1986 Ashes win was possible because England was a ‘damn good team’: Gatting

Monday, November 22, 2010

LONDON - Former England cricket captain Mike Gatting has said that he has fond memories of England’s last Ashes triumph in 1986-87, and would love for his country to stamp its authority as the top cricketing nation in the world.

“I’m always busy this time of the year - everybody wants to talk to you. They’re lovely memories but it’d be nice if we started to stamp our authority as a cricket nation on the rest of the world,” The Telegraph quoted Gatting, as saying.

When he was asked what was his blueprint for winning in Australia?, he said: “There is no magic formula. The key is that everyone does their job well. It’s about the team, it’s not about one individual. Every facet of the game you’ve got to do well to beat them. It might sound obvious, but you have to be disciplined and have a good work ethic.”

“If you look through our series, everybody contributed in some way and at important times,” he said.

It maybe recalled that four bowlers took 12 or more wickets and seven batsmen averaged over 30. The tour was the first time England had travelled with a full-time coach, Mickey Stewart. Their first job was to get Ian Botham, who had recently been banned for cannabis possession , onside. Gatting came up with the bright idea of putting him in charge of the young bowling attack. It had a sobering effect on him.

“He spent time with them, worked hard in the nets, for him,” said Gatting.

Gatting recalled: “I put Phillip DeFreitas in a room with him for the early matches. I said look under no circumstances are you to go out drinking with Beefy. And Beefy came into the room with some scotch and said, ‘We’re having a drink’ and Daffy said, ‘No we’re not, Gatt’s said I’m not to’. And Beefy said OK fine, and it was still there in the morning, untouched.”

Still the tour got off to a bad start.

A tabloid newspaper sent three models out to honeytrap the players. “Fortunately we got wind of it, and Mickey spent two nights in the bar with them before the first Test.” Lucky him eh?!

But England lost to Queensland and almost to Western Australia in the lead up to the Test, causing journalist Martin Johnson’s ‘can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t field’ jibe.

“That possibly gave people a little nudge,” Gatting says. “It piqued a few.”

Twenty-three years on Gatting reflects on his side’s eventual victory. “You need the right people - strong characters in the team. Botham, Gower and Lamb were proven performers. If you gave them a bit of leeway, they responded magnificently. Bill Athey was very aggressive - up and at em, with a Union Jack tattooed on his arm.

“[Chris] Broad never gave it away. In Australia if you get in. stay in. don’t think you’ve ever got enough. [Phil] Edmonds and [John] Emburey - they were very competitive, both could bat a bit, gave me control with the ball, were brilliant fielders. The fielding made a huge difference. We worked really hard on it, there were no weak links and we didn’t drop a catch all series. We were a damn good team,” Gatting said. (ANI)

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