussing his favourite wines as his cricket but one thing I do remember from it is that he picked this innings out as the best he ever felt in the middle and he didn't feel there was anyway he was going to get out. Until he skied one to third man (I think).

  • LancsTwins on June 2, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Lovely article. Unlike some, I am old enough to remember Gower in his pomp and there was nothing more beautiful, though I agree that Mohammed Azaruddin, Martin Crowe and Mark Waugh are worthy comparisons. DavidWarner, no-one made runs against the great WIndies sides of the 80s for long, including Greenidge and Richards when they faced their colleagues in Shell Shield games. But Gower was not just a show pony. Check out the 1986 series in the WIndies when Gower was the only one to remotely cope, scoring almost literally twice as many as any of a fine group of batters including Botham, Lamb, Gatting and the much vaunted Gooch. Tim Robinson came into this series with a massive reputation but it effectively ended his Test career. Gower had far more steel than he was ever credited for.

    But most of all, he was beautiful and magical to watch and for a while, he (and Botham) made English cricket exciting and fun. I am grateful to have watched cricket in those times.

  • CustomKid on June 2, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Cheers Desplatt - You are correct he did suffer with the short ball which was one of the main reasons for losing his spot to Mark. I was at Adelaide oval (my home ground) watching Mark peel off his debut maiden ton. Leg side flicks very similar to that of gower. He also peeled off a sublime ton agaisnt the Windies in 92 at the MCG from memory which was equally as good with Walsh and Ambrose at their peeks.

    Steve Waugh was also suffering with mild stress fractures of the back around 90-91 and resulted in him bowling very little in tests which probably contributed to his axing as well. Needless to say he came back tougher than ever albeit not as good on the eye but the rest is history as they say.

    89 for steve though was just classical stroke play all around the wicket but the offside was stunning. I'll not forget those two tons for a long time.

  • kempson94 on June 1, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    judging by his comments Ajays_PyrotechniXX must also rate such great left handers as panesar, devon smith and farhat!! it seems only english cricket lovers can have an unbiased opinion. godly stokemakers such as lara, gower and sangakkarra, along with great fighters like chanderpaul, boycott and border are surely the best ever left-handers. not to mention the power of gooch, hayden and jayasuryia. i feel bad placing warner's name even close to these greats.

  • DesPlatt on June 1, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    Customkid, you are so right about Steve Waugh in 1989.I got the impression that it was problems with the bouncer that made him change method but may have been back trouble or both. I had the pleasure of seeing Mark's debut century at Adelaide in 1991 which Wisden said "would never be forgotten by those who saw it. Mark Waugh and VVS would both be in my team of players who have given me the most pleasure which would also include Sobers and Barry Richards. I never saw Gower at his most fluent but I remember my late father returning from a one day match in which Robin Smith and Gower had shared a big stand. He felt compelled to write an article about it and concluded " Smith was awarded man of the match but the Gods had already made their own awards".

    The author is so right about the intensity with which a youngster who is really interested watches the game.In my 50s now, I can never summon the concentration I used to as a teenager who never missed a ball and analysed it all.

  • waspsting on June 1, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    Saeed Anwar never played an ugly shot in his life (though many stupid ones). through the covers, he was sublime, and flicking of the pads, just a whip of the wrists. Mark Waugh was all lazy elegence, but it was an illusion somewhat. He hit a lot of 3s, especially through the covers - failure to get a 4. elegance is good, but not when its hampering you from getting the most out of your shot. Jayawardena... This guy makes slog sweeps look graceful. amazing. Ramesh is the most Gowerish - little feet movement, tap of the ball when it reaches him and away she goes. More wristy than Gower, whose signature was cover-drive (not a wristy shot) rather than the flick. Gower would play a type of pick up shot that was very pretty to leg side balls, or the big pull.

  • waspsting on June 1, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Gower was a beautiful player - no doubt. player who most reminded me of him was Sadagoppan Ramesh - the same lack of footwork, the same gentle tap of the ball to send it merrily on its way. other elegent, touch players - Sayeed Anwar, Mark Waugh and Jayawardena. Inzamam and Youhanna weren't bad either. Azhar looked so neat with his leg flicks, but through the off-side, he thrashed the ball hard. Gavaskar had great style, but was too slow scoring to be a 'treat' to watch (Dravid too). I hear Lawrence Rowe was in a class of his own as far as elegence goes, never saw him play. We should have a list of the ugliest players too, just for fun. Steve Waugh, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Gurusingha, chanderpaul, Roger Twose. Border wasn't pretty, but not as ugly as he was made out to be.

