Cricket: Gough may be out for season

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND HAVE been dealt a severe blow by the news that Darren Gough's shin injury, which has already ruled him out of tomorrow's second Test against New Zealand, could prevent him from taking part in the remainder of the series.

The Yorkshire fast bowler is not yet out of contention for the forthcoming Test matches at Old Trafford and The Oval, but he has suffered a recurrence of the shin-calf injury which eliminated him from the first Test, and his availability for the rest of the season is in doubt.

Gough will see a specialist tomorrow and it is now looking more likely that he will miss the third Test, and perhaps the fourth, after he was omitted from Yorkshire's team for their Championship match against Northamptonshire at Scarborough yesterday. He is also looking doubtful for Yorkshire's NatWest Trophy quarter-final against Lancashire on 28 July and the Super Cup final against Gloucestershire on 1 August.

England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said: "Darren didn't play on Sunday. He's basically back to square one with regard to his shin, so he's off to see a specialist and we'll see what happens then. It's an increasing concern to me that it has great similarity to a couple of years ago, a short-term injury developing into something longer.

"It will be disappointing for him because it reduces his chances of being fit enough for Test cricket in this country and there's also the Super Cup final coming up. He hasn't played in a domestic final for Yorkshire. We needed him to prove to us he can bowl longer and longer spells, and there is no first-class cricket he can play between the second and third Tests."

The pitch to be used for the Lord's Test was relaid in 1996, and Graveney is pleased with the surface. The adjoining wicket, also relaid three years ago, was used for the high-scoring World Cup match between Australia and Zimbabwe.

The Kent fast bowler Dean Headley may be the man to be omitted from England's line-up tomorrow, as also happened at Edgbaston. New Zealand are likely to play the side which appeared against Kent, with Chris Cairns taking the new ball instead of the injured Simon Doull.