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September 17, 2006
Darren Gough, the England fast bowler who is currently out of international cricket with a shin injury, is open to playing domestic cricket in India if a suitable opportunity arose. When contacted about the rumours linking him with a possible stint with Maharashtra, the state team that plays in the Ranji Trophy, he did not confirm that talks were on, but equally did not deny that he might be interested.
For a while now, the Indian media has been flush with stories over who will or will not be recruited by Maharashtra for the forthcoming season. When Gough was queried on this through the media manager of the Essex County Cricket Club, he told Cricinfo, "I've heard the rumours too but until they develop into discussions there is no point in me commenting."
"If it came along it would be a wonderful opportunity to help the youngsters out there, using my experience gained over the last 20 years," Gough added. "India is a wonderful part of the world so I would definitely think hard about doing it."
Gough recently made a comeback to the England one-day international team, but it was to be short-lived. After two matches in the limited overs series against Pakistan, where some commentators suggested Gough had lost the pace that once made him such a tough bowler to negotiate, he suffered a shin injury and was ruled out of the remainder of the series, and also the forthcoming Champions Trophy in India.
Maharashtra have been at the forefront of many changes in Indian domestic teams. Last season they hired Darren Holder, the Australian, as coaching director of the team, and for a while have expressed a keenness to take on foreign players to boost their chances of success in the Ranji Trophy. They have already hired professional cricketers from other states - notably Sairaj Bahutule from Mumbai, and more recently Sridharan Sriram from Tamil Nadu.
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