Gough takes top bowling award

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The Independent Online
Darren Gough has won an accolade as England's best bowler of 1996 - despite not playing in a single Test this summer.

Gough collected pounds 10,000 at Lord's for topping the Whyte and Mackay rankings, with the former England captain Graham Gooch earning the same amount for the batting award.

Gooch, who was 43 two months ago, finished ahead of the pack by some distance - supporting the view of those who believe that he is still England's best batsman, despite retiring from the Test arena more than 18 months ago.

The 26-year-old Gough, who held off a stiff challenge from the Glamorgan off-spinner Robert Croft, is hopefully ready to relaunch his England career during this winter's tour of Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Graham Thorpe, Surrey's England batsman, earned pounds 7,000 for coming second in the batting section. Chris Adams, of Derbyshire, won pounds 5,000 in third place - a position which his supporters will claim underlines the England selectors' mistake in leaving him out of the A tour to Australia, which starts in a month's time.

The top four players in the bowling section - Gough, Croft, Alan Mullally and Andrew Caddick - are all on the senior tour this winter.

The Surrey captain, Alec Stewart, picked up pounds 5,000 for being chosen as cricketer of the year by a four-man panel of Geoff Boycott, Alan Knott, John Lever and Ted Dexter. Ronnie Irani, as best all-rounder, and Jack Russell, as best wicketkeeper-batsman, each received pounds 3,500.

WHYTE & MACKAY RANKINGS Leading final standings: Batting: 1 G A Gooch (Essex) 525pts; 2 G P Thorpe (Surrey) 471; 3 C J Adams (Derbyshire) 460; 4 N Hussain (Essex) 459; 5 M P Maynard (Glamorgan) 447; 6 M R Ramprakash (Middlesex) 443; 7 K J Barnett (Derbyshire) 443; 8 K M Curran (Northants) 442; 9 M A Butcher (Surrey) 430; 10 A J Stewart (Surrey) 427. Bowling: 1 D Gough (Yorkshire) 526; 2 R D B Croft (Glamorgan) 510; 3 A D Mullally (Leicestershire) 485; 4 A R Caddick (Somerset) 481; 5 M P Bicknell (Surrey) 479; 6 S J E Brown (Durham) 469; 7 J P Taylor (Northants) 468; 8 P M Such (Essex) 455; 9 M J McCague (Kent) 449; 10 D G Cork (Derbyshire) 448.