Darren Gough (PA)

Whitewash poses serious questions over preparation, selection and mindsets.

By SportUK 27/10/2011 20:33

First of all can I just say I've been a little disturbed watching India v England ODI series by the level of abuse dished out by both sides, totally overstepping the mark of the spirit of the game. The authorities need to step in now and clamp down on it or we will end up becoming like football - forever surrounded by controversy on the field of play.

One of the most glaring examples was that even after India produced a 5-0 whitewash, whenthe teams were shaking hands there were obviously words said between Jadeja and Bell. This so upset some of the England players that they charged after him; There's no need boys. It's a game of cricket. And India, you totally outplayed England - isn't that enough?

India celebrate the dismissal of Ian Bell in the final ODI

On this tour of India some serious questions need to be asked! But history suggests the whole thing may just be brushed under the carpet. We lost 6-1 v Australia and that's now twice we've been whitewashed 5-0 v India in India. England have a habit of playing poor cricket in alien conditions. Our players don't seem to adapt quickly enough. This is a weakness we need to address quickly as it just keeps happening. I know now in Dubai they have a centre that's got wickets prepared from all corners of the world we should start sending our junior players there as there's nothing better than practice and practice and practice.


Players and selectors must ask themselves questions.

By SportUK 19/10/2011 11:30

England are all set for the biggest wake up call of their short careers. After making India look second rate on bowler friendly wickets in England during the summer they've have a massive shock in the last week.

What the Indian fans want to see.Duncan Fletcher has begun his dismantling of the Old Guard: no Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Harbhajan, Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan - in come hungry determined athletic cricketers who on home soil have an air of confidence which makes them extremely hard to beat.


The 12th man for India has been their fanatical support. Even after being embarrassed by England in our summer they keep believing in their national treasures. This is what Indians live for, a successful cricket team who play with desire and passion.


So far this tour, outside of English conditions it's taught us that we still struggle to adapt to one day cricket overseas. We definitely miss Anderson and Broad who help complete the attack with Bresnan. As I've said before, at this level Bresnan is just not a leader.


But the bowlers we do have are not helping themselves. Our seamers are now bowling on benign pitches which offer very little assistance or pace so why bowl bouncer after bouncer ?


That might work in England but you have to adapt. In India our bowlers should be aiming just backward of a length, looking to hit the splice of the cricket bat. They need to vary their speed and watch the batsman for the slightest of movement around the crease.

If that's not clear enough they can just watch exactly what the Indian are doing and take a lesson.

However, it's not just the bowlers who are struggling. Too often our batsman are getting in getting a breezy 30 or 40 then giving it away. So what do we do?


The RFU shouldn't panic, West Ham need to worry but it's cool between me and Graeme.

By SportUK 13/10/2011 10:00

Sport never loses its ability to surprise. Look at this week with:


  • Revelations around England's rugby team 
  • Serialisation of Graeme Swann's autobiography
  • The government calling time on West Ham's hopes of owning the Olympic stadium
  • England's cricket team finding a new star
  • Oh and let's not forget the stupidity and immaturity of England's best footballer Wayne Rooney

Let's start with the rugby!


England players return from the World CupWhat's happened to people in the real world where they honestly believe that England players having a night on the tiles in New Zealand was the reason why we were so poor in the game against France? Get real, please. After been a sportsman myself who's been to World Cups and been on long tours I can honestly say there comes a time when boys need to be boys, let their hair down and have fun!

It does bring players closer together. If there's any tensions between individuals, after a drink the truth comes out as people relax and say it how it is. This can only be of benefit to the team, to get things out into the open.

It was a good week before a game and after three months preparation and serious hard grafting. Let's not become a nation of goody two shoes who deny our elite sportsman a drink or two now and again.

What I am on the side of the British people is the lack of discipline at other times on the tour and that showed in our disorganized performance; individuals going too far to be popular and funny.The simple solution though was the French were better on that day but I do believe seven out of ten times we would have beat that French team.

Where do we go now? Can rugby follow the pattern of cricket and put in a sensible long-term plan to reach the No 1 spot? 

As usual rob Andrew is in charge of the review, just as he was after the 2007 World Cup! Slightly bizarre I know but my opinion is Martin Johnson stays in charge and takes us onto the next tournament in four years time. Look at Clive Woodward in 1998: 76-0 loss to the Wallabies followed by getting knocked out of the '99 World Cup by South Africa 44-21 yet we kept him and in 2003 we held aloft the trophy. Take note the RFU.


Modern generation don't need to be as resourceful as before.

By SportUK 04/10/2011 14:56

October has arrived with record temperatures to match our record summer of cricket where we've seen our cricket heroes reach the dizzy heights of world number one team. There's not much respite though as our cricket elite and a few from the next generation have departed to India in their crisp new designer suits - how times have changed from my day!!

