Graham Gooch recalls his food poisoning experience
By: Graham Gooch
Place: United Kingdom
Former England captain Graham Gooch recalls the time when he was knocked out by food poisoning the night before the chennai test in 1993
On previous tours to India I had experienced the usual odd bad bouts of illness 24 hours feeling rough and shut up in the toilet or being sick to clear your stomach, but this was something else all together, and it was to hang around. In fact, I don't think I ever really shook it off throughout the trip. Not that that can be an excuse for my cricket or indeed the cricket of the England team.
Home at last: Sachin Tendulkar, who collapsed in his room after returning from dinner on Tuesday night, arrived in Mumbai from Johannesburg yesterday. Tendulkar missed India's last game of the Champions Trophy due to food poisoning.
Simply, we played terribly. Once on the slippery slope, we only slid further. Our defeat in Calcutta was followed by an even more comprehensive one in Madras; but to suggest, as many members of the press did, that we were unprofessional in eating prawns for supper on the eve of the Test is a bit steep.
In fact, we had eaten prawns often during the tour and had no problems. This was just a rogue portion. Half-a-dozen of us were in the hotel's Chinese restaurant that night.
The joke from journalist Martin Johnson of The Independent was that once Mike Gatting came down to join us, the number of dishes increased so rapidly that when the hotel management came to try and identify the guilty dish 'they could only narrow it down to one of the twenty-eight that Gatt had ordered'.
In retrospect, you have to laugh, but at the time it was far from funny.
I felt really queasy as soon as I woke the next morning. By the time I was at the ground I was having dizzy spells and waves of nausea. I couldn't concentrate, not on anything. I knew if I won the toss, I simply wouldn't be able to bat and if we'd fielded I'd have had to send out the twelfth man.
So I handed over to Alec Stewart, and retired to my bed. The TV was showing the cricket in my room but I was just fading in and out of a dreamy sort of sleep. Mercifully, it was just food poisoning and it cleared up within seventy-two hours, by which time, unfortunately, we were well on the way to losing by an innings.
The third Test which followed at once in Bombay was just as mortifying, with my two innings of 4 and 8 gloomily setting the tone. After my sympathetic reassessment of Boycott's malaise in Calcutta (In 1981-82, Boycott fell sick and left for the hotel, but was spotted at a golf course), I could only think of our chairman Ted Dexter and offer penitence for my smile at his being laid low on our previous trip to India in 1989.
We were in Kanpur for the Nehru Cup, my first in charge of England abroad. Ted came out, bristling with that public school vigour of his and said he'd take half a dozen of us to dinner at the none-too-salubrious restaurant at the top of the Megdhoot hotel. 'C'mon, you chaps,' said Ted, grabbing the menu, 'when in Rome and all that.
You fellows are finicky about your food, always go for the local nosh and you can't be wrong'.
At that time, I was still a bit unsure about curries and the local food, but seeing Ted was our chairman we all did as we were told and piled in to the food, which was very tasty. Full marks to Ted, the man of the world.
The only trouble was, none of the others saw him again for the whole week of his stay confined to his room with severe food-poisoning. Judging by the way he looked gaunt and immobile, his face staring into thin air from his pillow like a death-mask he must have felt like I did four years later.
Reproduced with permission by the author from the book My Autobiography â Graham Gooch
and Frank Keating published by Collins Willow