Dazzler not done yet
Darren Gough told Sky Sports that he is hoping to lead Yorkshire to glory in his final season.
Last Updated: 29/05/08 11:03am
Darren Gough's announcement that this will be his last season means English cricket is set to lose one of its modern greats.
The Yorkshire captain will hang up his boots at the end of the 2008 domestic season following a career that has seen him become an international star both on the cricket field and the dance floor.
But all good things must come to an end and at 37 the seamer has decided enough is enough, partly due to his wearing body being unable to take the demands of the constant grind of the county circuit.
Speaking before the start of the Roses battle with Lancashire in the Friends Provident Trophy, the Barnsley-born bowler also stated a desire to spend more time with his children before it was too late.
"It's been a long time, but I think it is time to go out," Gough told Sky Sports. "I want to go now while my body is still in one piece.
"I'm playing well at the minute and I've done well in the one-day stuff, but it's getting harder and harder in the four-dayers to go back for those third and fourth spells, and then to go out for the second innings.
"It's the strain of the four-dayers and generally just being away all the time. I've got a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old now and they are both playing cricket.
"They love the game and I want to watch them play before they finish, because when they get to 16 or 17 they might not make it as cricketers.
"A lot of time will be spent with my children. There are temptations out there to go and play cricket somewhere else but I don't think that is going to happen.
"I'm lucky that I've played in some great teams and got some great friends, but it's the next chapter now."
Despite playing 58 Tests, 159 one-day internationals and claiming more than 800 first-class wickets, Gough has no intention of going out quietly.
A one-day final is now a major target with the Tykes, who he returned to captain in January 2004 after a highly successful stint with Essex.
"Ideally to actually win something," he admitted. "It's proving difficult at the minute - we're doing well to get 11 on the field!
"The opportunity to come back here and captain them, finish my career where I started, I'm just really glad that I have done it.
"I came here to try and do a job, to get some spirit in the camp and to try and bring the youngsters on.
"I'd like to think I've done a decent job of that along with Martyn (Moxon) and I'd like to think we can stay in Division One of the Championship.
"I'd also like to perform better in the one-dayers, to win one of those, or get to the final, would be great."
Asked about his career highlights, Gough's sense of humour, which is almost as well known as his ability to bowl an inswinging yorker, came to the fore when he quipped; "The lunches at Oakham were magnificent!"
In between the jokes he did point to the series triumphs away in Pakistan and Sri Lanka back in 2000-2001 as two amazing moments during his illustrious career with England.
"Obviously every time I went to Australia I enjoyed it. It brought out the best in me playing over there and trying to show them how good a player I was," Gough continued.
"I think the England side that won in Pakistan and Sri Lanka was a magnificent effort and I really enjoyed those two tours, the team spirit and everything about it.
"That, for me, was the time when things with England changed and the players started to believe in themselves. Along with (coach ) Duncan Fletcher we got a good spirit going and thought we could beat anyone, until we played Australia and got beaten!
"Beating the West Indies when they came over, and I got (Brian) Lara out a few times, was also a big highlight."
But what about the low points? Injuries have certainly hampered Gough; in particular a niggling knee problem that he feels cut him down in his prime.
"I think the low point was getting struck down by the injury during what was probably the prime of my career," he added.
"I'd been the player of the series in three out of the last four and then got struck down by my knee problems. It was not like a break, a break can heal and heal stronger.
"When you have cartilage problems they take something out of your knee. It took me down at the peak of my career as a Test bowler."