Bring Back Darren Gough

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a London pub to watch the Adelaide Test with Darren Gough and other England fans. It was promotional gig for Greene King IPA. Unfortunately I couldn’t go due to family commitments. I was gutted because Goughie is my favourite England bowler of all time. It would’ve been great to pick his brains about the current team, and ask him what playing in The Ashes is really like.

Fortunately, however, the agency TVC were on hand to interview Goughie and they sent me the following video which you might enjoy. Here’s a link (it’s the 3rd of the videos called ‘IV Darren Gough’). They also sent me some free beer, which was some compensation for missing the event itself! One of the beers was branded ‘Barmy Army’ ale.

Although some of the discussion is a little out of date now (it was recorded a week or so ago), Darren makes some really interesting points about bowling in Australia. It’s fascinating because Goughie himself was a skiddy bowler – a complete contrast to the tall seamers England picked for the Ashes – yet he enjoyed a lot of success down under. It just goes to show that stereotypes can be misleading. You don’t need to be a ‘bang-it-in’ seamer that hits the bat hard to enjoy success on Australian wickets.

Gough argues that it’s wrong to become fixated on bounce in Australia. He says he did well by pitching it up and getting the Australians to drive – something they’re not always used to doing in home conditions. I found this particularly interesting because England’s seamers were (allegedly) told to bowl short of a length at Adelaide – a strategy that backfired big time and cost them the game to a certain extent.

Anyway, give the video above watch. It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time. If only because Gough is an absolute legend. Remember his hat-trick at the SCG? I was there that day and the third ball in particular was an absolute peach. It might even have got Steve Smith out!

England could really use a bowler like Darren at the moment. It’s not just his pace and personality, but also the contrast he’d provide. With the exception of Jimmy Anderson, all England’s bowlers are very similar: tall, right-arm, medium-fast. Mark Wood might make a difference at the MCG but it won’t matter if he’s instructed to bowl the same length as the other seamers.

James Morgan


  • Hi James – when you get around to it, I’d be interested to see a piece about what England’s Test XI should be for the return Ashes in 2019. Some crystal ball gazing, if you like.

    • Would be interesting to compile an XI from players not used on tour too.

      Something along the lines of..

      Hameed / Compton / Robson / Hales / Jennings ( 2 of though there are more and I prefer 3 openers in Oz)
      Ian Bell
      Kevin Pietersen
      Jos Buttler
      Scott Borthwick
      Adil Rashid

  • Perhaps Goughie could point out to the current attack that bowling to hit the stumps (as he did) is quite a useful approach.

  • Loved Goughie, loved his bowling action, loved his no-nonsense, all-out-attack, pitch-it-up attitude.

    For almost an entire decade, he was the only good thing about the England bowling attack.

    • I’m sure a Mr A Caddick will be upset to read that comment (if you ignore the first innings of every match)

  • The Aussie’s did pitch the ball up. You go for a few but you miss I hit! We bowled too short and at 80mph.
    Good piece James.

  • I’d add that as well as pitching it up:

    a) The first ball of his hat-trick was a contrast ball – back of the length lifter – he wasn’t tall, but he had the pace to make the ball rise on batsmen when he chose to.

    b) Reverse, reverse, reverse. Goughie could do it, they did it in 2010/11, but recently we seem to have lost it and it shows when the ball gets old and the wicket is flat…

    • c) Dammit, I forgot (c) which goes with the reverse, which is bowl some yorkers at speed at the stumps. Tailenders will succumb. But that’s really the point for me, Gough could bowl noticeably quicker than anyone in the squad this year. (Wood apart, but he wasn’t fit in time.)

      • He was the English Waqar.

        From memory he bowled high 80s, with the occasional delivery hitting 90-92.

        Alan Donald was much, much quicker. Similar speed to Mitchell Johnson

  • You can only work with the bowlers you’re given, but I’ll be interesting to see how Chris Silverwood does, when he takes over as bowling coach next month. He could also be in a good position when the next time the head coaches role becomes available.

