Darren Gough has been appointed to a short-term role as bowling consultant during England’s tour of New Zealand.
Gough, the former England fast bowler, is ECB Level 3 qualified but does not hold much of a track record as coach – he has pursued a career as a radio presenter since his playing career ended – but has vast experience as a player and is an old friend and team-mate of England’s new head coach, Chris Silverwood.
England are currently without a bowling coach after Silverwood was promoted out of the role. While he is currently combining the roles on England’s tour of New Zealand, it appears England will look to make a series of interim appointments before deciding on a long-term replacement.
Gough will fly out to join the tour this weekend, where he will be working with the Test squad in the build-up to the two-match series, which starts at Mount Maunganui on November 21.
“I’m delighted to have Darren on board,” said Silverwood. “I have known him a long time and his vast knowledge and experience at international level will drive our bowling unit forward leading into the two-match Test series. He will be excellent around the group and will settle in quickly.”
Gough added: “It is a tremendous honour to be asked by Chris Silverwood and Ashley Giles to be involved in this elite environment. I very much look forward to working with all the bowlers and helping them improve.
“I will gain a lot from the experience and to work at this level will do benefit me as a coach for the long-term. I can’t wait to get cracking.”
Kevin Shine, previously the ECB’s lead bowling coach, might have been expected to fill the vacuum but has recently left the ECB. A full-time replacement may not be appointed until the start of the next English season.
While the news is a surprise – Gough certainly represents a departure from recent coaching appointments – there is some logic behind it. With the tour lasting little more than three weeks, there is unlikely to be scope for much technical intervention. Instead, Gough will be able to share his experience and advice safe in the knowledge that his record – he remains England’s 12th highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, with a bowling average lower than Sir Ian Botham or Stuart Broad – demands the respect of the players.
“Giles and Silverwood approached me over the last month or so,” Gough told listeners of his Drive show talkSPORT. “Chris wants me by his side. He trusts me. That’s important when you start a new job. He wants fresh input. I’m not someone who has been around the coaching scene for years saying the same old things. I’m a fresh voice.
“I’ve seen coaches in the past come in and feel they have to do something straight away. ‘Change this, change that’. The best thing is to do to start with is to watch. You don’t want to be bothering these players too much about technique. They know their game inside out.
“But if the players come to you and ask a question, you give an honest answer. It’s mainly about picking game plans, working batsmen out and getting them in the right frame of mind and helping them with my experience of playing in New Zealand.
“It’s only a consultancy basis. I don’t think it’s for me full-time. Drive is the thing I love doing. This is my job. I’m still working in the media and, come Boxing Day, I’ll be commentating on the side. It can’t be something that happens too often in sport. I consider it a huge honour.”
Gough played 58 Tests, 159 ODIs (only James Anderson has more ODI wickets for England) and two T20Is combining an indefatigable attitude with an ability to swing the ball – including the kookaburra ball – both by conventional and reverse means. He is not thought likely to be a candidate for the role on a long-term basis as it would force him to abandon his successful career in the media. talkSPORT are the official broadcasters for England’s South Africa tour later this winter, where Gough will be a lead summariser, but BBC Test Match Special have the rights for the New Zealand tour.
He has had some previous experience of working with England squads, having donned an England tracksuit to work with the Test team ahead of the Headingley Test against West Indies in 2017. He also advised the Under-19 squad during their series against India earlier that summer.