2008 is fast bowler's last May 26, 2008

Gough to retire at end of season

Cricinfo staff


Darren Gough in his pomp in 2001 © Cricinfo Ltd
 

Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler and current Yorkshire captain, will retire from first-class cricket at the end of the 2008 season.

"I think it's time now," Gough said after Yorkshire's washed out Friends Provident Trophy match against Derbyshire. "I'm 37, we've got some good youngsters coming through and I'll be 38 when I've retired. I think I've had a good innings and it's time to call it a day."

It will end a fine career by one of England's most gregarious and successful fast bowlers. In 58 Tests he took 229 wickets at 28.39 after making his debut against New Zealand in 1994, along with 235 one-day wickets. A Yorkshireman through and through, it was a surprise when he ended 15 years with the club by switching to Essex in 2004. However, he returned to Headingley as captain in 2007 and enjoyed an excellent season.

His retirement doesn't come as a surprise, however. He was "95% sure" back in January that 2008 would be his swansong and, a few weeks ago, he told the The York Press that he was keen to bow out on his own terms.

"I had a great year last year. I got 70-odd wickets and did pretty well - very well because I was the top wicket-taker," he said. "I've never been one for a big fanfare. When I quit Test cricket, I made my decision. I didn't tell anyone that I was retiring after the next Test, I didn't go around waving my bat in the air. I went home and I rang David Graveney, then chairman of selectors, and said: 'Thanks mate, that's it'. There was no send off. That's the way that I want it to be.

"It would be nice to finish the last game with a five-for and a century with the bat, but it doesn't always work that way."

When he first arrived in international cricket, there was genuine hope he might turn into a promising allrounder with 65 on debut against New Zealand, and a crowd-pleasing 51 in Sydney during the 1994-95 Ashes. He may not have had the fleetest of footwork at the crease, but his twinkle toes were good enough for him to win the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing competition in 2005, and again in 2007.

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