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Alf Gover takes some advice

Contributed by Haresh Pandya

Another interesting tale about Gover concerned his naivety as a raw young speedster. The story goes that Patsy Hendren, getting longer in the tooth, introduced himself before Surrey’s match against Middlesex at Lord’s. The great batsman said in no uncertain terms that he could no longer hook with the certainty of youth.

Hendren told Gover that he would be happy, even grateful, if he spared him the bouncer. But the youngster wanted to “impress” and “surprise” the experienced batsman. True to his calling and temperament, Gover began to pepper Hendren with a barrage of bouncers.

Sensing that Gover meant business, Hendren unleashed his trademark hook and started smashing four after four to the perplexed bowler. As if that were not enough, Hendren hooked a ball from Gover for a six, which landed into the Mount Stand, with the nonchalance that was part of his personality. Gover had learnt his lesson well.