  • sundar1967 on June 1, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    I would rate the partnership between azhar and tendulkar against south africa in capetown during 1996 is best innings. The best part of the partnership is that the 15 balls faced by azhar, immediately after lunch, there were 11 fours in it.

  • Sitting-on-a-gate on June 1, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @Gary_111 - Raina! Irfan! Ojha! Yuvraj! Betterthan Gower. If there was a Lara in that list it would have made it a bit better! Friend, get a tape of Gower during his prime and see how left handers should play. @Croc_on_Mara - It was not style over substance, it was style masking the substance!

  • AJAYs_PyrotechniXX on June 1, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    @kempson94 - Yuvrajs failures in the recent tourneys doesnt take away anything from the fact that he is one of the most stylish and "easy on the eyes" batsman going around. The elegance and charisma that oozes from his presence on the crease cannot be matched by anyone in todays era....Magnificent is the word i would use to describe Yuvis batting whereas Gower was only silken touch

  • on June 2, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    I once bought a very poor video called The David Gower Story which seemed to spend as much time discussing his favourite wines as his cricket but one thing I do remember from it is that he picked this innings out as the best he ever felt in the middle and he didn't feel there was anyway he was going to get out. Until he skied one to third man (I think).

  • LancsTwins on June 2, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Lovely article. Unlike some, I am old enough to remember Gower in his pomp and there was nothing more beautiful, though I agree that Mohammed Azaruddin, Martin Crowe and Mark Waugh are worthy comparisons. DavidWarner, no-one made runs against the great WIndies sides of the 80s for long, including Greenidge and Richards when they faced their colleagues in Shell Shield games. But Gower was not just a show pony. Check out the 1986 series in the WIndies when Gower was the only one to remotely cope, scoring almost literally twice as many as any of a fine group of batters including Botham, Lamb, Gatting and the much vaunted Gooch. Tim Robinson came into this series with a massive reputation but it effectively ended his Test career. Gower had far more steel than he was ever credited for.

    But most of all, he was beautiful and magical to watch and for a while, he (and Botham) made English cricket exciting and fun. I am grateful to have watched cricket in those times.

  • CustomKid on June 2, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Cheers Desplatt - You are correct he did suffer with the short ball which was one of the main reasons for losing his spot to Mark. I was at Adelaide oval (my home ground) watching Mark peel off his debut maiden ton. Leg side flicks very similar to that of gower. He also peeled off a sublime ton agaisnt the Windies in 92 at the MCG from memory which was equally as good with Walsh and Ambrose at their peeks.

    Steve Waugh was also suffering with mild stress fractures of the back around 90-91 and resulted in him bowling very little in tests which probably contributed to his axing as well. Needless to say he came back tougher than ever albeit not as good on the eye but the rest is history as they say.

    89 for steve though was just classical stroke play all around the wicket but the offside was stunning. I'll not forget those two tons for a long time.

  • kempson94 on June 1, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    judging by his comments Ajays_PyrotechniXX must also rate such great left handers as panesar, devon smith and farhat!! it seems only english cricket lovers can have an unbiased opinion. godly stokemakers such as lara, gower and sangakkarra, along with great fighters like chanderpaul, boycott and border are surely the best ever left-handers. not to mention the power of gooch, hayden and jayasuryia. i feel bad placing warner's name even close to these greats.

  • DesPlatt on June 1, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    Customkid, you are so right about Steve Waugh in 1989.I got the impression that it was problems with the bouncer that made him change method but may have been back trouble or both. I had the pleasure of seeing Mark's debut century at Adelaide in 1991 which Wisden said "would never be forgotten by those who saw it. Mark Waugh and VVS would both be in my team of players who have given me the most pleasure which would also include Sobers and Barry Richards. I never saw Gower at his most fluent but I remember my late father returning from a one day match in which Robin Smith and Gower had shared a big stand. He felt compelled to write an article about it and concluded " Smith was awarded man of the match but the Gods had already made their own awards".

    The author is so right about the intensity with which a youngster who is really interested watches the game.In my 50s now, I can never summon the concentration I used to as a teenager who never missed a ball and analysed it all.

