The Realm’s England XI – 8. Darren Gough

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We’re picking an England XI comprising the players we invested in the most.

Darren Gough at eight is… well, it’s not great, is it?

Except it is, because it means Darren Gough is in the team.

Gough is in some ways the prototype for players we emotionally invest in.

Firstly, he was a bowler. This is important because without good bowlers Test matches can only ever be draws.

Secondly, he was a fast bowler. This is important because fast bowlers – particularly those who can bowl reverse swinging yorkers – are the players who make matches suddenly turn corners. (People often talk about ‘game-changers’ but that’s a crap term because it’s also entirely possible to change a fun Test match into a boring draw if you bat in a certain way.)

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly – although probably only ‘most importantly’ given that he also possesses the first two qualities, so maybe not ‘most importantly’ at all actually now that we come to think about it… So let’s just say thirdly, and very importantly, Gough was a trier.

‘Trying’ is often the short form of ‘trying-and-failing’. While this did often apply to Gough, the first part is also a necessary component of the far more rewarding trying-and-succeeding.

When you’re watching a Test match and your team is losing and events are out of your hands, you’re hoping for a miracle.

Tell you which players don’t produce miracles: the sad, defeated-looking ones.

Tell you which players do very occasionally produce miracles: the guys who charge in to bowl with a tangible air of ‘we’re only a couple of hat-tricks away from turning this around, lads’.

Play cricket like that and we will love you forever. You could never, EVER question Darren Gough’s effort.


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  1. Yes, I remember the reverse swinging Yorkers very well. Definitely Gough is one of my favourite English bowlers, but I am more of a ODI person than a Test match person. and Reverse swinging yorkers were very relevant to ODIs

    1. I’ve always thought 9 was Moeen’s proper position, so fingers crossed!

      But I guess perhaps Monty is going to be this team’s spinner.

  2. He lost a million quid in a Ponzi scheme. You can see why he was targetted. This increased my affection for him still further.

  3. This team is going to have quite the tail, isn’t it?

    I have fond memories of seeing Gough get out for Essex at Old Trafford and being very unhappy as the ball had hit him on the arm (without, he claimed, hitting the bat first). On the way back to what was then still the pavilion, the Lancashire fans, inevitably, gave him a bit of light abuse, which he responded to by rolling up his sleeve and defiantly displaying the already-formed bruise on his arm. It was a thing to behold.

    I later saw him glumly eating his lunch (these were the days where members and junior members could more or less wander around at will) while a nearby Andrew Flintoff enthusiastically wolfed down his own helping.

  4. In these unprecedented times, we need emotional pillars to support our changing and confusing circumstances. One such pillar is the reassurance that Darren Gough would appear as part of the KC Realm England XI.

    I’ll sleep better now this matter has been unequivocally resolved in a satisfactory manner.

    1. I would love to see The Great Neil Wagner and Gough in the same team. Imagine the tryingness of that attack?

      Pity TGNW is not eligible for this lineup.

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