Re­vealed The in­side story of how Eng­land won the 1987 Ashes

In 1986, an Eng­land side who had just been hum­bled at home by In­dia and New Zealand trav­elled to Aus­tralia. Pun­dits pre­dicted hu­mil­i­a­tion; in­stead, they se­cured one of the most mem­o­rable wins in Ashes his­tory. In the first of a two-part se­ries, Si­mon Brig

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page -

Mike Gat­ting, Eng­land cap­tain

Micky Ste­wart and my­self were new to one an­other, but when we wrote our teams out there were only a cou­ple of dif­fer­ences. We both wanted Beefy [Ian Botham], even if it meant prob­lems with the rest of the com­mit­tee. Jack Richards was a lit­tle left-field but he was a com­peti­tor, a good keeper who could bat a bit. The in­ter­est­ing one was Phillip De­fre­itas, a young lad whom no­body had really seen, but the um­pires all said he was the real thing.

Micky Ste­wart, Eng­land man­ager

We didn’t have Gra­ham Gooch, the most con­sis­tent player in the coun­try, who had opted out af­ter spend­ing too many win­ters away. It was a tal­ented side but, given the re­cent re­sults, the pow­ers-that-be had de­cided they needed some­body in a man­age­rial role, for the first time. The game was chang­ing. It had been a pleas­ant pas­time for a lot of peo­ple who played it, with no great money to be earned. Now peo­ple were be­gin­ning to un­der­stand that win­ning was im­por­tant, and so was prepa­ra­tion. Gatt didn’t like run­ning too much but he bought into the prin­ci­ple.

Chris Broad, Eng­land bats­man

It was my first Eng­land tour, I turned up at Heathrow, and there was Eric Clap­ton, hav­ing a drink with Ian Botham in the bar. Beefy says: “Come and meet Eric.” I was like, “F---, Eric!”

Phil De­fre­itas, Eng­land seamer

I was shar­ing a room with Botham, who had been my hero grow­ing up. The first night af­ter we got to Aus­tralia, I went down for the team din­ner and he went out. He came back in the mid­dle of the night, woke me up, and there was a bot­tle of whisky and two glasses on the ta­ble. He said: “Pour, you’re on tour now, come on.” I poured it, but I crashed out, never touched it. When I woke up the next morn­ing, it was still there.

Broad In those days, no one cared about how much you had to drink, as long as you did your job from 11am to 6pm. All the ex­pe­ri­enced guys had been to Aus­tralia be­fore. They would phone peo­ple up, go out and do their own thing. So, there was no real unit when we started the tour. As first-time

tourists, go­ing into the tour matches, the rest of us were think­ing: “Crikey, we had bet­ter get some runs or wick­ets”, not really know­ing that the other guys couldn’t give a s---.

Gat­ting Our first match was in Bund­aberg, and the night be­fore David Gower de­cided to have a drink­ing com­pe­ti­tion with Beefy. David said: “I don’t like beer”, so

Beefy said: “Let’s drink Bundies [Bund­aberg rum].” David said: “I’ll match you drink for drink while the speeches are on”, but this bloke went on for 40 min­utes. By the time we had fin­ished he was six Bundies be­hind. And Beefy made him drink them. I don’t know what pos­sessed David. He could drink cham­pagne and wine, but he was never a hard-spir­its drinker. It was so un-david-like.

De­fre­itas Botham, Gower and Al­lan Lamb were all hav­ing this drinks race. I was the one who kept go­ing up for the drinks, and the speeches were so bor­ing, but I was think­ing: “This is so much fun.” I’ll never for­get when we got on the coach, Gower was spew­ing out the win­dow, Lamby was stop­ping the driver to go to Pizza Hut, and Beefy was just beat­ing ev­ery­one up.

David Gower, Eng­land bats­man

Dur­ing the match against Western Aus­tralia, we got in­vited down to Fre­man­tle by White Cru­sader [the Bri­tish en­try to the Amer­ica’s Cup re­gatta]. As luck would have it, there was a thun­der­storm on the Waca in the fi­nal ses­sion, which was just the right time to say: “Oh f--- it, let’s fin­ish for the day”.

So, we got early to Fre­man­tle, and it was like a Lon­don club on the docks: leather ev­ery­where and pol­ished ma­hogany, a few girls around the place, Harold Cud­more and his team. It was only 1am or so when Beefy had a bit of a twitch on his 18th glass of brandy and knocked a lamp over. We thought it was time to go. But it didn’t stop there. When I got back to the ho­tel, I col­lapsed into bed. Beefy and Lamby at­tacked their mini­bars.