  • waspsting on June 1, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    Saeed Anwar never played an ugly shot in his life (though many stupid ones). through the covers, he was sublime, and flicking of the pads, just a whip of the wrists. Mark Waugh was all lazy elegence, but it was an illusion somewhat. He hit a lot of 3s, especially through the covers - failure to get a 4. elegance is good, but not when its hampering you from getting the most out of your shot. Jayawardena... This guy makes slog sweeps look graceful. amazing. Ramesh is the most Gowerish - little feet movement, tap of the ball when it reaches him and away she goes. More wristy than Gower, whose signature was cover-drive (not a wristy shot) rather than the flick. Gower would play a type of pick up shot that was very pretty to leg side balls, or the big pull.

  • waspsting on June 1, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Gower was a beautiful player - no doubt. player who most reminded me of him was Sadagoppan Ramesh - the same lack of footwork, the same gentle tap of the ball to send it merrily on its way. other elegent, touch players - Sayeed Anwar, Mark Waugh and Jayawardena. Inzamam and Youhanna weren't bad either. Azhar looked so neat with his leg flicks, but through the off-side, he thrashed the ball hard. Gavaskar had great style, but was too slow scoring to be a 'treat' to watch (Dravid too). I hear Lawrence Rowe was in a class of his own as far as elegence goes, never saw him play. We should have a list of the ugliest players too, just for fun. Steve Waugh, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Gurusingha, chanderpaul, Roger Twose. Border wasn't pretty, but not as ugly as he was made out to be.

  • sundar1967 on June 1, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    I would rate the partnership between azhar and tendulkar against south africa in capetown during 1996 is best innings. The best part of the partnership is that the 15 balls faced by azhar, immediately after lunch, there were 11 fours in it.

  • Sitting-on-a-gate on June 1, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @Gary_111 - Raina! Irfan! Ojha! Yuvraj! Betterthan Gower. If there was a Lara in that list it would have made it a bit better! Friend, get a tape of Gower during his prime and see how left handers should play. @Croc_on_Mara - It was not style over substance, it was style masking the substance!

  • AJAYs_PyrotechniXX on June 1, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    @kempson94 - Yuvrajs failures in the recent tourneys doesnt take away anything from the fact that he is one of the most stylish and "easy on the eyes" batsman going around. The elegance and charisma that oozes from his presence on the crease cannot be matched by anyone in todays era....Magnificent is the word i would use to describe Yuvis batting whereas Gower was only silken touch

  • Paulk on June 1, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    A lot of comments have come up here about who is better or who is more elegant. It is besides the point I think. I admire VVS and M. Waugh for reasons similar to Gower. And Zaheer Abbas. Especially VVS for his playiing his best against the best, something which Gower did not do. However, for me personally, nobody gave me quite a thrill while at the crease like Gower did for the reasons that he did. Maybe it was because I was a 12 year old kid then and impressionable or whatever, it doesnt matter. I dont need to compare or find reasons. I hope DI Gower knows the pleasure he brought to so many kids back then. Thats all. Cheers everyone.

  • CustomKid on June 1, 2010, 2:48 GMT

    Steve Waugh was a scrapper and not always your typical classic batsman on the eye post his back injuries - but if anyone can get a copy of his maiden test hundred in the 1989 ashes of 177* and his follow up innings of 152* they are two innings that oozed class before he altered his game.

    He batted in his baggy green and I still remember a forward defensive push early in the first knock with the stroke that he held poised full face of the bat held high as the ball rocketed all the way to the fence. The 'Great' Richie Beanuad who was in commentry for the BBC said in his calm way 'well'(and paused) 'I swear that shot was nothing more than a defensive push'!

    Gunn & Moore used a photo of the stroke for the advertising post the 89 ashes such was the quality. He also followed up with some lavish back foot classical drives and deft cuts off the spinners in that innings that were stunning. If you can get a copy and are a fan of S.Waugh do yourself a favour and watch those two innings.

  • Awad on June 1, 2010, 0:42 GMT

    For no reason and without provocation, ShahzanBukhari went berserk and started ranting at Manor Prabhakar. And that led to an ugly chain of comments that have undermined the topic of the article.

    The moderators at Cricinfo ought to filter such inane and stupid comments that lead to the oft-repeated and oh-so-boring Indo-Pak debate.

    A pity a silky article about the silkiest of left handers has been besmirched.

  • Chris_P on May 31, 2010, 23:21 GMT

    @DavidWarner, I would add that during the period of WI dominence, very few batsmen had match winning innings against the WI when at their peak. This article, again, was about the elegance & fluency of Gower's style, something that just about everyone who had posted here have agreed, so it would appear Christian Ryan is not alone in this sort of thinking. VVS is a batsman I admire very much, but as pleasing to watch as Gower for pure elegance, I think not. Not even our own Mark Waugh, also great to watch and won at least 5 games I can think of off the top of my head, didn't look as fluent as Gower.

