Darren Gough has told his England team-mates that they must have the same arrogance as Australia if they are to win their first Ashes series in nearly 20 years later this season. Gough, who retired from Test cricket two years ago because of a knee injury, is part of the one-day squad for the NatWest Series, beginning June 16, before taking on Australia in the Twenty20 international at Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground on Monday.
With England having lost the last eight Ashes campaigns [their last series triumph was in 1986-87], Gough knows it is on the Tests that their season will be judged. "As long as our players have the same mentality as theirs and are as confident, and sometimes as arrogant there's no reason why England can't do well in all forms of the game. Even if you are getting smacked around, you still have got to have that belief. It only takes three balls. I had none for 60 when I took my hat-trick [in the 1999 Sydney Ashes Test]. That just shows you've always got to believe and certain players in this side still have that belief."
England are second behind Australia in the ICC Test rankings and for many of their current players facing Australia would be a new experience - something Gough believes can work to their advantage. "A lot of these guys have done well against other teams and now they've got the chance to do well against the best team in the world," he continued. "If they can win this [Ashes] series they are made for life. They can be absolute heroes to us all."
"The players now are not too scared. In the last few years of my [Test] career we had a lot of players who were doubting their ability before we went in there." Gough, who hopes to play in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, was doing everything he could to prolong his career. "I'm going pretty strong. I still work hard but I'm lucky enough I've got a natural talent to bowl," said Gough who now plays county cricket for Essex. "I enjoy it. When I have a bad day and I don't have a wicket in a four day game I go home and think 'how could I have done better?' It still hurts. The day it doesn't hurt is the day I'll not play."
He also insisted that even though the opposition were Australia, he would not have any regrets when England took the field for the first Test at Lord's. "It's their Test. Let's see how good they are. I'll let somebody else have a go now."