Gough handed another chance in one-day series

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Darren Gough and Stephen Harmison have been added to the England one-day squad who are scheduled to play seven limited-over matches against the West Indies at the end of the current Test series.

Darren Gough and Stephen Harmison have been added to the England one-day squad who are scheduled to play seven limited-over matches against the West Indies at the end of the current Test series.

When England named their one-day party for the Caribbean in January they deliberately left two of the 15 places open so that they could monitor the form and fitness of their fast bowlers during the Test matches.

In February, Gough was told that he would be considered for selection if he could prove his fitness, which he has managed to do during pre-season training with his new county, Essex.

Harmison, meanwhile, owes his call-up to the superb form he has shown during the current Test series. The Durham paceman has been the inspiration behind England's two victories and has taken 16 wickets.

"Darren's inclusion will give our bowling attack valuable experience and know-how," the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said. "He is a proven international performer and I am sure that he will be relishing the prospect of his first England tour of the Caribbean."

Many feared Gough's international career was finished when he was overlooked for England's one-day series in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka before Christmas.Gough was upset about being left out of these matches but there was little point in taking him to Bangladesh. He would gain nothing from the experience and reduce his chances of playing in the 2007 World Cup, which is still his goal.

A long-term knee injury forced Gough to retire from Test cricket during the summer but it is right that England continue to use him. With 188 one-day wickets he is England's most successful bowler in limited-over cricket and he still has something to give. His presence will also lessen the workload on England's other fast bowlers.

One of those is Simon Jones, who missed out despite taking his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket during the second Test in Trinidad. "It is great that Simon Jones is back and taking wickets," Graveney said. "But we must realise he hasn't played much cricket in the last 17 months and the rigours of playing one-day internationals back-to-back is difficult."

Despite his performances in the Test matches the selection of Harmison is something of a gamble. During last winter's tour of Australia the fast bowler played in five one-day internationals and conceded almost six runs per over. He bowled far too many wides and this, combined with his pace, caused the ball to fly everywhere. This did not stop England from selecting him for the 2003 World Cup, but he failed to play a game.

Gough will open the bowling but Harmison looks set to be used in the middle of the innings. Teams must now be able to take wickets during this section of the game if they hope to keep teams down to a competitive total.

England's supporters, who have turned up in their thousands to watch the third Test in Barbados, have improved their side's chances of progressing in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

In an attempt to help the logistics of organising a tournament which could be spread over nine or 10 islands the organisers have decided to place England, Australia, India and the West Indies in different groups.

This is to avoid the accommodation problems which would be caused if two or three of the best supported sides were to be drawn at the same venue. The West Indies Cricket Board intend to invest $125m [£68.5m] on upgrading and building new stadiums for the tournament.


M P Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt)
J M Anderson (Lancashire)
G J Batty (Worcestershire)
I D Blackwell (Somerset)
R Clarke (Surrey)
P D Collingwood (Durham)
A Flintoff (Lancashire)
A F Giles (Warwickshire)
D Gough (Essex)
S J Harmison (Durham)
R J Kirtley (Sussex)
A McGrath (Yorkshire)
C M W Read (Nottinghamshire, wkt)
A J Strauss (Middlesex)
M E Trescothick (Somerset)