  • Chris_P on May 31, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    David Warner, Actually I am Australian but an Aussie who appreciates all cricket for what it is and I still play competitively and have played overseas in a few countries at a high level. As stated earlier in my post, get your facts right. I was at Sydney in 2003 % Australia thumped India by 9 wickets with VVS contributing 19 & 18. Now having said that I am not knocking VVS, who I think is a sensational bat, but this example is not correct. Perhaps you mean his innings in 2000 in Sydney where he scored 167 out of 261? India lost that one by an inningsw & 114 runs. His innings was brilliant (also saw that one too) but he was playing a losing situation and throwing the bat everything and was coming off.. believe me it wasn't an innings of fluency al la Gower, it was very brutal. Discount those tests because of your opinion they didn't rate?? Perhaps we should discount all efforts against Zimbabwe & Bangladesh for the same reasons?? I will add further to this.

  • on May 31, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    In the pantheon of Cricketing greats, there's been none more divinely elegant than David Gower. He will forever remain the collossal others are measured against. Gower on song was a treat for the Gods. I have seen others come and go and they are all good in their own way. But Gower rules above all. The only comparison I would offer is from another sport: Johan Cruyff/ Soccer. May be a Samurai's sword would dance the same in a Zen moment. There are those who have made a name for themselves in a manner that is their own: Gavaskar, Richards, Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, etc., They may have dominated attacks in a way Gower hasn't but how can one explain 8000 odd runs at a time when the oppostion had 3 of the best all rounders ever? and there was no B'desh or Zimb to accumulate runs against? and when some of the best fast/spin bowlers ever ruled? Gower is a poet gladiator, a painter assasin. None of the other greats can lay claim to the throne of serene, saccharine grace as only DG can.

  • Croc_on_mara on May 31, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    David Gower ... Ah! Lazy elagance, oomph laden and style over substance. What a combo! His poor record against the windies will be held against him forever I guess, but that does not take away the aesthetic wealth he left. Modern day pundits who come close to him are Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman, Damien Martyn, Azhar, Cullinan and Mahela. If Sarwan and Bell get their act together, they have a good chance of sneaking in to this list. Ashraful from BD, on rare occassions when he gets going in easy on the eyes too. Pak has almost never produced such players mainly because they are heavily bottom-handed players who trade street-smartness and substance for style.It possibly emanates from the gully cricket culture where working the ball off the square is an absolute no-no where are agricultural cow-corner heaves are the staple.

  • Gary_111 on May 31, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    Irfan Pathan's 28 at Perth in 2008 was a much better innings. There are much better left-handed batsmen in world cricket at the moment than Gower, such as Ganguly, Yuvraj, Raina and Ojha.

  • kempson94 on May 31, 2010, 20:01 GMT

    i think Ajays_PyrotechniXX has been watching the ipl a bit too much if he thinks yuvraj is even close to gower. this is what t20 has done to cricket, yes it's fun, but it's made idiots like this compare big hitters to great batsman. a batting comparison to yuvraj? maybe the defense of chris martin

  • on May 31, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    Sachin's 114 at Perth is one of the best innings played at this ground

  • on May 31, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar's 114 at Perth in 1992 is one of the best innings played at that ground.

  • AJAYs_PyrotechniXX on May 31, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    I guess Gower was one of the most stylish and carefree players of that generation but Yuvaraj has to be the most stylish player of the current crop....

  • ahmadhk on May 31, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    i believe david gower, saeed anwar and kumar sangakkara to be the most stylish left-handed batsmen of all time

  • gudolerhum on May 31, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    I suggest that the point Christian Ryan is making is simply that David Gower's innings, on that day in Perth, was, in his memory, the best he has ever seen! While Gower did not excel against the WI to the same extent that he did against other opponents, there is no denying that he was one of the most accomplished, graceful & entertaining batsmen of his era. His record speaks for itself; had Graham Gooch been less selfish, Gower would have enjoyed a longer career in the English team and the cricket world would have enjoyed watching him for an extended period but that was not to be. Petty jealousies won the battle. I will always be glad to have seen a little of Gower at his best - a pleasure for anyone who appreciates cricket. So forget the discussions on who won more matches for the team, who was the best batsman and all the petty rivalries, let us recognise and appreciate the rare talent that was Gower's, that many of us were privileged to witness! Thank you!

  • AhmadSaleem on May 31, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    Well, Can someone help me out that who has won more test and ODI matches which are played between Pakistan and India?

