Saturday 19 October 2019

Guest Post:Leading from the Front By Mike Gatting With Angela Patmore

'A good, rollicking and wholly impolitic read.'Leading from the Front is one of the' most controversial' memoirs of recent times This updated edition gives Gatting's view of the events surrounding this book, of his exit from the England captaincy and of the 1988 season ~ in which Middlesex won the NatWest Trophy.From child prodigy to leader of the decade's top County side and of England, plus an O.B.E., Mike recalls his struggle for, recognition as a master batsman. His . honesty, determination and courage explain why it is not just a string of trophies and the Grand Slam in Australia in 1986/87 that have made him so popular with public and players alike.Bravely, he has faced difficult issues like the Pakistan 'affair - detailed here by co-author Angela Patmore- into the open. Leading from the Front also:'...addresses the central question of whether the England, cricket team should continue to be managed on Incan lines -; making captains sungods for a while before subjecting them to public sacrifice.'

Review: This is the autobiography of Mike Gatting, a professional cricketer who played for Middlesex and England. He captained both sides, leading Middlesex to three County Championships, two Benson and Hedges Cup victories, two NatWest Trophy victories and one Sunday League Championship. He played in seventy-nine Test Matches for England, scoring a total of 4,409 runs. Between 1986 and 1988, he captained England in twenty-three Test Matches. His England career was not as successful as that with Middlesex, since he took a long time to secure a settled place in the England team and, under his captaincy, England won only two test matches. However, these two victories came in the successful tour of Australia in 1986-87 when, under his captaincy, England won the Ashes Test series 2-1, won the Perth Challenge Cup (held to celebrate the holding of the America's Cup yacht races in Australia) and won the World Series Cup, another one-day series.

His lowest point as England's Test captain came the following winter during England's tour of Pakistan. Just before the close of play on the second day of the second Test in Faisalabad, the umpire Shakoor Rana accused Mike of cheating. There followed a heated "exchange of views" between Mike and the umpire. The upshot was the umpire refused to take the field the following morning until he had received a written apology. In the end, Mike felt he had no choice but to issue a written apology, and play resumed on the fourth morning.

The book was published in 1988. Angela Patmore assisted in the writing of the book, but the chapter on the winter tour of 1987, regarding the unsavoury events in Pakistan, is attributed entirely to her. This may have been an attempt to circumvent Mike contravening his tour contract by discussing events on that tour before a specific time period had elapsed.

Ironically, Mike was sacked from the England captaincy during the summer of 1988, following a draw in the first Test Match against the West Indies. The reason given was that he had invited a woman to his hotel room for a drink during the Test Match. However, most people felt the decision to sack him stemmed from his row with the umpire the previous winter and the fact that details of it were published in this book (he was subsequently fined £5,000 by the Test and County Cricket Board for breaching his tour contract). Attempts to re-instate him as captain by the selectors the following year were vetoed by the authorities. Although banned for three years from the England team for leading a rebel tour to South Africa in 1990, he was selected again for England, playing his last Test Match in Australia in 1995. He retired from first class cricket in 1998.

I found the book very interesting, with little snippets from colleagues and family included in the text. It gives an insight into the personality of the man, presenting his side of the story, and will appeal to all cricket fans.

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