To be fair to Beefy, af­ter the av­er­age night out, you wouldn’t know the dif­fer­ence in the morn­ing. This one was ex­cep­tional and he was ropy. He spent most of the morn­ing with his head plunged into the but­ler’s basin in the dress­ing room, full of cold wa­ter and ice, try­ing to shock him­self into life. We were hav­ing a ter­ri­ble morn­ing, no one had made dou­ble fig­ures, and he was al­lowed to slip down the or­der un­til even­tu­ally we said: “Beefy, you’ve got to go.”

So, he walked out do­ing that thing where he swung his arms. He got all the way to the mid­dle and the Western Aus­tralia guys were go­ing: “Beefy, any­thing you need?”

Be­cause he didn’t have a bat. We just wanted to see how long it would take him to work it out. We were in the s--- any­way, so we thought: “Let’s have some fun with this.” It was only when he went to take guard that he re­alised, and then the 12th man raced out.

Gat­ting There was no point in say­ing to Beefy: “I want you in bed by 10pm ev­ery night.” You had to sit him down and treat him like a sen­si­ble hu­man be­ing. I said: “Our press blokes are go­ing to be look­ing, their press blokes are go­ing be look­ing. So you just look af­ter the young bowlers, have your knock, a lit­tle bowl and then stand with us in the nets do­ing catch­ing. Then, when the Test cricket starts, tell me what you want to play. Deal?” And he was fan­tas­tic.

Mar­tin John­son, Re­porter

It had been a big year for Beefy in the press, even by his stan­dards. On the West Indies tour, he was sup­posed to have bro­ken a bed with Miss Bar­ba­dos. Then there was the dope-smok­ing ban in the sum­mer. I re­mem­ber walk­ing across the out­field in Bris­bane just be­fore the first Test when this guy ran up to me and said: “How’s Beefy go­ing?” I said: “He’s been as good as gold, but he’s only got to fart and the whole of Fleet Street will be parachuted in.” The next thing I knew, that quote was on the back of the lo­cal pa­per!

Gra­ham Mor­ris, Pho­tog­ra­pher

Tom By­ron [Botham’s agent in Aus­tralia] had de­cided that Beefy would be a megas­tar. He had white lim­ou­sines wait­ing at air­ports, all sorts of ridicu­lous things. Crash [Chris Lan­der, re­porter and Botham’s ghost­writer] and I went to the Nat­u­ral His­tory mu­seum in Bris­bane and talked them into lend­ing us a stuffed six-foot al­li­ga­tor so that we could get him dressed up as Croc­o­dile Dundee. By­ron was just af­ter his 10 per cent. And what­ever By­ron was do­ing, Beefy had had enough of it by the later stages of the tour. He was try­ing to play cricket for Eng­land and By­ron had him open­ing su­per­mar­kets and kiss­ing ba­bies.

Ste­wart It was the war of the red-top tabloids, back then. One of them teed up four girls to go on hol­i­day to lead the lads into dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances be­fore the first Test. I couldn’t be­lieve it. Some­one from the press tipped me off, so I said: “No one goes down­stairs.” I went down and met them and said: “You must be very af­flu­ent young ladies.” And they said: “No, it’s been paid for.”

Gat­ting The News of the World sent over these pros­ti­tutes and then you had Mar­tin John­son writ­ing that we had only three prob­lems: we couldn’t bat, bowl or field.

John­son The warm-ups had been so bad that ev­ery Aussie cur­rent af­fairs show had peo­ple laugh­ing off their chairs. At that stage, the chances of them win­ning the se­ries seemed on a par with lit­tle green men land­ing from Mars. So, I took refuge in black hu­mour. The Aussies picked up on it, and one pa­per de­voted its en­tire front page to a de­mo­li­tion of the Eng­land cricket team, with a strapline at the bot­tom: “Turn to page 13 for more on the pa­thetic Poms.”

Ste­wart It was ex­ag­ger­ated how badly the warm-ups had gone. We strug­gled with ill­ness in Perth and got caught on a sticky wicket up at New­cas­tle. But no one thought we had a chance. When we got to the Gabba, there was this of­fi­cial lunch where the chair­man wel­comed us and then fin­ished up by say­ing he felt sorry for us. It was good mo­ti­va­tion.

Gat­ting We had a team din­ner the night be­fore the first Test where Beefy spoke. He said: “For­get ev­ery­thing else, that was prac­tice. On the 11 guys who go out there, I back us to win the Test.” My­self and Micky were go­ing to say some­thing but we didn’t need to af­ter that.

