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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 08:36 GMT
Should England send Gough home?
Darren Gough's future on the Ashes tour is in doubt as England are forced to call up Alex Tudor.
This debate is now closed.
Gough's nightmare year suffered another blow when he broke down with a recurrence of his knee injury ahead of the first Ashes Test.
After bowling two seperate spells in the nets in Brisbane on Sunday, he reported discomfort and swelling in his left knee, which has been operated on three times.
And despite England captain Nasser Hussain hinting that Gough may not play at all this winter, the Yorkshire paceman said he remained positive that he could return.
What now for Gough?
Should Gough send England home, more like!
Gough should not have been included in the squad in the first place. Now you have Alex Tudor in the side and that's it. However, England should have included another specialist batsman such as Ramprakash to supplement the runs on the board. I do not see any Tests in this series going beyond four days.
It was a dubious decision to take Gough to Australia in the first place. With this latest injury setback there really is no way he will play in the series, so of course he should be sent home.
Gough may take wickets, but he's usually expensive and the Aussie batsmen will take full advantage of a rusty Gough. Darren's been a good servant for England, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he'll never play for his country again.
Hussain should take the blame for this long injury list. He over-worked his bowlers Flintoff and Hoggard. I don't think Hussain is a great strategist; he never tries to win matches.
Whilst Goughy should have been resting and exercising, he chose to play in the Dunhill-Links golf tournament in St Andrews and then spend his night out on the booze. His presence though will lift England spirits but I feel time is up for the Yorkshire star.
Gough is over the hill and seriously overweight. There is no way he will sustain the level of fitness needed for a five day Test unless he loses enough weight to give his knees a chance. He's fast running out of time at 32-years-old. 228 Test wickets from 56 matches isn't bad but it would have been a lot more if he'd kept himself fit!
Gough should stay even if it is just to put a smile in the dressing room. Time and time again we can see how his positive attitude brings the England team up either in the dressing room or on the pitch.
Send him home. To go to Australia to try to regain the Ashes with a half fit side is a joke. In fact, send the selectors home as well.
If we think that the only way that we stand any chance of competing, let alone winning, is by playing an injured, out of shape player, then we may as well pack up and come home now.
What sort of a message does this send to up and coming players (and the Australians) when we trust someone who can't play more than youngsters who are dying to?
I believe that Alex Tudor will be a better Test bowler than Jones, Hoggard and Harmison. Considering his appalling injury record, the question remains though: Is he fit?
Darren is vital for England, but we have to start having confidence in other bowlers because this situation continually puts pressure on the whole team. We want to have them bring back the Ashes. This may be the time.
Gough hanging around the team when he is not fit clearly indicates the lack of confidence that exists within the team. Sending Gough back would underscore the confidence in Hoggard, Jones and Harmison. England have to get on with it.
Gough should definitely stay in Australia. He is a talismanic figure for the team, and is our top bowler in terms of guile, experience and variety. Even if he doesn't come into the side until Melbourne (in eight weeks' time), he could still influence the course of the series - if we've managed to exceed expectations beforehand. In any case, we've picked a sizeable contingent of seamers, presumably with Gough's absence for part of the tour in mind.
On the subject of Giles, clearly he is only a defensive spinner. However, in tactical terms, we can't just bang away with seam all day, and "Farmer" can at least give our front line bowlers a rest.
In any case, I can't think of an alternative selection that would be any more positive, as for some time there just hasn't been the talent available. The last decent England spinners were Edmonds and Emburey, and early-90s Tufnell.
Now that Gough has been forced to attend the academy I feel he has to go home. What is the point in taking a bowler with you who keeps breaking down?
Flintoff went to the academy and has returned fit, but Gough has not played in a Test since the summer of 2001! If Gough does not get the treatment he requires (which appears to have happened this year) he will never get back into the England team.
