MCC President and England legend Mike Gatting takes Lords.org through the moments and matches that mattered.
The Schoolboy ton
102 - Wykeham Primary School v Stonebridge Park, Neasden Rec, 1967
I remember making my first hundred when I was 10 or 11. They gave me the scorebook. It was quite a big thing at the school, with photos and a bit of a fuss made. That was the first major innings I played and my first big achievement.
A mixed start
0 - Middlesex 2nd XI v Kent 2nd XI, One-Day Match, Ealing CC, 1972
My second-team debut. A load of the Middlesex top brass had come to see me play, this young 15-year-old lad who was being talked about, and I got out first ball, caught behind off John Shepherd. I hid for the rest of the day!
But on the August Bank Holiday they were short again and I got the call to go and play at Hove – the coach gave me five pounds for the train but I got off at the wrong station and had to walk all the way from Brighton station to the ground.
When I got there they were already about seven down, and I was told I was in next. I went in and got 50 and did quite well.
The County debut
10 - Middlesex v Worcestershire, County Championship, Lord’s, 1975
In my first two matches I got starts then got myself out. It was my first taste of first-team cricket, Mike Brearley was captain. Worcestershire had the West Indian fast bowler Vanburn Holder, and it was the first time I had faced anyone of that pace.
Gatting in full flow for Middlesex
The first hundred
128 - West Indies Young Cricketers v England Young Cricketers, One-Day Match, Point-a-Pierre, 1976
My first major professional hundred. It had taken me a year. A lot of young county players were picked to go on an under 19 tour to the West Indies, including David Gower, Bill Athey, Ian Gould and Paul Allott. That tour was the first we saw of Malcolm Marshall, who was seriously quick even then.
15 & 1, two catches - England v Australia, Third Test, Headingley, 1981
It was my first full series. People remember the dive at mid-on to get Lillee but I caught what I thought was a better one at short-leg to get Graham Yallop. It was amazing to be part of that game and something I’ll never forget.
The celebrations weren’t as long as we’d have liked because we had to leave that evening to go and play in the County Championship the following day. Botham sent the dressing room attendant in to the Aussies to get their champagne and they returned him horizontally through the door with a four-letter word. That was typical Beefy.
The County captain
DNB - Middlesex v Essex, County Championship, Lord’s, 1983
It was great walking out at Lord’s for the first time as captain. Brears [Mike Brearley] retired and they were going to offer it to John Emburey, but he went on a rebel tour to South Africa so then they offered it to me. I thought: ‘Wow.’
Following Brears was a big task, but John was great and I had a lot of help from the guys (although I had the odd disagreement with Phil Edmonds). We still had a very good team, and we were able to deal with the older generation moving on.
It was great for me to bring through players like Mark Ramprakash, Phil Tufnell and Angus Fraser.
A Test ton at last
136 - India v England, First Test, Mumbai, 1984
We were struggling from the first innings and I dug in and got some runs in the second dig. It was such a relief to get there and see the whole press box on their feet applauding, which was quite unusual then. It was quite something. I wouldn’t have even been on the tour if it hadn’t been for David Gower.
I’d done very well in county cricket and was known as one of the better players of spin on the circuit, so David said: "I want him in, and not only that, I want him as vice-captain." I owed it to him because up until then I hadn’t quite done it in Test cricket.
Doing the double
207 - India v England, Fourth Test, Chennai, 1985
It was the first time two England players had scored double hundreds in the same innings: me and Graeme Fowler. Graeme was really tired at the end of the day and there was a long single on for the first ball of the last over, which would have got me off strike.
I said: "No, don’t worry Foxy, you’re tired, I’ll take this." And I batted it out – he was amazed a professional cricketer would turn down the chance to get up the other end during the last over of the day, but he was so tired and was really grateful. We carried on the next morning – he got to 200 and then I went past him.
England captaincy calling
0 & 40 - England v India, First Test, Lord’s, 1986
David Gower was under pressure as captain and we lost the first Test at Lord’s. Peter May, the chairman of selectors, grabbed me as we came off , took me aside and said: "We want you to be captain of England. Do you want it?" I said: "When do I have to say yes? Have you told David yet?"
He said: "There’s no point telling him if you say no."
"How long have I got?" I asked. "About three minutes." Of course I said yes, you can’t turn it down.
Dominating Down Under
7 - Australia v England, Second Final, World Series Cup, Sydney, 1987
Winning the Ashes as captain was amazing, but after the Tests we also won the World Series Cup, which no other England team had done.
We won the first final match at Melbourne and then went to Sydney, scored 187 and won the series – with only a couple of players out of the XI able to throw as everyone was bandaged up after a long tour.
If we’d gone to the third match decider we would have had to field the physio, the manager, the scorer – no one would have been fit – so it was great we won at Sydney. The whole tour was a great team effort; everyone contributed. I remember finally sitting back at the end of that match having won all the competitions and thinking: "It doesn’t get much better than that."
This article first appeared in All Out Cricket magazine. Mike Gatting was talking to All Out Cricket's Ed Kemp.
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