Questionnaire Darren Gough - England Fast Bowler

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The Independent Online
Has the press response to England's performances been overly critical this summer?

English cricket has become an easy target after a disappointing World Cup; it's got to be affecting the confidence of certain players which is of no good to the cause. As long as the press are constructive, it doesn't bother me.

How do you cope with the frustrations of being unfit for important games?

Very badly. I've been champing at the bit to play again but I have to be told to calm down and rest, which is frustrating. When Yorkshire get to finals I've been waiting 10 years for, it makes it even worse, and missing Tests for England, particularly when we're playing so badly makes me more determined to return and make up for lost time.

Best match played in to date and why?

The Melbourne Test last winter. End-to-end stuff from start to finish with England just pipping Australia after being up against it and destroyed by both Aussie and English press.

Who do you respect most in English cricket today?

Michael Atherton for the way he led England through such hard times while keeping his own performances at world-class level. Also for his coming back against all odds from his back injury.

Which batsman do you dread or relish the challenge of bowling to?

Steve Waugh - a top player with loads of luck, always edges the ball past the fielders. Backbone of Australia for the last 10 years. Brian Lara - destructive on his day, even when you're bowling at your best. Sachin Tendulkar - pure genius.

Is `sledging' part and parcel of the modern game? Do England give as good as they get?

England are one of the best at giving it - just ask South Africa who think we are the most aggressive side around.

What would you like to see changed in the game?

The changes made have been good. Two divisions working in the National League means there's still a lot to fight for approaching the end of the season.

Central contracts, and probably merge four or five of the smaller counties with the Test grounds.

Three adjectives to describe English cricket?

Confused and short-sighted. The third requires a description: the talent is there but the spark needs igniting. Steve Waugh described us to me as a "sleeping giant" and I think that is fair.

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