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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Darren Gough slams England 'favouritism'

Darren Gough, the top wicket-taker for England in one-day internationals, says selection favouritism is hampering the national team in limited overs cricket.

England have suffered three heavy defeats this month and Gough told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek the wrong players were being picked.

He said: "I've seen some terrific players in county cricket.

"We won the Hong Kong Sixes with Graham Napier, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Tim Bresnan - they deserve a chance."

The former Yorkshire star, who retired at the end of last season, went on: "We kind of have favouritism in selection.

"England have got potential but we seem to ignore players who, for me, are definite starters in one-day cricket."


England began the month by being bowled out for 99 and beaten by 10 wickets in the big-money Stanford Super Series final in Antigua.

They were then bundled out for just 98 in a heavy loss against a club side in Mumbai.

Last Friday, their bowlers gave up the most number of runs ever by an England one-day side as India smashed 387-5 in Rajkot to win by 158 runs.

England went with Essex star Ravi Bopara over Luke Wright for the first match of the series, but he batted down at number eight and ran out of partners on 54 not out.

"Ravi's a quality player and should bat higher," said Gough, who took 234 wickets in his 158 one-day internationals.

"If it means Paul Collingwood has to drop down then so be it. Surely the batsman bats above the all-rounder. You can't have Ravi playing in a one-day international and batting at eight, it doesn't make sense.

"He's a quality player, he bats at three for Essex, he gets runs and should bat up the order. I've spoken to Ravi. He's desperate to get that England berth but batting at eight and not bowling?

"Something doesn't seem quite right in the England camp in one-day cricket."

Gough said he sensed problems when England turned up in Antigua for the Stanford Super Series.

"If it means Paul Collingwood has to drop down then so be it. Surely the batsman bats above the all-rounder. You can't have Ravi playing in a one-day international and batting at eight, it doesn't make sense.

"He's a quality player, he bats at three for Essex, he gets runs and should bat up the order. I've spoken to Ravi. He's desperate to get that England berth but batting at eight and not bowling?

"Something doesn't seem quite right in the England camp in one-day cricket."

Gough said he sensed problems when England turned up in Antigua for the Stanford Super Series.

"I got the impression from the moment I got there that England weren't going to perform. England lack something in one-day cricket I can't quite put my finger on.

"When you speak to other sports coaches and captains they say people have to know their roles. I don't think England's one-day side know their roles. Our one-day thinking for years has been behind the eight-ball.

"I played in two World Cups and we never looked like winning - we did well to win a game to be honest."

England coach Peter Moores has been criticised in some quarters for showing too much loyalty to Matt Prior and Wright, who previously played under him for Sussex.

Gough said: "We still don't know our best batting order. Matt Prior's batting at the top of the order but has had a few failures now and his confidence might start to go.

"Luke Wright is a good player for the future, but is he good enough to be in the starting XI?"

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