Mike Gatting

Mike Gatting, who recently took part in Sky Arts TV’s Bridge: Celebrity Grand Slam, was the Middlesex and England Cricket captain for several years. He captained England to an Ashes series victory in Australia in1986-87 and was awarded an OBE in 1987. Mike is currently the ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships.

How did you start playing bridge?

On tour in Pakistan in 1978, aged 21: there was not much else to do apart from
playing cricket! But I always liked playing cards: as a child, I used to watch people play whist at the sports club where my parents played.

How often do you play?
Not often – mostly with friends when cricket matches are stopped by the rain! I’d like to play with my son, but the boy prefers poker. However, I have repeatedly been invited to play duplicate at MCC, so I’m busy learning Acol from a computer program and hope to be ready soon.

What do you like about bridge?
I love the challenge of playing the cards right. I count points and tricks non-stop!

If you could change one thing about bridge, what would it be?
I would like the bidding to be simpler, so that the partnership can be confident of understanding each other’s bids.

What are your other hobbies?
Golf, because I like the fresh air; reading, because I caught the bug on tour and need my fix – especially of thrillers; and watching anything geographical, especially nature documentaries.

Name up to six people you would invite to your Dream Dinner Party.
Sir Donald Bradman, Elton John, Daley Thompson, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.