    • The convicts as a group have swung it more than we have according to the stats. Think it was an average of .65 degrees versus .5.

      Which as Jimmy is the only bowler to have managed noticeable swing must mean that the other two must have barely moved it an inch.

      Basically shows Broad bowling too short and woakes… not troubling the batsmen at all. Ali being even more ineffective. also that Cummings is their most threatening bowler, which looks about right to me despite his figures being poorer.

      Also the final paragraph here..

      Pretty much sums it up. Beaten considerably in pace, swing bowlers being beaten by pace bowlers for swing and it isn’t even close in the spin department.

      Despite Smith you could swap the batting around and the result would be the same. Assuming Cook didn’t have a daddy feast on England’s attack that is…

  • I used to love the way Gough would get driven for four and puff his chest out, almost in the same way as when he took a wicket.

    The current England bowlers could learn a lot from him. Get someone onto the front foot and bouncing the bugger is effective. Bowl short of a length all the time then a bouncer is a wasted ball.

    Would love to see him bowl to Smith. Come to think of it does Smith even have an on drive?

  • Goughie was an honourary Aussie. You have to front up even in adversity and not be afraid of failure. This means you have to enjoy and relish your cricket and show it, even if it means looking arrogant. Be confident in your own ability and only pay attention to those you respect. Something of a maverick, not a yes man. All good pacemen have a volatile confrontational nature which needs to be fostered and channelled, not fined and suspended.
    In this homogeounous age, where maverick personalities are frowned on as unprofessional in all sports, it is difficult for players like this to stay on good enough terms with the establishment to earn consistent selection.
    Think of those great footie stars of the 70’s who hardly got a look in because of their maverick natures; Rodney Marsh, Tony Currie, Alan Hudson, Frank Worthington, Stan Bowles, Charlie George. What wouldn’t we give for one of them now. These natural talents need to be treasured not ignored.
    Cricket has has their share of these wonderful natural talents. Some, like Gower, who have been persevered with despite their frustrating inconsistency, others, like Paul Smith of Warwickshire, a more volatile character and the best teenage all rounder I’ve ever seen, was left rudderless by county and country to descend into drink and drugs.
    All hail to our Goughie, he should be one of the players tapped for advice rather than rudely ignored, but the cricketing establishment has never been able to deal with these call a spade a spade, working class jack-the-lads. It is still firmly routed in the old school tie, where who you know will get you further than what you know.

    • As I mentioned a few days ago the only England bowler for a decade that anyone in Aus respected. He averaged 30 against the great Australian batting line up of the time vs Andy Caddicks 40+. It would have been lower than 30 if there was any pressure being generated at the other end.

      I was also at the ground to see the hat trick and even as an Aus fan was a special moment.

      • He actually averaged 27 IN Australia too. The odd thing about Goughie is that he was a better bowler statistically abroad than he was in England. He averaged 27 in Oz, 27 in Pakistan, 20 in Sri Lanka, and 19 in New Zealand!

        The only blight on his record was his average against South Africa. He struggled against them for some reason (averaging 38). Otherwise his overall test career average of 28 would have been a lot lower.

        • I remember Kirsten getting 275 on a wicket so flat that you would have needed heavy artillery to shift a batsman.

          Think Chris Silverwood did well with sheer pace but Gough’s SA average is still very good considering the wickets he bowled on.

  • Well you can hear Goughie’s thoughts most days of Talksport and I’m pleased to say he echoes many views that team selection, management and the ECB. His withering putdown of the system the other day was a joy to hear. The number of coaches and backroom staff has proliferated but, he says, there is no leadership, no one wielding the big stick. They are all soft spoken corporate types – the type of individual like Ashley Giles who we had to endure at Old Trafford while he did his management degree.
    For a Yorkie he talks some reet commonsense and has some ideas – not that the muppets at the ECB will listen.
    He wants to see a change to how pitches are prepared so they don’t favour trundlers who can bag wickets off the seam and get some players doing the hard yards in county matches not lolling about in the gym.


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