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Justin Langer column

Justin Langer
By Justin Langer
Former Australia batsman and Somerset captain

It's not a statistic I will remember with particular fondness, but I was Darren Gough's final first-class wicket.

Darren Gough at Scarborough
Gough bids farewell to his adoring Yorkshire public

At the end of Somerset's game against Yorkshire at Scarborough, he smiled and goaded me by saying: "I am happy to finish with an Aussie in my pocket."

On the final day, he turned back the clock as he steamed in and bowled with an energy and exuberance previously reserved for an Ashes Test match.

With his team needing to win, Goughy took the new ball and ran in like a steam train, bowling at a pace I remembered from past Ashes campaigns.

In his first over, he skittled Craig Kieswetter's stumps and then in his third bowled me the best ball I have faced all summer and I could only edge it to the keeper.

It was a reminder of just why Darren Gough will retire as one of the most respected and admired cricketers of our generation.

The English public and his team-mates love him because when the team needs a lift, he puts his hand up every time.

We saw it when England played Australia and last Saturday, I saw it again when Yorkshire needed a lift to try and pull off an unlikely victory.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett
On a very flat pitch, they needed something special and for an hour their captain provided the spark that has become synonymous with the Darren Gough legend.

It was as though he was back in his early 20s as he roared in and prised every ounce of energy out of his ageing body.

There is an old adage that states: "attitude is contagious - is yours worth catching?"

There is no doubt Darren Gough's approach to cricket and life is certainly worth copying and even though his body was hurting, he was again a shining example about what a great attitude can do to lift the spirits of everyone around them.

Currently Freddie Flintoff is the 'go to' man in the England team, and it wouldn't surprise me if he learned a lot about leading an attack from watching Darren Gough.

In both of these players, I see men who have the crowd on the edge of their seats every time they have a ball in their hand.

Darren Gough at Scarborough
Gough celebrates after dismissing yours truly at Scarborough

Their energy and aggression mean they are no fun to face when you are a batsman, but inspiring to watch when you are on the other side of the fence.

In the middle, you know you are in a battle every time with these two warriors because they don't know the meaning of half measures and they give every inch of themselves whenever they have their England or county cap on their heads.

When I retired from Test cricket, I thought that one of the upsides would be that I would never have to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Freddie Flintoff or Darren Gough again.

As it has turned out I have had to face both of them this summer, and if truth be known, I have loved every minute of it.

Darren Gough will leave the game with his spirit shining on through the peers and youngsters that he has inspired. That is a tremendous legacy.


see also
Curtain falls on Gough's career
22 Sep 08 |  Yorkshire
Gough considering Twenty20 return
10 Sep 08 |  Yorkshire
Gough to retire at end of season
26 May 08 |  Yorkshire
Gough back as Yorkshire captain
28 Feb 07 |  Yorkshire
Shayne and Gough win talent shows
17 Dec 05 |  Entertainment

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