Some may call me harsh when I say; it's about time he gave it up. I know Gough has been a brilliant servant for English cricket, but he is what, 32-years-old, unfit and when there are others like Harmison and Jones who are in their early 20s and fit, Gough doesn't stand a chance.
Gough is an inspirational cricketer for the team and especially Andy Caddick. As we know Caddick performs best when Gough is playing, but surely it is time for him to grow up and get on with his job whether Gough is there or not.
Nasser Hussain has always said England are a better team when Gough is playing. I do not agree. A fit Gough of 2000/01 would be fabulous, but a Gough who has not played a good game for over a year, I do not think that could benefit the team.
Goughie should stay with the squad, even if doesn't play. He's a great character and could be a great influence in the young fast bowlers Down Under. He has taken plenty of wickets against Australia and has always busted-a-gut for England. Even in the troubled times, it time for England to repay him with some faith and commitment.
Gough should not even be in Australia. A fast bowler with a knee problem is not a fast bowler any more, and never will be again. After a long period as England's best bowler Gough has at last broken down. This happens to all fast bowlers eventually and the only thing to do is take the kudos and retire gracefully. Thanks for the memories Goughie; you should be proud of yourself.
England are going to struggle badly this series, with or without Gough. Even with a fully fit Gough we would struggle to bowl the Aussies out twice. Yes we did pretty well at times against a very good Indian batting line-up, but we needed big scores too. That won't be so easy against Australia.
McGrath and Warne speak for themselves but in Gillespie they have another genuine world class bowler. We will do well to avoid a total whitewash.
I fail to understand why the media (and fans?) get so worked up about Gough. He is nothing extraordinary. His Test bowling averages are almost identical to Caddick's yet the media (and fans?!) fail to appreciate Caddick, who has been the best English bowler for a number of years. Caddick has got better with experience. Gough's is fizzling out and beginning to talk a better game than he can play.
Are they playing Flintoff or aren't they? No batting and 21 expensive overs is hardly preparation for a Test Match. If England are planning on playing him, why didn't he bat as soon as Hoggard was out to give him at least 3/4 of a days batting in the middle?
Hopefully White will play in front of him, White should have been selected from the start anyway.
Of course Gough should be sent home. Even when fully fit he has lost his world-class ability. This has been obvious for at least two years. Why they selected him is beyond me. The same goes for Caddick. Both are past their prime. England should have been grooming young bowlers far earlier than this.
Anyone who has played in a team will know that team cohesion is far more important than any individual. Just look at the way the team performed last winter in India: against a team who were man for man much stronger, we tied both Test and ODI series.
Why not leave Gough there - after all, selection for England seems to be more on how you performed years ago, or which county you play for. For example, Martin Saggers from Kent has consistently taken wickets, and his sole return for that has been one game in the Hong Kong Sixes!
If a player cannot play the first Test of a series then he should have never been picked. The England management should stop picking players based on past performances. Vinod Kambli has a Test average of 54 and he is still waiting in the wings.
Send him home, and replace him with someone that's fully fit and not 10kgs overweight. He's fighting a loosing battle against injury whilst hauling that tractor tyre around his belly.
You've got to feel sorry for Tudor considering he didn't do too much wrong this summer in the Test matches - yet the England selectors have still persisted with the fat man rather than Tudor.
England's attack is not entirely depended on Darren Gough. He hasn't been around for the most part of last year and he won't be missed. There are other guys like Caddick, Hoggard and Jones who can do the job.
Simple question - why was Darren Gough picked to go in the first place? On his day he was/is the best we have. However his fitness over the past 12/18 months has meant that he has played hardly any cricket at all.
England should drop the pretence about Gough. He's not going to be fit for any of the Tests this winter. He'll be 33 by next summer and it's doubtful he'll ever come back at that age, fit or not.
However, if he's willing to do it, England should keep Gough on to help coach bowlers like Jones, Harmison and Tudor. With all his experience he could do a lot of good.