  • BeeArr on May 31, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    In my generation, I would rate stylists in this order 1.Martin Crowe 2.Mark Waugh 3.VVS Laxman & Damien Martyn 4.Azhar... My father is a die hard fan of David Gower for his grace, but he also rates Rohan Kanhai, Vishy and Zaheer Abbas. But to his Gower is a god of elegance and looking at the taste he had for the modern stylish elegant batsmen, i go by it. He vividly has told me the beautiful cover drives and pull shots he played and with sadness will say he scored only 42 that day......

    Personally I miss Mark waugh and Martin Crowe the most.

  • on May 31, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Elegant left handed batsmen. Ganguly can be compared to him.especially the strokes through the offside.

  • Vivek.Bhandari on May 31, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I would say irrelevant discussions about who's who of great batsmen has diluted the essence of this article...i believe this article was about what an 8-year old liked in this innings amidst what all was happening in his living room...and all sundry...get a life guys...this is something that "Natx" has also suggested...

  • DKan on May 31, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    Among all the names mentioned in comments so far, they have all been players who have played copybook cricket to the tee, and made people go: 'Wow! did you see that?' Now there is another name which I would like to add, I am sure almost everyone will disagree, but in my opinion if you watch this guy bat, some would think he is slogging. He might look ugly every once in a while, but he makes up for those with far many shots which bring out the exact same sentiment as above. Only difference is, he isn't playing copybook definition of the strokes, and has expanded them to go in the air. The guy I am talking about is Sehwag, and you only need to see some of his recent test innings to see the complete control he is starting to have on his knocks, with almost perfect placement & timing everytime and add to that the audaciousness. When he is on song, you can easily use every single term used for Gower to describe him. Now just because its unorthodox, does it change the viewing pleasure?

  • DavidWarner on May 31, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    @Chris_P - In continuation of my previous post.

    Now, all through vvs's career, Aussies have been the top dogs. They have been intimidating all comers, yet VVS has won atleast 3 matches against them off his own bat, Calcutta 2001, Sydney 2003 and perth 2008. And like I said in my original post, he does it while displaying his sheer class and the trademark lazy elegance. I haven't seen him yet of looking ugly or hurried, ever. I rest my case.

  • DavidWarner on May 31, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    @Chris_P. I take it you are from england. We will all agree that In the period from late 70s till mid 90s, WI were the uncrowned kings of cricket. Aus and Eng were just mediocre teams during most of this periods. The other teams such as India, NZ etc were even worse (I won't insult intelligent cricketfans by including Pakistan here, they were never better than current Bangladesh team). Gower had a good record against all these teams, EXCEPT the windies. If you look at his record against them, it was very very average. I have been watching cricket from the 70s and I can't think of one instance where he won a match off his own bat against them. I tend to discount his heroics against the Aussies in 85 ashes, against the Indians and NZ teams because they were pretty average attacks.

    I am running out of space so I will post my arguments on VVS in the next post.

  • nafzak on May 31, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    I am East Indian origin; I am Muslim and I am Guyanese/West Indian. Please my friends, lets keep India/Pakistan rivalry out of this argument. Azhar, Zaheer Abbas were all beautiful to watch. I know, because I have seen all of them play. I have also seen Gower, Kallicharran, Richards, Sachin, the Chappells, Gavaskar, etc. Here's my humble opinion and I freely admit that I may be biased because of where I am from, but those who know cricket and know strokeplay will tell you that bar none, Rohan B. Kanhai was right at the top with the best of strokeplayers. Another man who is underappreciated and in my opinion is Lawrence Rowe of Jamaica. Without a doubt Rowe was among the best. Too bad for his failing eyesight and his decision to tour South Africa during the apartheid era.

    Now, Indian and Pakistani players have no problem singing each other praises, yet you thin skinned fans have a hard time appreciating the other side. You must learn to appreciate the game & not hate.

  • Natx on May 31, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    @ShahzanHaiderBukhari - First read the article. It's about David Gower, one of "the" elegant, aesthetically pleasing batsmen who has ever played the game. While you are welcome to compare players, please keep in mind how stylish they were, yet produced over 5000+ test runs and also have won test matches for their country against top playing nations on their home turf such as Australia, West Indies in their prime, and against England in England with guys like Botham and Willis, and South Africa when Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and co were at their prime. Given all these equations - the closest who can come (for discussion sake) would be Mark Waugh, Martin Crowe, Azharurddin, VVS, Dravid, Carl Hooper, Mahela, Jacques Kallis. The only Pakistani who somewhat comes close would be Yousuf Youhana, who was anyway fired by the PCB. This article is not about afridi, umar akmal type of Twenty20 hitting. God bless.

