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'Gough's fitness key to Test recall'

Darren Gough will have to prove his fitness in first-class cricket if he is to earn a Test recall, coach Duncan Fletcher said. Gough bowled the team to a victory against Zimbabwe.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, Bristol
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2003 12:23 AM IST

Darren Gough will have to prove his fitness in first-class cricket if he is to earn an England Test recall, coach Duncan Fletcher has said.

Former Zimbabwe captain Fletcher was speaking after Yorkshire quick Gough bowled the team to a triangular series one-day international victory against Zimbabwe here on Sunday.

Gough took four for 26 from nine overs as the Africans were dismissed for just 92 - their lowest one-day international score against England - in a match the hosts won by six wickets to guarantee their place in Saturday's Lord's final against South Africa.

But Gough, 32, has been troubled by a succession of knee injuries which, until England's one-day campaign this season, had sidelined him from international cricket for the best part of a year.

And Fletcher said Gough still had much to do if he was to make it into the team for the first Test against South Africa at Edgbaston starting on July 24.

"The only guy who knows whether he is fit enough for Test cricket is Darren. To bowl 25 overs one day and maybe 15 the next, and stand in the field, is a hell of a lot different to one-day cricket.

"Maybe he will need the test of another four-day game for Yorkshire to see if he can do it.

"We need the experience of a fit Darren Gough in the Test side. We've just got to make sure he is fit enough to be out there for five or six sessions."

Earlier this month England saw Gough's regular Test new-ball partner Andrew Caddick ruled out for the rest of the season with a back injury.

James Anderson, Richard Johnson and Stephen Harmison all had their moments in England's two innings Test wins over Zimbabwe earlier this season but all three are still inexperienced at Test level.

And England could yet find a role for Gough in five-day cricket with South Africa set to field a far stronger batting line-up than Zimbabwe.

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