Darren Gough has been talking a good game of cricket for quite some time, and yesterday the England selectors gave him the chance to play one when they picked him in a 16-man squad for the Natwest one-day series and Twenty20 match against Pakistan. Gough has been brought back to bolster England's bowling, which was flogged mercilessly by Sri Lanka earlier in the season.
"I'm playing in the best one-day team in the country [Essex] and my own performances have been very good - that's why I have been picked," said Gough. "I'm relishing the prospect of facing Pakistan as they have some of the best one-day batsmen in the world. I'm delighted to get another opportunity. It's going to be a challenge but I'm looking forward to it immensely."
The 35-year-old Gough will be joined by Stuart Broad, the most exciting young fast bowler in the country. Broad, the son of Chris, the former England opening batsman, has taken 40 wickets in this summer's county championship. He also played a leading role in Leicestershire's Twenty20 Cup triumph.
"On reflection of the NatWest series defeat to Sri Lanka earlier in the summer, the selectors felt we needed some experience," said David Graveney, the chairman of selectors. "Darren Gough has bowled with great confidence for Essex this year. We are aware that in recent weeks Darren has been suffering from injury to his shins but we are confident he will be fully recovered before the first match on Monday.
"Of the young bowlers making a strong impression in first-class cricket this season, Stuart Broad has performed exceptionally well, as would have been noticed by the public during the recent Twenty20 Cup finals day."
Sussex's Michael Yardy is the only other uncapped player in the squad. With Ashley Giles and Ian Blackwell recovering from injury, Yardy's left-arm spin will provide England's attack with variety. His batting may look ugly but over the last two seasons it has been very effective.
England squad for the Twenty20 international and five-match one-day international series v Pakistan: A J Strauss (Middlesex, capt), M E Trescothick (Somerset), A N Cook (Essex), I R Bell (Warwickshire), K P Pietersen (Hampshire), P D Collingwood (Durham), E C Joyce (Middlesex), R Clarke (Surrey), M H Yardy (Sussex), J W M Dalrymple (Middlesex), C M W Read (Nottinghamshire, wkt), S I Mahmood (Lancashire), S C J Broad (Leicestershire), D Gough (Essex), S J Harmison (Durham), J Lewis (Gloucestershire).