Darren Gough hints he wants to be the man to lead Yorkshire CCC back to Division One
Yorkshire suffered relegation on the final day of the season after a wretched run of form that saw them lose six of their last eight four-day matches and not record a win since the opening game. Gough was brought in last December as interim managing director of cricket until the end of the 2022 season, following the departure of Martyn Moxon amid the racism scandal.
Although the popular former bowler helped take the club to Finals Day of the T20 Blast for only the third time in 20 years, the club’s membership were left devastated by demotion from Division One.
While echoing those feelings, Gough also hinted that he might be sticking around to try and put it right.
"It has been tough and will take time to recover,” Gough told the club’s website. "My stomach was stirring the whole weekend after and I felt sick. It is gut-wrenching because we have some talented young players.
"The outpouring of comment from disappointed supporters shows the passion for cricket in this county and it is so important that we work hard to regain our Division One status at the earliest possible opportunity.
"A lot of things have gone against us in the year regarding selection and England call-ups. For now, I am remaining positive and working on how we make it right for next year.”
Expanding on why he felt Yorkshire failed, Gough added: "We have to be honest about our cricketing performances: we have struggled to bowl teams out to win games. You could say that the start of the season wasn’t bad – we won the first game and we were drawing games that we weren’t far away from winning.
"Over the season, we haven’t had that bite in the bowling attack to bowl teams out and there was a lack of experience in our batting. Those factors probably cost us in the end.”
Ultimately, though, Gough feels he and head coach Ottis Gibson were hamstrung in their team selection by the unavailability of their England players.
Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, David Willey and Harry Brook were involved with England, while Gibson revealed Joe Root was shut down for the year by the ECB, therefore was unavailable to play in the crucial final games at the end of Yorkshire’s season, when the likes of Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes played for their counties. Root – who was playing golf in Scotland at a high-profile pro-am – has signed a new two-year deal with Yorkshire.
"We all know that when Yorkshire’s squad is at full strength, we have one of the best teams in the country, there are no arguments on that front,” argued Gough. "When you are as successful as we have been as a county over the years, you create these groups of England players. It’s something that’s happened going back to before my playing days.
"This year, England’s fixture list has been off the scale as it has been catching up following the effects of Covid, with Test Matches and ODIs happening at the same time. The result is we’ve found we’re not just missing one or two players, but five or six at a time. When you are missing six players through England, this becomes very hard to control. We have had to manage that throughout the season.”