Ask Gower Dot Com

When putting together commentary teams in cricket, TV and Radio producers often use two people.  The idea is that one asks the questions that you or Third Man would ask.  “Why is he doing that?”  “Why has he got a man over there?”  The other member of the commentary team answers these questions for us.

David Gower when leaving cricket to commentate was placed in the role of he who sets up and asks the question.  Twenty years later we watch as this great batsman asks Botham this and Lloyd that and Hussein something else.

Actually it is like one of the best consultant surgeons in the country asking a charge nurse why a particular practice is the right one for the patient.  She, the consultant, could better answer the question.  He, the charge nurse, should on the whole stick to taking direction.

Yet this role that Gower plays in the commentary box is an extension of his cricket-playing image – highly gifted, instinctive, unthinking, smooth performer.  You’d have to know Mr Gower really well to figure out why his life strategy has come to be this.  It would make a fascinating exercise, but sadly beyond our scope here.

An image of what is behind the image. What's he said?

The point is that Gower has a sharp cricketing brain that belies this image and he would be far more interesting to listen to than those he is required to ask questions of, as this (above) lucky ‘visit the Sky Team’ competition winner  found on meeting DG.

This was brought home to Third Man when he read a short article by the former England captain and holder of 117 Test caps on Marcus Trescothic published in a 2006 edition of The Wisden Cricketer.

‘(Trescothic’s) technique bears some similarity to mine in terms of economy of movement. It relies on balance. People like to dream that batsmen move a long way forward and long way back but that is not reality.’

And later, ‘The key to playing spin is that you have to have a shot to play. (Trescothic) judges line and length very well. Once you are picking the signs from the bowler you get into position quickly and can play shots against them.’

And, ‘He is stronger at the start of a series than at the end and struggles to sustain his level of performance over a long period of time. I can empathise with that.’

These are not the remarks of an unthinking instinctive cricketer.  However much Gower’s batting appeared ‘artless’ (though it was wonderfully artistic to watch) it was based on a fine understanding of a technique that was also well honed.

In another remark Gower had shown that his thinking about cricket is sharp enough to challenge the unquestioned, to cut through the c**p.   This was when he sagely pointed out that especially for ‘top handed players’ left handers are actually right handers and vice versa.

The truth and import of that observation is only just coming to the fore as reverse and switch shots begin their probable rise to domination.

In the television studio the questions are being asked by the person who should be answering them.  Third Man says, “Ask Gower dot com.”

Tomorrow, events permitting, TM intends to take a look at Gower the batsman.


Filed under Light roller

3 responses to “Ask Gower Dot Com

  1. diogenes_1960

    smiles…I think we tend to forget that Gower played the spinners as well as anyone, despite not really seeming to use his feet in the prescibed manner. He got that early 200 against Bedi and Chandra…admittedly not in their prime, but still quite an achievement (where was Gooch?). And then, when Willis fell sick on that tour of Pakistan and he took over as captain, he played 2 monumental innings of more than 150 against Qadir and co. It is just that moments of carelessness against medium-pace trundlers can make you forget that the man was a real artist. Those innings were way beyond the Gooches and Gattings.

    • Dear Diogenes,
      Thanks you for this comment. As a bit of a sketcher, Third Man is especially thankful for some excellent details like these.
      His comment that you have to have shot when playing the spin is very, very interesting.

      Just about to put up part two on DG. Following only a brief look at this man it is obvious that alhtough accepted as ‘special’ he is very much under rated by the gang of pundits and often a butt of their joking. He seems to have allowed this to happen. As implied above this has been accentuated by the type of role he has accepted post-playing career. TM with temerity ventures to hazard an explanation …

  2. Margaret Swash

    Dear Mr Gower, I have been watching cricket all my adult life I am now over 60years so it’d been a long time.
    I am sorry to have to say this but, you are getting very boring when you are doing your commentary on Sky, you go on and on about some point or other that no one is interested about, I will give you an instance, Morgan was batting, today Eng.V Parkistan, you repeated yourself at least three times about his batting stance, just once would have done, but you go on and on and I lose the will to live.
    Your getting as bad Geoff Boycott, I turn him off and just watch the match, I wish you would crack a few jokes instead of geing “dower Gower” I still love my cricket, so your inane comments will not put me off. P.S.I have always followed Hampshire

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