Darren Gough has been brought in by England head coach Chris Silverwood as a bowling consultant for the upcoming test series against New Zealand and I think it’s an appointment which makes a lot of sense.
Former England bowler Gough may have spent his time in the media in recent years, rather than coaching, but he is a great guy for a short-term role.
England are only playing two Test matches at the end of November, so Gough won’t be helping remodel anyone’s bowling action.
Instead he’ll be passing on the experience which helped him take 229 wickets in 58 Tests for England at an average of 28.39 and become a brilliant death bowler.
I think the players will relate to him well. He’s probably going to take more of an old-school approach, but I’m sure the younger bowlers will enjoy picking his brains.
Although he is ECB Level 3 qualified, his worth will come more from his experiences as a player. He’s performed in front of big crowds and under great pressure so can offer a different perspective.
The fact he is good friends with Silverwood, having opened the bowling with him for a long period at Yorkshire, is a bonus because it ensures he will settle in straight away.
Gough has been pursuing a career in the media and has admitted being a bowling coach might not be for him full-time, but I don’t think there is any harm in appointing someone for just a single tour.
England have done similar things before with former players like Saqlain Mushtaq, who has been very successful as a spin consultant.
Before we get to the Tests there is a Twenty20 series, which starts on Friday, and England’s team has an exciting look to it.
England are keen to try young players a year out from the T20 World Cup in Australia, so Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson and Pat Brown are all involved.
Although the core of their squad for that tournament will be made up of the players who so memorably won the 50-over World Cup in July, it makes sense to introduce fresh faces now.
Liam Plunkett has been a stalwart for the last few years but he’s 34 now, so fast bowlers Mahmood and Brown in particular have a chance of staking a claim.
England lost their second warm-up match earlier this week, but I wouldn’t read too much into the result. Warm-ups don’t have the same intensity as competitive games, so wait until the first T20 international to pass judgement.
As well as the up-and-coming players, the T20s are a chance for Jonny Bairstow to find form after being dropped from the Test team.
It was a strong call from the selectors to exclude him but it showed the consequences of poor form and I think it comes at a good time.
Playing in all three formats is difficult and a break gives him the opportunity to mentally refresh.
He’s a hard worker and once he’s back at home watching others play it will only make him even hungrier to earn a Test recall.
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