Broad There were a lot of swear words and he was very se­ri­ous. Up to that point, he had been Mr So­cialite, but now we thought: “Wow, he means busi­ness”.

Gat­ting I was con­fi­dent, too. We had the two best spin­ners in the world at that time, in John Em­bu­rey and Phil Ed­monds. We had Botham and Gower, plus Lamby who, on his day, could be as de­struc­tive as any­body. My­self, Broady and Ath [Bill Athey] were just go­ing to be blunt­ing and mak­ing sure the guys be­hind us were never in at 10 for two.

Ge­off Law­son, Aus­tralian fast bowler

I was com­ing back off my back in­jury. I was picked in the first Test squad, and then left as 12th man. The three seam­ers had nine Tests be­tween them. There was a the­ory that Eng­land were vul­ner­a­ble to left-arm quicks, as they had strug­gled against them in the build-up. Greg Chappell was in charge of se­lec­tion and when he told me: “We’re go­ing to give the young ty­ros a go”, I nearly fell off my chair. It was bizarre.

Gower Gatt came up to me on the morn­ing of the match, and said: “Let’s change the bat­ting or­der, I’ll go at No 3 and you go at No 5 in­stead of the other way around.” I hadn’t made a run on the tour, and in the first in­nings I nicked the first ball and was dropped by Craig Matthews at third slip. I went on to make 50, and once you get back on track, off you go. There were a lot of things Gatt did well, sub­tle things like that, which I should be grate­ful for.

De­fre­itas I felt so pow­er­ful just to be walk­ing out on a cricket field with Ian Botham. He was bat­ting at the other end when I came in. On my first ball, Merv Hughes bounced me. I flipped it off my nose down to fine-leg, and Merv said some­thing to me. I looked at Botham and said: “I can’t be­lieve it, he’s just really had a go at me.” Botham said: “Don’t worry, I’ll sort him out.” He was really smack­ing it around. He hit some big sixes off Greg Matthews, and he even hit me on the back with one straight drive. Be­ing there and watch­ing him take them on, with­out a hel­met as well, it was sur­real. These were things you dream about as a kid.

David Boon, Aus­tralian bats­man

I can re­call quite vividly up at the Gabba, Botham got a hun­dred and he panned Merv. I was at mid-off and Merv

said to me: “Where am I go­ing to bowl to him?” I said: “Mate, you could try pitch­ing it up”. Merv bounced him and it dis­ap­peared for an­other six.

De­fre­itas I think it was on the sec­ond evening, Botham dragged me along to the Aus­tralian dress­ing room for a beer. I sat be­tween Lamby, Al­lan Bor­der, Gower and Greg Ritchie and Boonie [David Boon]. They were just talk­ing like it’s just a nor­mal night out, hav­ing fun. I found it really strange, think­ing: “Hang on a minute, we’re play­ing a Test match here.” But then you lis­tened to what they were say­ing and how they talked, and that’s how you learn. We missed the coach, we came out of the room and we were look­ing around for a taxi. One of the older guys said: “The rea­son we do this – we go in just to show we’re not scared of them.”

Gower Mov­ing into the op­po­si­tion dress­ing room at the close of play is a very good thing. It was au­to­matic in the late Seven­ties. Then, as we got into the Eight­ies, some of those guys who were new to Ashes tours found it hard to rec­on­cile be­ing abused on the field with go­ing next door to have a chat and a beer with the bloke who had abused you.

Whereas I had got to know Bor­der and the Chap­pells and all the rest of them on the ’79 tour. In ’79, I spent one night at the SCG from close of play till mid­night, un­til the only two peo­ple left were my­self and Ian Chappell. It was an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for a 22-year-old. Not only are you un­der­stand­ing the en­emy, but you don’t then have this great angst if they call you a nasty word on the field. Even that first year, when Bor­der and I were play­ing against each other for the first time, we’d have a lit­tle chat and a gig­gle.

Broad Com­ing in on the sec­ond morn­ing [of the sec­ond Test] with 140-odd to my name was some­thing that I had never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. My main mem­ory of this match is of Gower com­ing down the pitch and say­ing: “Don’t worry, you’ve got a hun­dred in a Test match, just play nor­mally.” I thought I could play like I had the pre­vi­ous evening, and I was ter­ri­ble. I got out for 162 and felt em­bar­rassed walk­ing off. Still, you’d take that!

