Gough dismisses retirement talk

Published: Saturday, November 20, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Veteran seamer Darren Gough has brushed aside talk that he considered retiring at the end of last summer and has pledged his future to England cricket as long as he can maintain his international form.

It had been speculated that Gough would retire after this summer's ICC Champions Trophy tournament - particularly after a disappointing display in the final defeat against West Indies at the Oval.

But England's most experienced one-day international cricketer with 138 appearances insisted he never contemplated retirement.

"I had no intentions of retiring after that final, no matter what," insisted Gough.

"The World Cup is in two winters' time. I am not going to say I am definitely going to be fit for it but half this squad here may not be around for it either - they may not be good enough or other players may come through. "

"People criticise me now because I am 34 but if you look at the teams around the world they have all got players older than me. As long as I keep my fitness and I believe I can do a job I will keep playing."

The Essex seamer admitted he no longer has the pace of old and has reconciled himself to a supporting role to Steve Harmison.

"The role I have for England now is totally different to the role I had five years ago," he explained.

"Someone has to bowl into the wind and we all know that is going to be me when you have Harmison able to bowl 90mph or more with every ball.

"That is my role for England and I will do anything for my country. It is good that Harmison can run in and not worry about keeping it tight because I am doing that from the other end."

Gough does not expect to be given priority, even during their game against Namibia, who England play in the first of two warm-up matches on Sunday.

He is happy to be involved only a couple of years after knee surgery, and receives regular treatment from a renowned specialist in Munich, Germany just to continue playing.

England had hoped to play all 14 members of their squad in Sunday's opening warm-up match and give them all valuable match practice but officials from the Namibian Cricket Association have rejected their request and want a conventional 11-a-side encounter.

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