What's going on? Goodall has some news for Gavaskar
Poor Fred Goodall - they had to pick him up off the floor in the Wellington Public Library the other day. He had been reading all about Sunil Gavaskar's comments about sledging on their internet machine there.
Apparently, he got to the part where Sunny, making the Colin Cowdrey Memorial Lecture at Lord's, was waxing lyrical about the fact that Clive Lloyd's West Indians didn't get involved in sledging during the 1970s and '80s. All it took was a stare and a crook of the eyebrow from any one of the quartet of West Indian quicks in those days for the batsmen to know that a bowler was upset.
This apparently was laudable behaviour - not like what those nasty Australians get up to nowadays with all their name calling. This was all too much for Fred apparently. As they picked him up from the floor by the left arm, he let out a horrific yell of pain.
The poor soul who went to his aid didn't realise that Fred's left upper arm is part of New Zealand's sports medicine hall of fame. It's right up there with Colin Meads' playing rugby with a broken arm, Richard Hadlee's heart problems and any part of the anatomy of that great racehorse Phar Lap.
His upper arm was where he was collected by one of those afore-mentioned bastions of sportsmanship, Colin Croft, who chose to express his displeasure in Mr Goodall's umpiring of the second Test match by running into him, collecting his shoulder, as he ran in to deliver the ball. The physical bruise has long since healed but the psychological hurt has continued long and hard for a gentleman who, no manner the quality of his umpiring, always believed in the honour of the game which is, of course, what the Cowdrey Lecture is supposed to be all about.
Not that Crofty suffered any censure for his crime. At a time when capital punishment for even daring to touch a match official is regarded as not being tough enough, Croft, not only avoided a telling off from his captain, but he was able to gather his breath mid-over while Fred walked the length of two cricket pitches, because that's how far back the West Indian captain was fielding at first slip, while Fred voiced his dissatisfaction to the skipper.
This being, of course, the same captain whose side refused to come back out onto the field after the tea break two days earlier because they were upset at the umpiring decisions. What's Going On (WGO) can't help but wonder what sort of diplomatic incident was avoided because Fred and his partner that day, Steve Woodward, didn't just pick up the bails and declare the game over, in New Zealand's favour. But legal programmes on television like LA Law, The Practice, Judge Judy, the Florida presidential election debacle and the OJ Simpson trial hadn't caught on by that stage so arguments in law were not really to the forefront.
No, as much as Lloyd said apologies were made for the Goodall incident and Michael Holding's kicking out of the stumps in the previous Test, they can never be forgotten. He defended the actions of the side on the basis that his experienced team could only take so much. It is a fact that to those who witnessed the events they will be forever associated with Lloyd, just as the underarm incident will accompany Greg Chappell wherever he goes.
By the way, Fred is alive and well in Wellington and looking forward to a new season of javelin throwing, his forte nowadays, along with track and field administration.
While talking about the past, and as WGO gets older he finds nostalgia an especially rich vein, a belated congratulations needs to go out to 'Jentleman' Jerry Coney and his team in the compilation of The Mantis and the Cricket: Tales from the Tours. This series of cricketing reminiscences is one of the jewels of television in New Zealand, and a splendid example of how hearing from the horse's mouth can give such an accurate picture of events.
The former New Zealand captain has inveigled some wonderful tales out of players from New Zealand cricket's history and they are very well presented. There are critics of the satellite television industry and the fact that it has taken free to air access away from many consumers, but when they put resources into a series like this, its value is inestimable.
And, as a frontman, Coney proffers the air of someone who genuinely enjoys finding out so much of the game that now sustains him. Bringing to the screen the tales of people like Jack Alabaster, Gary Bartlett, Dick Motz, Frank Cameron, John Guy, Noel McGregor, Artie Dick and John Sparling along with their more familiar leader in John Reid, has been well worth the exercise.
WGO understands there is more in the offing next summer as the mid-1960s become the focus of attention. They weren't especially memorable years, but some of the tales will more than compensate for that. For anyone even remotely interested in cricket, this is must-see television.