Gat­ting I got some stick for not declar­ing ear­lier [in the sec­ond in­nings], but I was think­ing in the con­text of the se­ries. For one thing, Beefy wasn’t go­ing to bowl, be­cause he did an in­ter­costal mus­cle in the first in­nings. And then, look­ing at it se­ri­ously, Ade­laide was go­ing to be flat. My view was that if you’re go­ing to bowl out a Test side, you do it in a day – and we couldn’t do that, de­spite the way the pitch was crack­ing up. I still felt we’d be strongly placed go­ing into Mel­bourne 1-0 up, es­pe­cially as it was usu­ally an in­ter­est­ing wicket. They of­ten re­laid it af­ter the footie fi­nals.

Peter West, cricket cor­re­spon­dent, from his book Clean Sweep

Dec 6: First day of match against Vic­to­ria, and a mi­nor English hic­cup which will give the Sun­days some­thing to write about. Mike Gat­ting is not on the scene when the toss is due.

Gower We’re at the MCG but there’s no sign of Gatt, he’s not an­swer­ing the phone, and we’re get­ting to the stage where some­one was go­ing to have to toss up. So, I went down to see the um­pires and the op­po­si­tion cap­tain. I named the team and said: “I think Mr Gat­ting will play but we just can’t find him at the mo­ment. We’ll have to start with­out him.” The clas­sic line, true or not, was that he was found with a half-eaten ham­burger by the bed, the out­stretched hand still clutch­ing a bit of it. And when he does pitch up, he has a lit­tle bowl and picks up a hat­ful of wick­ets.

Gat­ting I slept in. That was trav­el­ling back­wards and for­wards and all sorts of things, but also the pre­vi­ous night I was speak­ing at a ben­e­fit din­ner for the fam­ily of this guy – he played at a grade club in New South Wales – who had lost his life in a ski­ing ac­ci­dent. I pos­si­bly should have been in bed, but I thought it was one of those things you do. At the Christ­mas panto, the press gave me a gi­ant alarm clock.

‘I think Mr Gat­ting will play, we just can’t find him’

Touch of ge­nius: Ian Botham hooks the ball for an­other bound­ary on his way to 138 against Aus­tralia at the Gabba

Against all odds: The Eng­land team cel­e­brate their re­mark­able seven-wicket win at the Gabba in the first Test; (right) Dean Jones of Aus­tralia drives as Al­lan Lamb of Eng­land takes eva­sive ac­tion dur­ing the sec­ond Test in Perth

Eng­land tour party for the 1986-87 Ashes

Back row, from left Lau­rie Brown (physio). Bruce French Re­tired in 1995. Now Eng­land’s wicket-keep­ing coach. Wilf Slack Died, aged 34, in 1989 af­ter col­laps­ing dur­ing a match in Gam­bia. Phillip De­fre­itas Re­tired in 2005. Now a cricket coach. Chris Broad Played just 15 more Tests. Now an ICC match ref­eree. James Whi­taker Did not ap­pear in an­other Test. Now Eng­land’s chair­man of se­lec­tors. Glad­stone Small Be­came a di­rec­tor of the Pro­fes­sional Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion. Jack Richards Re­tired aged 30 and now runs a suc­cess­ful ship­ping com­pany in the Nether­lands. Bill Athey Re­tired in 2000 and is now head of cricket at Dulwich Col­lege in south Lon­don. Peter Austen (scorer)

Front row, from left Micky Ste­wart (team man­ager) Left Eng­land in 1992. Now has the pavil­ion at the Oval named in his hon­our. Neil Foster Re­tired in 1993 and qual­i­fied as a phys­io­ther­a­pist. Ian Botham Now di­vides his time be­tween char­ity fund-rais­ing and cricket pun­ditry. Knighted in 2007.

David Gower Re­tired in 1993. Has an­chored Sky TV’S cricket cov­er­age for more than 20 years. Mike Gat­ting (cap­tain) Sacked as cap­tain in 1988 but played on un­til 1995. Served as MCC pres­i­dent be­tween 2013-14. Peter Lush

(tour man­ager). John Em­bu­rey (vice-cap­tain) Played cricket un­til 1997 be­fore go­ing into coach­ing. Di­ag­nosed with skin can­cer in 2014. Phil Ed­monds Moved into busi­ness af­ter leav­ing cricket, specif­i­cally min­ing and petroleum. Al­lan Lamb Re­tired in 1995. Now runs a cor­po­rate hospi­tal­ity com­pany and is busy on the af­ter-din­ner cir­cuit. Gra­ham Dil­ley Be­came a coach af­ter re­tir­ing. Di­ag­nosed with oe­sophageal can­cer in 2011, he died a week later.

Off to a flier: Gra­ham Dil­ley, who took five wick­ets in the first in­nings at the Gabba, is mobbed by his team-mates; (below) David Gower at the Christ­mas party

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.