Gough should be sent home. It seems unlikely that his knee will again stand up to international cricket in either format. Tudor should be added to the Test party, and the management should abstain from further negative comment about him.
England can't win if they can't bowl Australia out twice in a match. And I can't see them bowling Australia out twice. With Hayden, Langer and Ponting at the top of the order they will struggle to take any more than two or three wickets before Australia reach 200, by which time a platform will be built for some big totals.
Toss in Gilly to the middle order to smack some quick runs, and I would be surprised if England can limit Australia to less than 350 on most occasions. I predict that this series may see the emergence of a new batting star - but not Darren Lehmann. Look out for Michael Clark from NSW if he gets the chance. He is only 21 and is hot property.
Can't you people see? Darren Gough's mentality and self-belief make him the cricketer he is. How can anyone say a bad word about Dazza when he has produced the goods for England every time he has played? He would be England's best bowler half-fit, because England are so bad now that we are reduced to selecting Steve Harmison - speaks volumes really.
Don't criticise Goughie for his bragging and self belief, as that's the Australian mentally and that's what makes a winner. My prediction: Australia 4-1 England. Good Luck Boys!
It seems nobody on this site bothered watching the 2002 NZ v England series. Giles and Gough were both superb. And before you say 'they were only playing New Zealand', I think NZ are ranked above England, and drew the series.
England have more than a hope. As long as they believe in themselves they will prevail. They have more than it takes to draw a Test Match. As the Test series against India showed, they can do fairly well against strong batting line-ups. As long as the batsmen do their jobs, everyone else will contribute. I predict a 1-1 series draw.
We should play four quicks and forget about Giles, as he is unlikely to turn a ball before Sydney. If we need some spin Vaughan can perform this role better than Giles could. We need to get through the Aussies' opening partnership quickly, as this has been a particular strength in recent years.
If we can make an early breakthrough we can put some pressure on the middle order. Ponting usually gives you a chance early on, Lehmann doesn't like it around his ears and we should target Waugh at a time when he is under pressure for his place.
On the batting side, we need to try and see off McGrath and Warne, who are both world-class. After this pair, things get a lot easier, as both Lee and Gillespie are overrated and simply freeload off the efforts of McGrath and Warne.
There is no doubt in my mind that England have more than an even chance of winning the Ashes. I think the England cricket fans are caught up in the Australian hype that they cannot be beaten. I honestly hope this sad state of mind is not transferred to Nasser Hussain and his men, as this would be 75% of the defeat.
Australia are not invincible! This is the first thing that England must set themselves into believing, regardless of what Warne and the others may want us to believe. England have got to go into the series with a plan and stick to it.
If the English are going to win they need to score over 600 runs. They can't bowl very well, and most local Australian state sides will beat England with the current team they have.
Darren Gough is a brilliant bowler, but as we saw this summer, England can survive without him. It is definitely a bonus to have Gough in the side, but we have new young pace bowlers coming up including Steve Harmison and Simon Jones.
To me, England's batting is the greatest concern. Without Graham Thorpe in the side we are certainly weaker. Thorpe's control and certainty at the wicket cannot be replaced, and I am concerned that Robert Key will not be able to steady the middle order as Thorpe has done so brilliantly for the last two years.
Ashley Giles is wonderful if you want to bowl defensively. I admire Giles' tactics against India last winter - they worked didn't they? England do need another attacking spinner in the side. Why can't Robert Croft return? Andy Caddick was allowed back in the England team although he wouldn't travel to India.
Double standards seem to be appearing in the England set-up. Why are spinners consistently criticised for either getting hit for too many runs or not bowling an attacking line, and yet everyone seems to favour the pace attack?
Thank goodnes for Bob's comments (below). At last someone acknowledges that Giles is nothing but a defensive spinner. Call him a sportsman - he plays cricket with a watch on!
Pick Jones and Harmison, Hoggard and Caddick. Then Gough is not a bad back-up as a replacement to come in, if any get injured! He is good for the morale of the team.
