World Cup preparations in disarray February 2, 2007

Desperate England to send for Gough?

Cricinfo staff

Darren Gough: in line for a Caribbean comeback? © Getty Images
A report in today's London Daily Mail claims that England have asked the ICC for special dispensation to select their final 15-man World Cup squad from outside the provisional 30-man party named last month.

The news underlines the desperation among the selectors following a dismal one-day series in Australia and, according to the article, opens the door again for Darren Gough to make a dramatic return. Sources inside the England camp quickly moved to suggest that there were options other than Gough available to them. James Kirtley and Ryan Sidebottom of Nottinghamshire were two other names mentioned.

It seems that the abysmal bowling performances have led to the move, with Liam Plunkett, Chris Tremlett and Sajid Mahmood all failing to offer any sign of form. The Daily Mail added that things are so bad that the future of Kevin Shine, the bowling coach only appointed last May, is likely to be reviewed when the team returns home.

The inclusion of extra players would be possible as the 30-man squad had to be named mainly for logistical reasons to help with the preparation of pre-tournament publicity.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous that the selectors can't get the squad right and it's a reflection of how badly they have played in Australia," said Michael Atherton. "A few months ago Duncan Fletcher said he knew 10 or the 11 for England's World Cup side ... now they can't even agree on who the best 30 are."