England's 30-man squad for the World Cup January 19, 2007

Graveney apologises to Gough

Cricinfo staff

Darren Gough hasn't had much to celebrate on the cricket field in the last year © Getty Images

David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors, has apologised for the manner in which he handled Darren Gough's omission from the 30-man preliminary line-up for the World Cup.

Gough, Tim Bresnan and Ian Blackwell were left out of the squad due to poor fitness levels, and the news was relayed to Gough only through a text message. Looking back, Graveney conceded he could have handled the matter in a far more sensitive manner.

"What I said at the time was not right," Graveney was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "Particularly with Darren's years of service for England I should have dealt with it in a far better way. Things have been portrayed in a slightly insulting way to Darren, which I regret; he is very professional and does a lot of work in order to keep himself fit. The bottom line is the selectors have chosen to stick with younger bowlers and therefore that is the most appropriate reason why Darren has not been included.

Gough played in the first two ODIs of the NatWest Challenge against Pakistan last season, but was subsequently dropped after a terrible run - in his last eight ODIs, Gough has managed just seven wickets while leaking 6.4 runs per over. Graveney, though, insisted that a player of his stature - Gough is England's most successful bowler in ODIs with 235 wickets - deserved better.

"There should have been a lot more sensitivity for a person of his standing. One great quality about Darren is that he backs himself and still thinks he has a role to play."

Graveney also clarified the reason why Blackwell was left out: "Ian is coming back from a particularly serious shoulder injury. That process is going well but the fact he hasn't played any cricket was the underlying reason for him not being selected."