September 18, 1970, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, Yorkshire
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
Inspirer, extrovert, attack leader, and England's best strike bowler since Bob Willis and Ian Botham, Darren Gough grew from often-injured good to match-fit great, until a long-standing knee problem curtailed his Ashes campaign in 2002-03, heralding a premature end to his Test career the following summer.
However, he refused to concede his playing days were over and continued in England one-day colours, hanging grimly to a place until he was omitted from the 2007 World Cup squad. Not one for a quiet ending, after three years at Essex he returned to Yorkshire as captain on a two-year deal in 2007.
Gough was not blessed with the height of Curtly Ambrose or Glenn McGrath - and thus lacked a stock ball to match. He developed other means of claiming wickets by watching, experimenting and learning. In the process he became England's first and foremost exponent of reverse swing and a fine changer of pace.
A showman like Dominic Cork, with a softer side, Gough could inspire team-mates and crowds with a diving catch or some daring hitting as well. He had the right chemistry to cause spontaneous combustion, to make things happen and help others play above themselves.
Nobody contributed more to England's four series wins in a row in 2000 and 2000-01 than Gough, who was Player of the Series against West Indies and in Sri Lanka. Succeeding there and in Pakistan, the traditional graveyard of fast bowlers, was the final stage of his development, although even his self-confidence took a battering after England's failure to compete against Australia the following summer.
He injured his knee during a one-day series in New Zealand - it seemed trivial at the time, but mushroomed into a year of misdiagnosis and aborted comebacks. He was forced out of the Ashes tour and the 2003 World Cup, but somehow willed himself back to fitness in time for the English season that year. And though he was instrumental in England's NatWest Series victory, he was exposed in Test cricket, from which he retired after a heavy Lord's defeat against South Africa.
In January 2004, he parted company with Yorkshire after 15 years to head to Essex. He returned to the international stage later in the year but was largely a shadow of his former self.
Gough's ebullient personality discovered life after cricket, when he won the BBC talent contest Strictly Come Dancing. In 2021 he was appointed Yorkshire's director of cricket amid the fallout from Azeem Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at the club.
Darren Gough Career Stats
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Debut/Last Matches of Darren Gough
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Recent Matches of Darren Gough
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|Eng Masters vs SL Masters||--||1/11||03-Dec-2009||Bridgetown||OTHERT20|
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|PCA XI vs Aus Masters||9||0/27||08-Sep-2009||Wormsley||OTHERT20|