Forget swinging on pitch, Gough's strictly ballroom

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2005, 12:00am

Darren Gough was supposed to lead England at the Hong Kong Sixes next month. But Gough has pulled out as he has better things to do - ballroom dancing.

'We believed that Gough would be leading England in their title defence at the Sixes. I don't know why he pulled out,' said a perplexed Clive Howard, Hong Kong Cricket Association chairman.

But reports from England say that Gough will be swapping his boots for dancing shoes to take part in the popular BBC television show Strictly Come Dancing, which feature celebrity contestants who will have to learn new dance routines each week and then survive a public vote.

The new series will commence on October 15, one week before the Hong Kong Sixes. According to the BBC, Gough will attempt to switch from king of seam to dancing star while being partnered by Russian dancer Lilia Kopylova.

The attractions of the Cha-Cha-Cha and the Foxtrot have obviously been too much for the 35-year-old pace bowler who had initially indicated that he wanted to play in the Hong Kong Sixes. Gough, who hopes to play in the 2007 World Cup, had made himself unavailable for England's one-day series against Pakistan later this year.

Gough is not contracted to England any more and he cannot be prevented from taking part in the BBC show. But his move had even caught England's chairman of selectors David Graveney by surprise. Graveney, who is once again manager of the England team at the Sixes, said he had known nothing of Gough's intentions until alerted last Sunday.

'I didn't know anything about it. It's his choice,' said Graveney. 'As for his dancing, I've no idea what's he like.'

Robert Croft will now captain England as they bid to win a hat-trick of Cup titles. Joining Croft in a seven-strong squad brimming with experience and talent will be three members of last year's victorious team - Kabir Ali, Darren Maddy and Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Completing the power-packed line-up are paceman Alex Wharf, a one-day international player, and Dominic Cork and Chris Read, both of whom have represented England in test matches.