  • Itchy on May 31, 2010, 2:09 GMT

    DavidWarner: I would suggest that one D Gower won several test matches for England in the mid-80s (particularly in Ashes contests). As for Pakistan not producing great batsmen in the last 50 years may I suggest a couple of names - Inzamam & Javed Miandad.

    As an Australian, I never looked forward to Gower walking out to the centre...until he started batting. My favourite opposition batsman of all time! Matched only by Mark Waugh in his ability to look fabulous for 40-odd runs and then find a way to get himself out.

  • lodger67 on May 31, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    At DavidWarner, before declaring that Gower never won a single game for his country, please check some basic records. They are all on cricinfo, easy to find. Gower's first hundred in 1978 gave England a shot at victory on a treacherous Oval pitch, which they took. His unbeaten 200 against India in 1979 set up an innings win. His consecutive hundreds in 1985 (215 and 157) demoralised the 1985 Aussies, setting up two series-defining victories. There's a few match winning knocks just off the top.

  • Ozbuck on May 30, 2010, 23:19 GMT

    Cricketer's heaven;David Gower and Mark Waugh in a neverending partenrship facing Dennis Lillee, Michael Holding, Richard Hadlee and Shabne Warne. Lenbuck

  • Chris_P on May 30, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    This article by Chistian Ryan is about the batting style of David Gower, not if he was a batter batsman than whoever. Get a life and leave your petty comments out of this or at least get your facts right. David Gower was THE main reason England won the Ashes in 1985 due to his sublime batting performance thoughout the entire series, something no-one has since managed to repeat in similar style including all your supposed "heroes". And please, please leave all peurile comments on other country's shortcomings in your own racist minds. We are supposed to be a cricket loving community appreciating all talents from a vast array of performers. This article was an outstanding recall of a hugely talented batsman so let's keep comments pertaining to it if we can manage that and do it with some sort of dignity.

  • ozziefan08 on May 30, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Although I am to young to have watched Gower in his prime, I have been fortunate to watch many replays and wow he was a great batsmen always playing beautiful shots and making it all look too easy. Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn where both like this when they batted, Driving and clipping the ball so easily it was beautiful to watch. I really cant see a modern day player right now like these 3 they were the best.

  • dr.saurabhg on May 30, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    any person who wud not include AZHAR in the same league hasnt really witnessed finesse.... yeah GOWER was no doubt the legend but in style azhar will always be up there with the best....

  • DavidWarner on May 30, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    ShahzanHaiderBukhari, When Akmal and co win a single test match, a single one day match, you can raise your head and talk about a great like VVS. Till then, I would advice you to keep hyping mediocre, very very average cross-batted sloggers like Akmal because that's all you can get.. And i would advice you to keep your opinions about the Indian greats to yourself.. Because, frankly, you haven't earned the right to discuss them. Not when your best batsman ever, Miandad, is not fit to tie the shoe laces of VVS.

  • DavidWarner on May 30, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    Poor ShahzanHaiderBukhari, he cannot bear to think India has produced so many great batsmen over the past decade when Pakistan hasn't had a single decent batsman in the last 50 years. I think the last great Pakistan batsman was ...wait, I can't think of one. And you are right, it's foolish to compare Gower to VVS because VVS is far better. How many test matches did Gower win for England? Zero, Nada, zilch, zip. I can think of atleast 5 that the great VVS won off his own bat. And he does it looking like a million dollars all the time. Unlike the crude, cross batter sloggers from Pakistan like Miandad, Umark Akmal etc. Off course Prabhakar trembled when facing Akram. that's like saying the goat is great because he scared a chicken.. Instead, why don't you consider all the thrashings Akram and co received from almost every few test matches.. Remember Sadagopan ramesh making Akram cry in his debut test? Remember Pointng savaging Akram all around the park in the WC finals 1999?

  • Gerrie on May 30, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Excellent!

    I remember (in the same vein) watching Graeme Pollock scoring 144 (in probably his last test against the rebel Aussies at St Georges Park) with my late father. Something I will always cherish.

  • Paulk on May 30, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    "A dainty flex of his arms and the ball went scudding through the covers........His feet hardly moved yet were always in position. No reaching or lunging was required, no tugging around corners."

    Yes, yes and yes. That is exactly how I remember his batting!