Back in the dayIn the normal world of cricket times have also changed too. No longer are cricketers required to go and find alternative employment - they now receive 12 month contracts where they spend the winter months training and working on their game. For the younger pros there's an opportunity to go and grow up and work out what life is about in another part of the world. Australia, New Zealand or South Africa tend to be the chosen destination, surprise surprise.


I remember myself when I was nineteen being packed off to Christchurch, New Zealand where I played for east Shirley boys. Mum and Dad dropping me off at the airport wishing me luck!  Suddenly from been pampered as a youngster living with his parents I was given a three bedroom house, a car and a job coaching prisoners in the local nick and of course the local school. Thankfully I was joined by a good friend Dominic Cork after three weeks because after having been promised the earth he ended up living with a local family and given a pushbike to get around.  So I managed to get him to join my team where we grew up together eating baked potato sandwiches,beans on toast and KFC for the first few months before we realized we had to learn to cook and wash clothes as we had no parents to do it for us.


Overall a great experience which enabled me to bring some responsibility to my pampered youth.

It didn't finish there as what I called the deciding moment in my career was 12 months later on was working on the M62 in Yorkshire starting at 7am and finishing at 4pm in Everest conditions; putting cones out and signs, drilling and cleaning the hard shoulder of the busiest road in the north.

And that was by no means the strangest job that the cricketers of my day took on to make ends meet. Nadim Shahid and Ed Giddens sold Christmas trees; Billy Taylor went for tree surgery and falconry; Micheal Brown took on stockbroking; Matt Windows spread betting; Jason Ratcliffe worked in the marketing dept at Birmingham City and Tim Munton and Martin McCague both found jobs in the brewing industry.
A few more were teachers. Oh the glamour of cricket and how times have changed!


Things have changedBut it's very different for me too now as I have the opportunity now and then to try to put something back (and when I'm lucky have a bit of fun into the bargain). My main achievement this week was to become the Innagrual Caudwell Children gold champion - well top celebrity - at the Carrick Loch Lomond where we managed to raise some good money to help kids with disabilities.

And I've also signed up with www.tescodiets.com 1lb for £1 promotion to raise £100,000 for Diabetes UK and Diabetes Ireland, so check out the website if you want to join in. It's basically a healthy eating plan given to you by nutrition experts to fit into your personal needs and raise money for diabetes - every pound you lose Tesco diets will donate £1


Nothing game couldn't overshadow summer of sport but will do England no good at all.

By SportUK 27/09/2011 09:06

The end of the summer season has come,and what an embarrassing way for it to end with a defeat against a poor, young West Indian XI. I don't want to take anything away from our terrific performances against India but come on we're better than that aren't we?

After a long summer of cricket where England were successful the last thing the team probably needed was another Test match. But that's not what they had!


Samit Patel is run outInstead they played two T20 matches in front of packed houses and paying customers who, if we're totally honest, were robbed. They paid good money to watch two under strength teams competing (if I can use that word) on a poor pitch with too much turn. Meantime, most of England's contracted squad were off booking their holidays.


After a massive summer for cricket, here is a team that could give the No 1 Test nation a decent match.

By SportUK 16/09/2011 11:04

Well what an interesting week of cricket we've just encountered: England announcing their fifth captain of the summer in Graeme Swann; Jonathan Trott Cricketer of the Year and Alastair Cook taking Test Cricketer of the Year at the overrated ICC awards.

More interestingly, remember my article at the beginning of the week asking England to take the next generation of cricketers to India !well they've done it already with a weakened squad to play West Indies in two T20 matches to finish of a great summer of English cricket.


Jonathan Bairstow: mixed week To top the week off Yorkshire are relegated from Division 1 of the County Championship - but can you believe it, when you think it can't get any worse, Lancashire go and win the County Championship for the first time in 77 years. But I was one of the first to congratulate them on my daily Drive Time show on Talksport much to the abuse of Yorkshire fans. lol.

On Yorkshire a huge congratulations goes to Jonathan Bairstow (pictured) on been called up to England's last one-day international squad and following T20 squad to play the Windies. I was lucky enough to play with his father David for Yorkshire - a great guy who helped me so much in the early days. Let's hope he's looking down on Jonathan with great pride as this call up will mean so much to his mum who's put so much work and love in enabling Jonny to fulfill this dream.

Finally, with England so dominant in becoming the No 1 Test nation this summer, I thought I'd try to pick a team for a one off match who beat this current England team in English conditions. That is definitely not an easy task!


I've gone for pace with the ball where I think our batsman have not been fully tested and with the bat I've opted gone for technique and gutsy, passionate players. So here we go. 


