Nightmare for family as umpire comes to stay

Young Toby Harrison's unusual hobby brought a nightmare for his unsuspecting family as a friendless umpire took advantage.

On this day in cricket, 2 December 1994

Best friends fall out in nightclub incident

The Faisalabad test in 1987 between England and India is remembered for an unsavoury on-field incident between the England captain Mike Gatting and umpire Shakoor Rana.

The confrontation quickly became a diplomatic affair and was only resolved when an unhappy Gatting wrote a curt apology to the umpire.

Years later the pair were to meet by accident in top London nightspot Annabella's and begun an unlikely friendship. "I was with Gatt that night in the club," said Middlesex and England colleague John Embury. "I remember Shakoor Rana suddenly walked in. There was a bit of tension initially but after a few glasses of bubbly they were both on the dance floor doing the moves to Oops Outside Your Head."

In the weeks and months that followed Gatting and his former adversary became inseparable and were regularly seen around the West End's most glittering bars and clubs. Together they attended the world premiere of Return To Muppet Mountain at the Finchley Gaumont in full view of the world's press.

Then something happened that turned the best friends back to being worst of enemies.

"All I know is that they were in Stringfellows one night and there was a big falling out between them. They had come in arm-in-arm, laughing and joking but next time I looked over Gatt was wagging his finger in Rana's face. Something had obviously happened but nobody knows what," added Emburey, who had also been present that night.

Gatting never spoke publicly of the incident and mentioned Shakoor Rana in his biography only in connection with the Faisalabad test. However, a comment near the end of the book - "some international umpires don't seem to realise that you don't help yourself to someone's crisps without asking first" - has often been assumed to be about Rana.


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