The best thing about the Ashes tour these days is the Barmy Army. I had great fun when I went to one Test in Sydney. As long as we adopt that mentality for the series then nobody will get hurt.
Give the younger fast bowlers a chance. What will picking him for the second test do to the confidence of the young fit bowlers who deserve to be there. I think he was a quality bowler on his day, but his days are past. He should not have been selected in the first place, as a player who has not bowled a ball for a year.
Gough should never have been picked in the first place as he was not sure about his own fitness. I think what the English camp require now is a speedy mental recovery rather than physical!
I agree with Bertie Tyrrell (below) that Gough is overrated, not least by himself. It is ridiculous that he was even selected for this tour when he has not completed a first class game for more than year.
As for Giles, I am probably a better left arm spinner and I can't even land the ball! Everyone knows that Tuffers is the best spinner in the country and has been for probably the last ten years. He should have played 100 Tests for England and not the thirty odd that he has.
Vaughan needs to show some guts and start playing even if he isn't fully fit. Remember Steve Waugh's ton at the Oval last year when he could barely walk? I'd love the Ashes to come home at last, but I just can't see it!
England have a great chance against this over-hyped Aussie team. Take out McGrath and Warne and what have you got? The batsmen are nothing but a load of flashing chancers, and Brett Lee needs to acquaint himself with those three pieces of wood at each end of the wicket. England will win.
England's attack is not entirely depended on Darren Gough. He hasn't been around for the most part of last year. So he won't be missed at all.
There are other guys like Caddick, Hoggard and Jones who can do the job. So, England, attack the Aussies with what you have and quit worrying about who you don't have in your line up.
England have very few match winners in their side ...and Darren Gough is one of them. Without him and Caddick firing on all cylinders, I feel it will be tough for England to take 20 wickets against the mighty Australian batting line up.
Gough is one of the most overrated bowlers of all time. Remember, it was only 18 months ago that he and Caddick were supposedly going to wrest the Ashes back for England.
Gough got spanked and the Aussies won 4-1. His injury is the best thing that could have happened for England as it forces Fletcher and Hussain to pick Jones or Harmison.
In fact they should play both and forget Giles who is nothing more than a defensive spinner. Gough is finished as a Test player but England will win the series 2-1.
Gough's injury is not such a massive blow. He hasn't been at his best since England beat the West Indies, and he does not have a great record against the Aussies.
England can still win if their batsmen perform as they did in the summer. They need to score 400-500 in four out of the five Test Matches. Sounds simple!
England will probably get beaten, but it should be closer. Jones is going make a big name for himself, as will Vaughan and Flintoff if he gets fully fit.
The only good news is that few of this Australian team are going to be around in four years time when hopefully England should win.
Those who are writing off Darren Gough would do well to remember that English cricket was on the floor for most of the 1990s, with only Gough and Alec Stewart providing the team with any star quality.
Surely this is reason enough to get off both players' backs and allow them one last crack at the Aussies without constant calls for their retirement. And even if Gough is past his best, can anyone honestly recommend a single bowler who the Aussies would respect more than the Dazzler? Alex Tudor? I think not.
It's a big risk playing an unfit bowler. If the Aussies bat first, he could be in the field for three days, whereas if we bat first he'd only need to bowl a couple of sessions. The risk of permanent injury is too high to decide on the toss of a coin.
Gough is and always will be an important part of the England set up, but I have seen enough from the youngsters to feel we are in good shape for the future. Gough should only come back when he is 100% ready as his technique is based around effort rather than rhythm.
Gough at 80% is no more a strike bowler than White is. Against any other side in the world I would gamble on him in the next Test just based on reputation, but the Aussies fear no man, least one who is still searching for his form of yesteryear!
To Joe, Yorkshire (below): it is difficult to pick a player (Bell) who has a stress-fracture of the back! Anyway, he is not yet a proven county-player, therefore selecting him for internationals could very well backfire badly.
