Wisden Cricketer / Features

July 2005

MCC v Rest of the World, Lord's, August 20-25 1987

Twenty-two of the world's greatest players gathered at Lord's to play in a one-off match to mark the MCC's bicentenary.

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Twenty-two of the world's greatest players gathered at Lord's to play in a one-off match to mark the MCC's bicentenary. England held the Ashes, West Indies dominated the world game and only one Australian was deemed good enough to get in the Rest of the World side.

Mike Gatting (captain of MCC): The calibre of players on show was amazing. The greatest thing for me was that Malcolm Marshall was on my side for a change. This was not a one-off match for the RoW. They had played a couple of warm-up games with Dilip Vengsarkar and Desmond Haynes scoring hundreds against Gloucestershire.

Clive Lloyd (RoW manager): We had been together for a while and built up a good team spirit. We had a star-studded side. Some players would perhaps relax when not playing for their country but not those guys. They were very keen to do well. It was good to see them as a team together. Dean Jones and Maninder Singh were left out of the RoW team at Lord's. Allan Border was captain and Sunil Gavaskar opened the batting in his final first-class match.

Lloyd: The MCC chose the sides and we had a very good run up to the game. The guys had clicked. We ate together the night before and enjoyed the moment.

Gatting: We had a very good team spirit. I had a chat with them all the night before the game and it was very encouraging. Everyone wanted to do the right thing.

The MCC lost Martin Crowe and Ian Botham through injury and Viv Richards opted to play for Rishton in the Lancashire League rather than at Lord's.

Clive Rice (MCC allrounder): I broke Martin Crowe's hand the game before in a county match between Somerset and Notts. It was just an accident.

The MCC decided to call in Rice for Crowe, sparking fears of demonstrations at Lord's over the inclusion of a South African.

Rice: They were really concerned about me playing because of the links with South Africa. They did not want any demonstrations on such an occasion. In the end there weren't any and the atmosphere was fantastic. I was a bit worried, though. Notts were also a bit worried because we were going for the Championship and had five players disappearing to play at Lord's.

Gatting won the toss with a Spade Guinea coin first minted in 1787, the year of the first game at the ground. A bright sunny day and a pitch perfect for batting brought a stack of runs for the MCC.

Graham Gooch (MCC): The match was pretty much a who's who of international cricket. I had not been having a great season for Essex and I didn't play many international matches. But I got my chance in this match and took it. The first innings hundred got me my place in the World Cup squad that winter.

Gatting: It was a nice atmosphere to play in. People were coming along to watch good cricket rather than to support one side. As for the players, though, nobody was taking it easy. Players wanted to go out there and win.

Gordon Greenidge reached his fifty off 91 balls but shortly after lunch lifted Abdul Qadir over mid-on only to be caught by 6ft 5in tall Roger Harper. It was not his only piece of brilliant fielding.

Rice: Mike Gatting played brilliantly that day. He made batting look easy. Everyone, though, was demonstrating their fantastic skills. There was not an overuse of short-pitched bowling and the players used their ability to get wickets or runs.

After Greenidge's dismissal Gooch carried on and helped himself to 117, making the most of a perfect batting pitch.

Gooch: It was a very flat pitch and Malcolm Marshall was the only bowler to be really effective. Although I scored runs it was not my best batting performance at Lord's which was a good ground for me over the years.

Gooch's innings is perhaps remembered for its ending. He departed when he drove a ball straight back to off-spinner Harper, who threw the stumps down before Gooch had time to react.

Gooch: I tried to dive in front of the ball but I wasn't even quick enough to do that. It has got to go down as one of the great fielding moments. My momentum just carried me forward but before I could get back he had thrown the stumps down. It all happened in a split second. I was well and truly stuffed.

Gooch's dismissal brought Rice to the wicket. With South Africa banned from world cricket, it was a rare chance for Rice to perform against world-class opponents.

Rice: Put it this way: there was no way they were going to get me out. It was as simple as that. It was a fantastic opportunity for me and I couldn't wait to show off my skills. The politics had been forgotten and the match was a true reflection of the countries playing international cricket at the time.

On the second day Rice and Gatting took their fifth-wicket stand to 201. Gatting was in the form of his career, scoring his fourth century of the month.

Gatting: I got a reprieve early on and it was such a good wicket I knew I had to make the most of it. I just went on after that and the guys supported me very well.

Rice: When you are with someone who is playing out of his skin you give him the strike as much as possible and that is what I did. I gave him the strike and let him dominate. I just stood back and watched the show. It was the only time I faced Qadir in my career. He was a lovely guy and he used all his tricks.

Gatting enabled his team to declare and put pressure on the RoW, for whom Javed Miandad was injured. Gatting dropped Haynes in the first over but Marshall struck back.

Rice: Malcolm bowled very quickly at Dilip Vengsarkar because of an altercation they had when Malcolm first started playing Test cricket. He felt Dilip claimed a catch on the half-volley. He never forgave him for that. When Dilip walked in Malcolm changed. He went around the wicket, asked for another slip and bowled some very quick deliveries.

Gatting had one of the most potent attacks in the world at his disposal. Marshall and Hadlee took the new ball with Rice, Emburey and Ravi Shastri making up the attack.

Gatting: It was nice but I got a bollocking off Richard Hadlee for polishing the ball. 'Only I polish the ball,' he said. It was a great privilege to be playing with such amazing talents. The RoW innings was moulded by Gavaskar. He scored 188 and his stand of 180 with Imran Khan thrilled the sell-out crowd.

Lloyd: We had some very good performances and the batting was beautiful. Imran and Sunil batted really well together.

Gavaskar had announced his retirement the previous evening and looked as though he would mark the occasion with a double hundred. Border's declaration left the onus on Gatting to set a target.Greenidge had missed out on a hundred in the first innings but was not going to make the same mistake in the second. He scored 122, over five hours and off 223 balls, and was supported by Gooch (70 off 118 balls).

Gatting: We were able to declare and then get Gavaskar before the close. It was well set up for the final day.

Lloyd: It was set for an intriguing finish and we felt we could win. The RoW had been set 353 to win but rain washed out the final day. It was a sad end to the match.

Rice: It just wasn't to be.

Gatting: It had been a good match and four excellent days.

On the fifth, though, it rained and it was a real disappointment. The match had been played in such a good spirit that the MCC increased the prize money to be shared by the teams in the event of a draw. Gavaskar was named batsman of the match, Marshall won the bowler's award and Rice was named the fielder of the match.

Rice: Denis Compton gave me the fielding prize and I can see it on show in my living room now.

Interviews by Nick Hoult

© The Wisden Cricketer

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