Renowned Cricket Umpire Ian Gould announced his retirement from umpiring back at the end of 2019.
Recently, Gunner Gould, as he is well known in the sporting circles, had his new autobiography Gunner: My Life In Cricket published by Pitch Publishing.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Ian recently, and started by asking him what made him write this book. “It came about when I sat with some friends, reminiscing and having a bit of a laugh and a joke about a few of the stories that were around at the time and one of the wags just turned round and said well why don’t you write a book, well that was in July, and we have just finished it now.”
Gould, also played football for Arsenal, but eventually decided to ply his trade playing cricket. “ I think the goals got to big for me, he joked, however I loved playing the game of cricket and the people around me and I was lucky enough to join the MCC boys staff, in the era of the Botham’s and people like that, and was a great opportunity for me and it’s been an enthralling life from that moment onwards.”
Before Ian got himself into umpiring, he spent some years coaching at Middlesex, “I had ten pretty unremarkable years at Middlesex he said, before I got relieved of my job there.”
Gould’s wife gave him the confidence to go into umpiring. “I was just sitting around and moping about like you do when things are not going your way he said.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had umpired a few games in second team cricket, simply because umpires hadn’t turned up on time, or got the wrong day, which I have done millions of times. When I spoke to my wife, she said to me look you are a cricket man you love the game and enjoy the life, why don’t you give it a go. I applied, and luckily and thankfully I got on.”
The decision to retire from International umpiring was an easy decision for him to make. “I had had enough, I enjoyed walking across the white line as that was my theatre and trying to do the best job that I could, but getting into airports, hotels same routine and I really started to get fed up with all that stuff. I was letting myself down and it was getting to me a bit and I thought then it’s time for me to move on.”
Gould’s last International match he umpired was the World Cup game between India and Sri Lanka at Headingly. “After a long time hanging around hotels waiting for the game to arrive, finally it arrived, and it was probably the most nervous I’ve been since I’ve umpired. All my family where there which they have never ever been. It was a long day; I was really nervous, and I just wanted to get the day over with.”
Gould was surprised when he was asked to mentor the next group of umpires at the recent ICC World U19 Cup. “ I turned up in my hotel room and there was a box in my corner, and when you are on the elite panel and there is a box in the corner you are always told to tell the anti-corruption officer that it is sitting there so please come and have a look at it just in case there is something that I shouldn’t be having, and low and behold inside it was umpiring kit which took me back a little bit.” I asked the ICC what was happening, and they said oh by the way we haven’t told you, but we would like you to umpire some games, and that came as a bit of a shock.”
Gould was on third man duties back in 2018 at Cape Town when South Africa were playing Australia in a test match, which resulted in three Australian players getting banned for ball tampering.
“We had no idea what was going on he said.” We had tv footage of it and I was just sitting there nice and peacefully minding my own business and next thing in my ear piece came the director to tell me that there are some pictures I might need to see and that did stop me in my tracks very quickly. It is one of those seral moments it is something that you are not expecting, it was an intriguing twenty minutes or so.”
Gould reflected on his toughest match to umpire. “It was South Africa versus India at Cape Town he said. “I umpired it with probably one of the best umpires in the World, Simon Tauffell, and that was five days non stop of brilliant cricket. It went to the last over and it was just one of those you sat down after the game and went wow, that was astonishing.”
Gunner is hoping there is a chance of some cricket being played this summer. “If it comes around this summer, I will still be doing some domestic cricket. I owe it to the ECB, they have been incredible brilliant employees for me and have allowed me to go and work for the ICC and now I’ve come back I think I deserve to give them something back and hopefully I can.”
Full interview with Ian Gould