As for the bowling, which you say is shaping-up nicely, you forget that Hoggard is not a proven class-act, he's far too inconsistent, and though Jones apparently has got some good reverse-swing going, there's still no evidence whatsoever that he is a good bowler.
As for Giles, I don't know what you are thinking of. You're right that Vaughan is not yet proven as an opener - he benefited from many dropped catches last year - but your criticism of Stewart is harsh. The man averages 39.99 in 122 Test-matches! Class personified.
It's hardly a surprise Gough isn't fit. Our chances lie in the hands of Jones and Harmison. Caddick is great when he is good but can get knocked out of the attack and the Aussies will be aiming for him. I say let's get behind our country and see if we can pull off the unexpected. Come on England!
Even if Gough does return for the second Test, he will be very rusty. What England have to decide is, do you play a half fit Gough in the later Tests, or do you attack with fit, yet inexperienced bowlers?
When he's firing on all cylinders, Darren Gough is a huge asset - however, he hasn't been fully fit for sometime and it's looking increasingly likely that he won't take part in this tour.
Why take partially unfit players? It's a very hard tour - it doesn't matter how good people are, if they don't play, or worse, break down, they're a liability. I'm available!
As a Yorkshireman I am a fan of Darren Gough, but he's hardly bowled a ball in anger for a year now. He may get over the injury in the near future but there's no way he'll be match fit.
Also, in his absence other bowlers have made their mark. Why should one of these have to give way so Gough can walk straight back into the team? He has to prove he is worth his place first.
The current situation brings back memories of the Football World Cup and, in particular, England....a team with a lot of promise but injuries across key players have come at the worst time.
With players like Waughs in decline I feel it is a weaker Australia side compared to recent Ashes series, however England will need to be a full strength and play to their best to stand any chance!
England are going into this series, on a wing and a prayer. Taking three or four half-fit or injured players, to an important international sporting contest, is the act of a management, who are either desperate, or utterly amateur.
Australia are simply too strong. Although England's bowling has improved since last year, the batting can be brittle and a lot depends on the openers.
McGrath will get Vaughan outside off stump, and Trescothick has an awful record against Gillespie. The only side to win a series in Australia in the last fifteen years were the Windies of the '80s, and let's face it, England are not that good.
England are going to need some big bowling performances at both ends at the same time to keep up. But it's hard to see where this double act is going to appear from - with Hoggard still lacking an opener's cutting edge and Caddick's inconsistency.
Hussain could be lured into a field set to prevent runs quite early rather than taking wickets. I hope he is prepared to take some risks when runs are going against us and get at the Australians from the off.
You can't go into a Test match against the best team in the world with half your squad injured and expect too much. England will need every player at their best, luck with the weather and some mistakes from the Australians before they have a chance of taking the series.
Australia are a better team - man for man. But so were the American Ryder Cup team when compared with the European team. The beauty of sport is its unpredictability. That is why we all keep watching and supporting it. England will probably lose the series, but I for one will keep shouting them on until the last ball of the final Test.
England's bowling is shaping up nicely with Jones, Harmison and Giles looking like they'll be able to back up the two class acts in Hoggard and Caddick. That said, they need totals to bowl at which means getting 400 plus.
Vaughan has only ever made runs against sub-continent sides and I think McGrath and co will soon expose his weakness just outside off stump against high quality pace. The Aussies have also already worked out Crawley and Stewart and I'd be surprised if either passes 50 in the series leaving a lot of pressure on Nasser, Butcher and Trescothick.
If Key comes in he won't be given much in is own half to drive at exposing his weakness against the short ball. If we utilised Butcher, Vaughan and Trescothick more with the ball we could put Stewart at seven and play six genuine batsmen.
However, without Ramprakash and Bell in the squad it's hard to see how England are going to consistently make big enough scores to back up the bowlers.
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