C Gayle, West Indies

S Watson, Australia

J Kallis, South Africa

R Ponting, Australia

R Dravid, India

M Hussey, Australia

K Sangakkara, Sri Lanka

D Vettori, New Zealand 

M Morkel, South Africa

D Steyn, South Africa

R Harris, Australia


Your name's not up there, Sachin

Of course there's plenty of others who were close like Amla, Tendulkar (left(out)), Dilshan, Sehwag, AB de Villiers, then Z Khan and M Johnson.


Emerging players need a chance to learn so England can stay at No 1

By SportUK 12/09/2011 13:03

After a summer of total domination against India, how's the future of English cricket looking? We've seen if you hang on to your players and their success for too long you end up dropping down the pile, as Australia have and India are in danger of doing.


Alastair CookMy personal view is this one day tour to India in October should be made up of our next generation of young cricketers to give them the experience of Indian conditions so we're ready for it in the future, as it can be hard for a cricketer to adjust to conditions. Most of this present team have played enough cricket to excel in those conditions and we've obviously taught India a lesson they might find hard to recover from. Our cricketers have had non-stop cricket for a few years now with some difficult tours ahead, missing a three week tour will do them the world of good, keeping them feeling fresh for the Pakistan series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, followed by a trip to Sri Lanka.


Here we go:

- A Cook (Essex)

- C Keiswetter (Somerset)

- A Hales (Notts)

- Buttler (Somerset)

- B Stokes (Durham)

- Bairstow (Yorkshire)

- Taylor (Leicester)

- Woakes (Warwick)

- Meaker (Surrey)

- Dernbach (Surrey)

- Finn (Middlesex)

- T Maynard (Surrey)

- Kerrigan or Briggs (Lanc/ Hampshire)

- M Chambers (Sussex)

- Borthwick (Durham)

Take for the ride:

- Luke Wells (Sussex)

- Topley (Essex)

- J Root (Yorks)

- Ashraf (Yorks)

- Balcombe (Hampshire currently on loand to Kent)

Coach, A Giles

Ball Coach, G Welch

Batting Coach, G Thorpe


I've kept in Cook who I feel needs to lead a side in India,  Keiswetter who's a one day specialist at the moment and Dernbach who's not yet the finished article.


What I've enjoyed this Summer is, having two teenage sons of 16 and 13, I've got to watch plenty of representative county cricket in tournaments playing 40 overs per side, including an U13s tour of Sussex and U16s tour of Jersey.


I've seen some good cricket from the youth of today which satisfies me that English cricket should continue to excel, the only worry looking down the line is lack of fast bowlers, who are few and far between.

So far the two I've seen with huge potential, Topley from Essex and Oliver Stone from Northants…but we need more!


English cricket should be grateful clubs can't buy and sell titles.

By SportUK 03/09/2011 08:17

The transfer window finally closes with a ridiculous figure of over £490m spent by our Premier League teams.


Sergio Aguero says he loves ManchesterIn times of hardship and recession for most of us, the top spenders have been of course the mega rich Arabs of Manchester City forking-out £78m, with a whopping £35m on Sergio Aguero from Atletico Madrid.


And let’s not forget the billionaire Russain Roman Abramovich of Chelsea, who was not far behind at £77m, with his top signing being Juan Mata at £26m.


The contrast between football and cricket is never more obvious than when the frenzy of the transfer window overshadows the half-empty grounds where the conclusion of the county championship is taking place.

If cricket was just 20/20 you might imagine it could begin to inspire the same kind of passion and commitment of fans that lures the big money-men to open their wallets - like they do at the annual IPL auctions where millions are spent like monopoly money. But that’s not how it is in England. We love Test matches and so we need to bring players through the four day game. That’s just a fact, and for me how it should be.

No doubt cricketers will envy the pay packets of footballers, and a part of every county fan would love to see millions poured into assembling a squad of glacticos.


But should sporting titles effectively be “sold” to the highest bidder?


My personal feeling about all this is that football’s gone absolutely crazy. No longer are clubs owned your friendly, local, successful businessmen.


The Premier League is becoming a playground of very rich men from all parts of the world - spreading their power and feeding  their personal egos.


Fans are now singing owners names from the terraces, rather than the players, who are supposed to be the reason why we pay our season ticket prices in the first place.


Not all football supporters are praying for the next rich sugar daddy to take over their team and make it successful. Some of us are happy with supporting local team.


Ps Even while some of us disagree with the way football’s finances work, it doesn’t mean we’re not interested in what happens, I’m just hoping the game doesn’t become a two horse race like in Spain or Scotland.

Matt Holland’s picked out his five best bargains of the summer sales in his blog, but the new signings I’m most looking forward to seeing are Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Sergio Aguero.

  • Darren GoughDarren Gough

    Former England strike bowler and Yorkshire captain Goughie talks all things cricket and occasionally shows off his knowledge of other sports...

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