Dear Darren Gough

It took one swaggering figure to restore some pride to English cricket. The MP for Leeds Central says there's no surprise it was a Yorkshireman
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Fifty-one runs and six wickets: single-handedly you appear to have transformed England's cricketing fortunes. As I write, I am aware that things may have changed overnight, but it looks as if, at long last, we have in you a cricketer with the cha racter and ability to match Shane Warne and the Aussies.

Of course, for those of us who live in Yorkshire and follow religiously the success (or otherwise) of England's leading cricket team, Yorkshire, it is no surprise that the national side's long run of failure and disgrace has been turned round by a Yorkshireman.

We have always known that a team made up of adopted South Africans and products of minor public schools simply lacked the backbone to be successful. Historically, it has been left to Yorkshire to provide the ingredients for success: skill and technical competence, of course, but also a commitment to win and an essential, bloody-minded grit.

These are the very characteristics which reflect Yorkshire's industrial history, with its emphasis upon independence, pride, mutual respect and physical strength - characteristics which seem to be uniquely reproduced in Yorkshire's landscape and which, in cricket terms, are developed and honed in the unrivalled Yorkshire leagues.

No place reflects these characteristics more than Barnsley and no one could be more of a son of Barnsley than you. For you, surely, there could be no greater praise.

And - whisper this so that the public image of the Yorkshire personality is not totally undermined - you do it all with a sense of mischief and an impish smile on your face. Perhaps we should be grateful that Geoffrey Boycott was not able to advise you on this aspect of your game.

Now that Barnsley and Yorkshire have saved English cricket, it is time for a more radical agenda. We in Yorkshire instinctively know that over the years we have been badly treated by the cricket establishment. Indeed, it was only after every clearly unsuitable candidate had been tried and found wanting that the Test and County Cricket Board overcame its natural instinct for failure and turned to a Yorkshireman, Ray Illingworth, as chairman of selectors.

Tonight, the Ridings will be singing the praises of our successful son. We will also enjoy the satisfaction of watching others, who have so disgracefully denied Yorkshire cricketers their true reward in the England side, now having to rely so heavily on a Yorkshireman for success.

But these satisfactions will not in themselves be enough for us to forget the injustices inflicted on Yorkshire cricket. If Yorkshireness is now to be praised, and the true merit of Yorkshire cricket at last recognised, then Yorkshiremen must now be put in all key positions: Ray Illingworth as the only selector; Geoffrey Boycott as manager (if he still talks to Illingworth), and of course you as captain.

You have not just saved English pride, you have shown that the enduring and endearing characteristics of our county are the bedrock of English success. Thanks be to Gough, but praise be to Yorkshire.

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