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David Gower

by Saurabh Sharma May 31, 2020 • 00:35 AM
David Gower

David Ivon Gower is a former English cricketer who became the captain of the England cricket team during the 1980s. Described as one of the most stylish left-handed batsmen of his era, the fluffy-haired, ethereal-looking young man was England's one of the most consistent and consistently exasperating batsman of the 1980s.

Gower was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1957. His father, Richard Gower (OBE-Order of the British Empire), worked for the Colonial Service in the capital of the then British administered territory of Tanganyika, where Gower spent his early childhood. The family returned to England after Tanganyika was granted independence, when Gower was six years old, settled in Kent and later moved to Loughborough.Gower attended school at Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst from the age of 8 to 13, where he started to lean towards cricket as his preferred sport.

He was awarded a scholarship to attend The King's School in Canterbury. Gower made the school cricket First XI aged 14 and he was later to be made captain. He also played for the rugby First XV before dropped from the team for "lack of effort". Gower is nicknamed "Lord Gower" by his Sky Sports colleagues, in allusion to his aristocratic ancestry and public school education. He is a distant descendant of the Leveson-Gower family who were the Dukes of Sutherland.

Gower enjoyed one of the most prolific first-class cricket careers in English history, in both domestic and international competitions. Gower's total career run is also the third highest by an English player, behind only Stewart with 8,463, and Gooch with 8,900.With 18 centuries he is also joint fourth with fellow captain Michael Vaughan in the most hundreds scored by an England player. He played domestic cricket from 1975 until 1993, largely with Leicestershire until 1989, where he moved to Hampshire, a stalwart batsman at both clubs.

Gower made his first-class debut for Leicestershire on 30 July 1975, during that season's County Championship, against Lancashire at Stanley Park, Blackpool. Winning the toss, Lancashire chose to bat first and amassed 259 thanks largely to a century by David Lloyd, who would later become Gower's co-commentator. Gower, batting at number seven, scored 32 before he was dismissed by Ken Shuttleworth. The match however ended in a draw.

 

Gower was selected to play for the England Young Cricketers in 1976 against the West Indies equivalent team. Gower played one match, at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain. Opening the batting, Gower made only 10 runs in the first innings and a strokeful 49 in the second. England eventually won the match. Gower made his debut in Test cricket in 1978 at Edgbaston, scoring a boundary via a pull shot off his first delivery, bowled by Pakistan's Liaqat Ali. He went on to make 58 in England's only innings, followed by 56 at Lord's and 39 at Headingley. On 27 July, Gower scored his maiden Test hundred, 111 off253 deliveries against New Zealand. He made scores of 46, 71 and 46 in the rest of the series that earned him a place in the following Ashes Tests in Australia.

Gower made his Ashes debut at The Gabba, Brisbane on 1st December 1978. He made 44 and 48 not out in the first Test, before making his maiden Ashes hundred, 102 from 221 balls in Perth. He then faced four Test matches against India over the summer of 1979, beginning the series with a fast-paced 200* at Edgbaston, followed by an 82 at Lord's. But in the next series in the winter of 1979 against the Australians he performed below par and from then on his form gradually dropped against the Indian and Australian series.

However Gower eventually broke the poor run of form with a hard-fought 154 against the West Indies at Kingston. Gower's timely revival of form ensured his selection for the 1981 Ashes series, however apart from an 89 at Lord's, Gower failed to convert the success he was having in the domestic games to the Test matches, with many scores in the 20s or lower. Two scores in the 80s against India, one against Sri Lanka and two 70s against Pakistan over the winter of 1981-82 kept in him contention for an international place, however centuries were lacking in his game. In August 1982, however, Australia received the England touring team at Perth, where Gower made 72 and 28. He followed this with 18, 34 and 60 at Brisbane and Adelaide before a compact 114 in the second innings of the Adelaide match revived his hundred count. Two more hundreds in the summer of 1983 against New Zealand, and knocks of 152 and 173 not out against Pakistan in 1984 ensured his place in the side.

In 1985, Gower enjoyed a "golden season" and accumulated 732 runs at 81.33 leading England to a 3-1 victory against the Australians. At Edgbaston on 15 August, Gower scored 215 from 314 balls; his career best score, and immediately followed this with 157 at The Oval.

Gower struggled in 1986. His mother had died a week before he left to captain the England tour to the West Indies which ended in a 5–0 defeat (Gower's second at their hands). Back in England against India, Gower lost the captaincy after two Tests both of which were lost. Retained as a senior player for the New Zealand series and the subsequent Ashes tour, his fortunes began to turn in December with a 136 against Australia at Perth.

Gower was selected to play for the England Young Cricketers in 1976 against the West Indies equivalent team. Gower played one match, at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain. Opening the batting, Gower made only 10 runs in the first innings and a strokeful 49 in the second. England eventually won the match. Gower made his debut in Test cricket in 1978 at Edgbaston, scoring a boundary via a pull shot off his first delivery, bowled by Pakistan's Liaqat Ali. He went on to make 58 in England's only innings, followed by 56 at Lord's and 39 at Headingley. On 27 July, Gower scored his maiden Test hundred, 111 off253 deliveries against New Zealand. He made scores of 46, 71 and 46 in the rest of the series that earned him a place in the following Ashes Tests in Australia.

Gower made his Ashes debut at The Gabba, Brisbane on 1st December 1978. He made 44 and 48 not out in the first Test, before making his maiden Ashes hundred, 102 from 221 balls in Perth. He then faced four Test matches against India over the summer of 1979, beginning the series with a fast-paced 200* at Edgbaston, followed by an 82 at Lord's. But in the next series in the winter of 1979 against the Australians he performed below par and from then on his form gradually dropped against the Indian and Australian series.

However Gower eventually broke the poor run of form with a hard-fought 154 against the West Indies at Kingston. Gower's timely revival of form ensured his selection for the 1981 Ashes series, however apart from an 89 at Lord's, Gower failed to convert the success he was having in the domestic games to the Test matches, with many scores in the 20s or lower. Two scores in the 80s against India, one against Sri Lanka and two 70s against Pakistan over the winter of 1981-82 kept in him contention for an international place, however centuries were lacking in his game. In August 1982, however, Australia received the England touring team at Perth, where Gower made 72 and 28. He followed this with 18, 34 and 60 at Brisbane and Adelaide before a compact 114 in the second innings of the Adelaide match revived his hundred count. Two more hundreds in the summer of 1983 against New Zealand, and knocks of 152 and 173 not out against Pakistan in 1984 ensured his place in the side.

In 1985, Gower enjoyed a "golden season" and accumulated 732 runs at 81.33 leading England to a 3-1 victory against the Australians. At Edgbaston on 15 August, Gower scored 215 from 314 balls; his career best score, and immediately followed this with 157 at The Oval.

Gower struggled in 1986. His mother had died a week before he left to captain the England tour to the West Indies which ended in a 5–0 defeat (Gower's second at their hands). Back in England against India, Gower lost the captaincy after two Tests both of which were lost. Retained as a senior player for the New Zealand series and the subsequent Ashes tour, his fortunes began to turn in December with a 136 against Australia at Perth.

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