It has come to light that Darren Gough has played his last game as a professional cricketer. The Yorkshire captain has decided to sit out his teams’ final match of the season against Sussex. He felt that being applauded off the pitch against Somerset was the perfect way to and a career spanning almost 20 years, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.

 

Justin Langer – who scored 7,696 test match runs for Australia – has ended up being Gough’s last ever wicket and he describes the fast bowler as a ‘legend’. Something I will not disagree with. His passion for the game of cricket, his commitment to England and his likeable personality have made him a joy to watch over the years. Summing all this up in just eleven words, Gough apparently said to Langer that “I am happy to finish with an Aussie in my pocket.” 

 

It seems that Gough was in sparkling form during his last spell as a cricketer. Apologies for constantly referring to Langer, but the former Australian batsman said that the ball Gough bowled to remove him was the best he had faced ‘all summer.’ That’s not a bad compliment to finish on is it? Gough himself admitted that it was the quickest he had bowled in quite some time. 

 

Such a thing is testament to the man himself. Gough has always, always given his all – for Yorkshire, for Essex and of course – for England. No-one was as proud as Gough to represent his country and in taking 467 wickets in total for England – he takes a very impressive record with him into retirement. But, with Gough, it wasn’t just his wicket taking ability; it was his love of the game that won so many people over. 

 

He is such a dedicated cricketer and a model professional for any captain to call upon and any youngster to look up to. He will miss playing cricket for Yorkshire, just like he missed playing cricket for England. I’d place a lot of cricket betting money on the fact that he will continue playing at some level. In fact, in five years time, I suspect he would still fancy his chances of performing at professional level!

 

There has been talk that he may return to play in the Twenty20 cup next year, but I don’t think that will happen. The man himself has even admitted that a return is ‘very unlikely’; even though I suspect the cricket odds would favour him taking plenty of wickets should he come back next year. He did take 33 wickets in Twenty20 cricket for Yorkshire, after all. 

 

Many will say that their fondest memory of Gough is the hat-trick he took against Australia at Sydney in 1999. However, although this was a magic moment, my favourite Darren Gough memory was non-cricket related. 

 

As a young lad, my Dad took me to the Oval to watch England. Obviously in awe of all these players I had seen on the TV, I was shocked when upon asking Mr Gough for an autograph, he proceeded to talk to me and my Dad for around 15 minutes about whether I played the game, which football team we supported and how we thought the days play would pan out.  

 

So, not only is Darren Gough a legend of the game – he is also a top, top bloke as well and I wish him every success in the future.

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