So long to the man who dazzled English cricket

When Darren Gough unlaces his boots and packs his bag for the final time at the end of the 2008 season English cricket will wave goodbye to one of its most colourful and charismatic figures. In the nineties, an era when the England cricket team generally had very little to feel jolly about, Gough put a smile back on the face of the national teams supporters with his wholehearted effort and his joy of life.

Sharing a dressing room with him was novel and entertaining experience. It was not only on the field that he wanted to be the centre of attention. In the confines of the dressing room conversation always revolved around him and more often than not ended with him being the topic of discussion. He was, and is, as Yorkshire as they come but unlike many from the unique county he is prepared to have a laugh at himself.

When he was the pin-up boy of English cricket Gough loved the freebies that came his way and his corner of a dressing room was filled with watches, training gear, toiletries and fashion clothing he had been sent. He loved showing them off. It used to drive Dominic Cork, his close friend and fellow fast bowler mad. Cork thought he was the main man and could not understand why he never received the same recognition.

In cricket fast bowlers are widely regarded as being a bit thick and Gough did little to rid us of the tag. Once, when asked by a journalist why he was nicknamed 'Rhino'. He replied: "Coz I'm as strong as a bloody ox, that's why." Another time when asked where he had eaten the previous night he replied, in an Italian accent, 'Albarone.' We later found out that it was called All Bar One.

On the field he was an inspiration and had he been six inches taller he would have been one of the greatest bowlers England have produced. For his height he did remarkably well to compete as he did, taking 229 Test wickets in 58 Tests at a very competitive average of 28.39. His small stature helped him in one-day cricket, in that it was easier for him to get skiddy yorkers in to the blockhole at the end of an innings, and he remains, with 235 wickets, England's highest limited over wicket-taker.

It was not just his effervescent nature that people warmed to, even though it is this trait that seems to have reinvigorated Yorkshire since he took over as captain. It was his heart, the size of it, which won him greater respect. Gough was a hugely competitive bowler who gave it his absolute all every time he walked on to a field. The tougher the conditions the more he got out himself, a trait that was highlighted on England's 2000/01 of Sri Lanka when, in extremely unhepful conditions, he helped bowl his side to an unexpected series victory.

He loved the challenge of playing against Australia too, a team that offered him the biggest stage of all, and it was in Adelaide on a scorching 45 degree day that he showed his true mettle to me. Dean Headley and Allan Mullally, two extremely fit young men, had wilted under a hot sun and northerly desert wind but Gough, this tubby looking, unathletic-looking bundle of fun kept running in all day. It was an awesome effort and he was rewarded with a couple of late wickets with the second new ball.

On announcing his retirement Gough stated that he did not want any fanfare and that he wanted to go quietly. One thing is for sure is that cricket will not have heard the last of him. Yorkshiremen in cricket do not disappear quietly.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little