  • Paulk on May 30, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    Growing up in the 80s, David Gower has a special place all to himself on my shelf of batting heroes. A unique place. I loved Viv Richards and all the other great batsmen of that era and then later on the batting of Gilchrist, Tendullkar, Lara, the Waughs and others. But David Gower was unique. I remember watching him on TV make something in the mid 30s one time full of boundaries before getting out and it was so completely effortless and graceful. He almost looked bored out there but did just enough for the ball to go to the boundary time and again. He may not be considered in the same level as Tendulkar, Richards etc but he has a unique place among batting greats that cannot be completely be measured or appreciated by looking at numbers.

  • CricketPissek on May 30, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    can we keep india/paskitan rivalry out of the comments please? there are a million other articles for you to pollute if you feel the need. i've only seen archived footage of Gower batting and WOW, what a stylist. It's fair enough to say VVS Laxman shows hints of it (except when he tries to slog in the IPL. Yuck!). Kumar Sangakkara plays a Goweresque shot every now and then but there's nothing like the original for the generation who watched him, i'm sure. World cricket is blessed to have batsmen who (as AdityaMookerjee mentioned) do exactly the same thing as others (i.e score runs) but do it in such an aesthetically pleasing manner, it's an absolute joy to watch.

  • on May 30, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    I can't remember anyone batting as fluently as gower indeed a massive talent. Batsmen like Gower, Mark waugh , Azaharudin, Lakshman and Mahela are a joy to watch.Hope we see more batsman like them in the future.

  • NeilCameron on May 30, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    I always remember Gower's 215 during the 1985 Ashes series. I sat up late at night in wintry Australia watching my team get thrashed, but thrashed so sublimely and beautifully. It was like watching an executioner with curls and a smirk.

  • on May 30, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Gower and Mark Waugh both sit high amongst my fave batsmen for the sheer style and class. They are the only two I have ever watched that made the game look so pathetically easy! Don, Sachin, Lara, S.Waugh etc. will go down in history as the better batsmen (rightfully so!) but I would much rather watch a Gower ton.

  • on May 30, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    David Gower was a true stylist and a class act. The lazy elegance is probably matchedby very few. Players like GR Vishwanath, Mark Waugh, Lara, Azar, Dravid always played with elegance and made cricket a treat to watch. Laxman has timing, but not a stylist in perfectionist mode!! Probably I will give Tendulkar a miss on this aspect.

  • jkaussie on May 30, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    I remember watching Gower bat against Australia in both England and here...part of me always wanted him to get out because he was an important wicket but a huge part of me wanted him to bat forever! Mark Waugh was similar, Sachin is the same although not perhaps the "poetry", Rahul Dravid and Very Very Special are in the same league...effortless, beautiful to watch and the kind of player to make peope gasp!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 30, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    @ Arachnodouche says in his comment,"We are lucky to have a VVS Laxman still amongst us, and a Rohit Sharma capable of clearing the ropes without compromising on aesthetics". What a joke this is man!!! Get up from your deep slumber. You are comparing Laxman and Rohit Sharma with the legendary player David Gower. I think you are living in the 'Fools' Paradise'. It's one of the biggest jokes ever I have heard about Cricket. Rohit and Laxman are ordinary players in International Cricket. They might be your heroes like Manoj Prabharker and Chitan Sharma. Manoj Prabharker was used to be criticized by the viewers who was always at mercy while facing Waseem Akram. A video shows his trembling legs when he was facing Waseem Akram. Who will have forgotten Chitan Sharma, Indian hero who received lovely reatment from Javaid Miandad in Austral Asia Cup 1986 when he was hit for a huge six on the last ball of the match. Huh! The top ranking India!!! Shameful comparison!!!

  • on May 30, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    I never understood why England dropped Gower. The only player I could compare to him was Azharuddin. and yes, now Laxman but not of that great class.

  • ianChappellFan on May 30, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    CR rocks! always a treat to read.

  • george204 on May 30, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    "did it really happen?" I used to wonder exactly the same thing after watching Gower bat - when on song, you wondered how he ever got out. Then out of the blue, usually against the run of play & apparently totally out of character, he'd play a dreadful shot & give his wicket away. My favourite Gower innings was his last test hundred - 123 at Sydney, filled with strokes of such purity you could happily forget that England were already 2-0 down in the Ashes. English cricket shot itself in the foot when it allowed Gooch to sideline him - has a great player ever been more shabbily treated?

