06 December 2021

Darren Gough returns to Yorkshire as managing director of cricket club at centre of racism storm

06 December 2021

Yorkshire have confirmed the interim appointment of Darren Gough as the county’s new managing director of cricket.

The former England paceman is initially in post until the end of the 2022 season, Yorkshire said. His appointment comes at a time of huge turbulence for the county.

Their handling of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism and harassment were widely criticised and led to chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur standing down.

On Friday, 16 members of the coaching and medical staff were dismissed, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Gough had two playing spells with the White Rose, captaining them in his second.

Gough said: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club has been part of my life since my earliest days in cricket when I made my debut in 1989, and I spent 15 happy years at the club. Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger.

“I want to play my part in rebuilding cricket in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to working with the exceptionally talented group of players here.

“I am also aware of my wider responsibility to listen to everyone and ensure that every person who is associated with this club feels welcome, instilling values we want associated with the White Rose: honesty, straight talking, hard work, integrity and excellence.”

Gough enjoyed great success at Yorkshire and was part of the team which won the County Championship in 2001.

After a spell with Essex, he returned to Yorkshire as captain for the 2007 and 2008 seasons before retiring.

He made 58 Test appearances for England and is the 12th-highest Test wicket-taker in national team history with 229 wickets.

He took a further 234 wickets in one-day cricket, becoming the first Englishman to pass the 200-mark in the limited-overs format.

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel said: “We are delighted to welcome Darren back to the club, and are very happy that he has taken the job.

“As a former captain of the club, Darren’s impact on the Yorkshire and England teams was considerable as a player. His infectious enthusiasm and will to win will be so important as we aim to be the best on and off the pitch.

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel hopes Gough’s appointment can help the county become the best on and off the pitch (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

“As we start on this journey with Darren, we want to engage everyone at the club and involve as many people as possible in shaping our direction. We have a considerable job ahead of us, but we are ready to embrace the opportunity together and build a brighter future for Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Gough added: “I share Lord Patel’s vision for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and the collective determination to face the issues head on with a series of positive actions. Change will not happen overnight, but I am certain that we can make Headingley roar again.”

Yorkshire batter and England captain Joe Root had already given Gough’s appointment his seal of approval.

Speaking in Australia before the news was confirmed, Root said: “He’s a good man and I’m sure he’ll be looking to put his stamp on things at the club.

“From my experience of spending time with Goughie, he’s obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about the game. His love for it is clear for everyone to see.

Joe Root welcomed Darren Gough’s return to Yorkshire (Jason O’Brien/PA) (PA Wire)

“I’m sure he’ll want to bring all of that to the fore, all of his experience and achievements in the game and pass them on to the group if he is the man to take over.”

Gough has been out of the game since his retirement in 2008 but took a short-term mentoring role with England’s seamers on tour in New Zealand two years ago and was enthused by the experience.

He has worked as a presenter on talkSPORT too, though his media duties have now ended, Yorkshire said.

Crucially, he is also highly regarded by Rafiq and was among the first to make contact when his allegations of discrimination at the club became public.

It is understood a move for Essex’s highly-rated head coach Anthony McGrath, a former Yorkshire captain, would be high on Gough’s agenda.

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