Darren Gough – Review of 2018 and why ‘safe hands’ Ashley Giles is right man for England

MAGIC MOMENTS: Just some of the sporting highlights from 2018 for our columnist Darren Gough.
MAGIC MOMENTS: Just some of the sporting highlights from 2018 for our columnist Darren Gough.
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ENGLAND’S new director of cricket Ashley Giles will certainly have a couple of big appointments to make in terms of the next one-day coach and Test coach if the ECB are going to go for two separate roles.

That is his biggest job in the first six months in terms of who he picks and that will define him. Will he go for one or two coaches?

The atmosphere at that moment in time was the best I have ever felt at a football match with the noise and belief in every English fan at that stadium who thought we were going to get to the final.

Darren Gough, reflecting on England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia

My feeling is that he will go for a one-day coach and a Test coach. I think it is all about two different roles these days.

Personally, I would also brighten up the bowling coaching department. I would have different roles – with separate Test and one-day bowling coaches. It would keep it fresh and the energy high when England go on tour rather than having the same people there for a long period of time.

Regarding Giles’s appointment, I think everybody knew he would be the choice that the ECB would go for and it is a good pick. He is a safe pair of hands.

It will be a big few years coming up with the introduction of the 100-ball competition and making sure that takes off smoothly and England staying at No 1 in the one-day game.

As a bloke, he does have a great sense of humour, but is quite sensible and switched on, too. He lives for the game and has been around two big counties in Lancashire and Warwickshire in a similar role for a few years. He has put in the hard work.

Looking at his career, he was not a great player as such, but always a part of the team and that is what the ECB will have wanted.

It is great news that Jonny Bairstow has finally got a ‘gig’ in the IPL – he is one of the first players who I would have signed.

It is a cut-price £240,000 gig with Sunrisers Hyderabad and after taking out of taxes and what he must give England for playing in it and other things, he will basically be doing it to get his name on the roster of the IPL.

But he now has a chance in the biggest T20 tournament in the world to shine. He is a fantastic player and if I was one of the coaches, I would be looking to sign people like him.

Look at that T10 innings where he went in and smashed it everywhere.

I was surprised only five English players were sold in the Jaipur auction and people like Chris Woakes, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood and Jason Roy all missed out.

Two English lads who have a chance are Harry Gurney, who went for £80,000, and Liam Livingstone, who went for £50,000. These guys will be sort of losing money as they have to pay back their counties.

I am pleased for Sam Curran. He played against my son many years ago and he is now a 20-year-old who has just signed a contract for over a million dollars to play for Kings XI Punjab. It is great news for his development.

The old year is now drawing to a close and looking at 2018 as a sporting year, there have been some real highlights.

It was a ‘nearly’ year for England in the World Cup and having been in Moscow for the semi-final with Croatia and seeing Kieran Trippier’s free-kick give us the lead, it was just brilliant. The atmosphere at that moment in time was the best I have ever felt at a football match with the noise and belief in every English fan at that stadium who thought we were going to get to the final.

It was not to be, but for that five minutes, it was amazing.

For the English public, the other moment was beating Colombia on penalties. We thought it would be the usual outcome, but when Eric Dier scored that vital penalty, it was unbelievable.

Onto cricket and who can forget Alastair Cook becoming England’s leading all-time runs scorer and now he is being tipped to be knighted and how he would deserve it. His 33th Test century in his last innings was a superb moment.

Who can also forget the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National and Europe recovering after being 3-1 down to the US after the first morning? We thought we were going to get battered.

But Team Europe showed that a team is more important than any individual and what a comeback to rinse the Americans with the partnership of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari being brilliant to watch.

Not forgetting Lewis Hamilton’s claiming a fifth World title in Formula 1, too.

Then there was Tiger Woods’s first golf victory in five years – after being ranked 1,199 in the world.

Tyson Fury getting up when all seemed lost against Deontay Wilder was another huge moment this year and something that will be talked about for years to come.

A huge congratulations to the England women’s netball team winning their first gold at the Commonwealth Games as well. It was a much-deserved triumph.