Middlesex and former England skipper Mike Gatting celebrates his 59th birthday on June 6. He was widely reckoned for his plump physique at the highest level. But his immaculate footwork along with strong shoulders made him special in the English stand. He was a handy medium-pace bowler which also made him a priceless all-rounder. Also Read: 10 interesting facts about the former English captain — Mike Gatting
Gatting’s love for food was well-known in the fraternity and his unquenchable appetite ensured that he was on the receiving end to many jokes and sledges. Here is a list of seven hilarious instances when Gatting was targeted for his knack of eating.
1. Dennis Lillee: Lillee once putting in the hard yards stopped in the middle of his run-up and yelled at Gatting, “Hell, Gatt, move out of the way, I can’t see the stumps.”
2. David Gower and Chris Cowdrey: In another instance, Gower questioned Cowdrey saying, “Do you want Gatt a foot wider at slip?” Cowdrey responded, “If he gets any wider, he’ll burst.”
3. Richie Benaud: He was acknowledged as one of the wittiest commentators cricket has ever seen and the genius with the microphone once said, “Gatting at fine-leg, that’s a contradiction in terms”.
4. Colleague (rumored to be Geoffrey Boycott): In 1983-84, when England toured New Zealand, this teammate took a dig at Gatting and said, “Hadlee has to run up and bowl an orange, and he will get out.”
5. Lynch or Lunch? Gatting was so obsessed with food that it led to one of the wackiest selections in the history of English cricket. In 1988, skipper Gatting was given a sheet by the selectors and was questioned about Monte Lynch. Gatting misinterpreted ‘Lynch’ as ‘Lunch’ and gave a nod. Lynch made it to the side on the basis of his domestic record and managed to garner just 8 runs from three One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
6. Mind-boggling directions to Darren Gough: In 1944-45 Gough once inquired directions from Gatting to reach a particular destination. Gatting gave an epic reply by saying, “Easy. It’s right at the Italian, left at the curry house and just beyond the Chinese!”
7. Ball of the Century: Gatting was dismissed by Shane Warne with a mind-boggling delivery which was later termed as ‘Ball of the Century’. Graham Gooch who was at the non-strikers end on Gatting’s expression said, “He looked as though someone has just nicked his lunch”. Gooch later revealed how Gatting would have tackled that banana turn and said, “If it had been a cheese roll, it would never have got past him.”
With inputs from Abhishek Mukherjee
(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with CricLife)