  • Arachnodouche on May 30, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    I'm loving this flurry of flashbacks from the cricinfo staff. Gower retired before I started following cricket consciously (around about '91) but I've seen plenty of him from reel archives, and he always seem to be possessed of the silken touch of Gods. It's a pity that the artist will find little space to showcase his talents in the coming, foreseeable future. We are lucky to have a VVS Laxman still amongst us, and a Rohit Sharma capable of clearing the ropes without compromising on aesthetics.

  • nnavinraj on May 30, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Watching a batsman of remarkable talent score runs is akin to making love with your clothes on. What more do you expect from the greats.

  • on May 30, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Just wanted to say that as someone who knows how to write good English,Ryan's output(the articles written by him that I read on Cricinfo) have been consistently brilliant.There are writers and there are writers, and Ryan is one of the best in the business...

  • ruester on May 30, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    As a teenager, I wanted to be a right handed Gower, I practiced in the nets against my mates for hours, declaring as a full length ball came down here comes a Gower cover drive! He was the most beautiful of batsmen to watch, my idol!

  • Chris_P on May 30, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Definitely my favourite English cricketer. He looked like he had so much time to play so many shots and he appeared to caress the ball rather than bludgeon it. I have yet to see any modern cricketers with the same type of slky skills. Thanks for this article, He was also one of my idols as a youngster and the mark he left on me was definitive.

  • sfo_novato on May 30, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    David Gower is one of my all-time favorite English cricketers. His batting was all about elegance, poise and timing. Probably would have been just as successful in shorter versions of the game. A delight to watch him play fast bowlers.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 30, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    There are always batsmen on the international cricket scene, who make the art of batting seem more significant in their practice. Batsman-ship depends upon the hitting of the ball, with the bat. There are as many methods of doing this, as there are batsmen. We are pleased with our perception of others batting, and we decide on the basis of that perception, the calibre of the batting skills of others. David Gower did not do anything that any other international batsman did not do, which is hit the ball to the boundary.

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  • AdityaMookerjee on May 30, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    There are always batsmen on the international cricket scene, who make the art of batting seem more significant in their practice. Batsman-ship depends upon the hitting of the ball, with the bat. There are as many methods of doing this, as there are batsmen. We are pleased with our perception of others batting, and we decide on the basis of that perception, the calibre of the batting skills of others. David Gower did not do anything that any other international batsman did not do, which is hit the ball to the boundary.

  • sfo_novato on May 30, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    David Gower is one of my all-time favorite English cricketers. His batting was all about elegance, poise and timing. Probably would have been just as successful in shorter versions of the game. A delight to watch him play fast bowlers.

  • Chris_P on May 30, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    Definitely my favourite English cricketer. He looked like he had so much time to play so many shots and he appeared to caress the ball rather than bludgeon it. I have yet to see any modern cricketers with the same type of slky skills. Thanks for this article, He was also one of my idols as a youngster and the mark he left on me was definitive.

  • ruester on May 30, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    As a teenager, I wanted to be a right handed Gower, I practiced in the nets against my mates for hours, declaring as a full length ball came down here comes a Gower cover drive! He was the most beautiful of batsmen to watch, my idol!

  • on May 30, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Just wanted to say that as someone who knows how to write good English,Ryan's output(the articles written by him that I read on Cricinfo) have been consistently brilliant.There are writers and there are writers, and Ryan is one of the best in the business...

  • nnavinraj on May 30, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Watching a batsman of remarkable talent score runs is akin to making love with your clothes on. What more do you expect from the greats.

  • Arachnodouche on May 30, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    I'm loving this flurry of flashbacks from the cricinfo staff. Gower retired before I started following cricket consciously (around about '91) but I've seen plenty of him from reel archives, and he always seem to be possessed of the silken touch of Gods. It's a pity that the artist will find little space to showcase his talents in the coming, foreseeable future. We are lucky to have a VVS Laxman still amongst us, and a Rohit Sharma capable of clearing the ropes without compromising on aesthetics.

  • george204 on May 30, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    "did it really happen?" I used to wonder exactly the same thing after watching Gower bat - when on song, you wondered how he ever got out. Then out of the blue, usually against the run of play & apparently totally out of character, he'd play a dreadful shot & give his wicket away. My favourite Gower innings was his last test hundred - 123 at Sydney, filled with strokes of such purity you could happily forget that England were already 2-0 down in the Ashes. English cricket shot itself in the foot when it allowed Gooch to sideline him - has a great player ever been more shabbily treated?

  • ianChappellFan on May 30, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    CR rocks! always a treat to read.

  • on May 30, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    I never understood why England dropped Gower. The only player I could compare to him was Azharuddin. and yes, now Laxman but not of that great class.