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Joe Gatting Speaks Career Highlights, Mike Gatting and more...

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Joe Gatting is a former county star for Sussex and Hampshire. In four seasons with Swardeston, Joe has become club captain, racking up over 6000 runs and 230 wickets.

England’s champion team were cruelly denied their shot at the European Cricket League title following the postponement of ECL20 due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Joe, 32, also played professional football for hometown club Brighton Hove Albion and is the nephew of former England Captain, Mike.

Joe sat down with ECN (European Cricket Network), to talk all things cricket, from his uncle Mike Gatting, to his own career and highlights.

What was the highlight of your cricketing career so far?

Making my debut, and scoring my first First-Class and my first List A hundred were proud moments. Leading out Swardeston at Lords when we won the National Club Championship in 2019 was a great day. Playing against a full-strength India in a 50-over game, playing against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and M.S. Dhoni was a dream come true. However, playing in the Champions League for Sussex in India against the best T20 sides in the world was my cricketing highlight so far. Hopefully, I can add playing in the European Cricket League at ECL21 in the future.

Was Uncle Mike Gatting disappointed not to be able to come to La Manga for ECL20?

I haven't spoken to him face-to-face for a while as I have been in Australia since September, but with cricket, golf and wine on the menu, I am sure he wouldn't be too far behind.

Who was the best bowler you've faced?

Alan Richardson. Former Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire right-arm medium-pace bowler. He was not rapid, but he could nip it both ways, giving you absolutely nothing to score from. 

The fastest bowler you've faced?

I’ve faced the likes of West Indians Fidel Edwards and Tino Best. England’s Tymal Mills and Stuart Meaker were both quick as was Australia’s Brett Lee. But another Aussie Shaun Tait was simply on another level. I remember ducking a bouncer and looking round and the ball was still travelling to the wicket keeper who was waiting to catch the ball on the 30-yard disc.

And the best spinner faced?

Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka, Ravi Ashwin of India and England’s Monty Panesar were all challenging, but hands down toughest spinner I have faced was Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. I didn’t have a clue what way the ball was spinning. He was a genius.

Who was the best batsman you've played with?

For entertainment: Australian Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum. For sheer volume of runs: Sussex stars Murray Goodwin and Ed Joyce.

And against?

Only one winner - Sachin Tendulkar. 

How has your life changed since the COVID-19 crisis?

I had to leave Australia earlier than planned to make sure I got back to the UK before air travel got affected. Therefore, my days have changed from slapping on sun cream to putting five layers of clothes on and sitting by the fire! 

Cricket-wise how has your life changed since COVID-19 crisis?

It has given me time to reflect on how we have taken playing cricket for granted. I think when we get back playing, we will all appreciate the game more. Sometimes we are all guilty of taking the game for granted and overlook why we play the game. Hopefully, when we start up again, we will enjoy playing more than ever, and remember how fortunate we are to play a game that we love. Oh, and my body has appreciated not waking up sore! 

What’s the toughest part of the current COVID-19 crisis for you?

Not being able to get outside and doing the things I love has been tough to get used to. Also, the relentless negativity all over the TV.   

Positively, what is the best part? If any?!

Getting to spend time with my parents as I haven't been able to for a few years. It is good to see people trying to keep fit and active. I have never seen so many people running on the streets. Hopefully, people can make more time for their health and family when we beat COVID-19 and we get back to our busy lives.

Who or what is your greatest inspiration at this time?

The selfless commitment of the National Health Service (NHS) has been an inspiration in this crisis, for them it is just another day’s work saving peoples’ lives, but it's great they are getting the recognition they deserve. It is fabulous to see the UK population showing their appreciation for all healthcare workers. We are fortunate to have the likes of the NHS and hopefully, more will appreciate what we have after we beat COVID-19.

What do you do more of these days? What do you do less of these days?

I obviously spend more time indoors! (laughs). Seriously, I have spent more time reading, and trying to share positivity with my friends and family. I am also trying to focus on my cricket coaching business for when it is safe to return to the game we love.

What was the highlight of your football career?

I have a few highlights actually. Obviously, making my Brighton debut against Southampton was a proud moment. Playing against West Ham at a packed-out Upton Park in the F.A Cup. A certain Carlos Tevez was in the West Ham team. However, my ultimate highlight was playing against Arsenal in a behind closed doors friendly. Sharing the pitch with the likes of legends Dennis Bergkamp and Robin Van Persie was pretty cool.

What would be your dream FIRST game back after the fight has been won against COVID-19?

First East Anglia Premier League (EAPL) game on 18 April 2020 at The Common in Swardeston.