Cricket: Tower of Gower power

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The Independent Online
THE public outcry over David Gower's omission from this winter's England tour shows little sign of abating, and the selectors' next encounter with public derision threatens to come from the MCC.

A section of disaffected members from the private club that used to run English cricket (and mostly believes that it remains more competent to do so than the Test and County Cricket Board) are currently attempting to force a special MCC meeting calling for a vote of no-confidence in Ted Dexter and his co-selectors, and the reinstatement of Gower for the tours to India and Sri Lanka.

It is, of course, more an exercise in mischief-making than any serious belief they can overturn selection, but the MCC retains enough influence in the game, especially overseas, to cause considerable embarrassment to the TCCB.

One of the MCC members behind the bring-back-Gower campaign is Lord Gilmour, the former Cabinet minister, and the member attempting to raise the necessary number of signatures to force the special meeting is Dennis Oliver. The MCC secretariat has declined to issue a list of the 17,500 members, and Oliver wants Gower supporters to write to him at his home address: 'Moffat', Pains Hill, Limpsfield, Surrey, RH8 0RG.

'It is primarily about Gower,' Oliver said, 'but some of us are also incensed about the immediate recall of the formerly banned South African tourists, and the increasing trend towards non-specialist wicketkeepers. Basically, we want to remind the selectors that they cannot ride roughshod over public opinion.'

Gower himself, as one might expect, is quietly amused at the prospect of a no-confidence vote in the selectors. 'I can't imagine it will change anything,' he says, 'but it is a heartening development.'