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A memorable year for umpire Gough
MICHAEL Gough the cricketer made it to international standard; now the umpire is hitting his straps again on the big stage.
The former Durham and England under-19 opener has been named – for the third year in succession – the Professional Cricketers’ Association umpire of the year.
And, after dipping his toe into international waters in recent years, he is on the path to the Test arena.
Gough was fourth official in the memorable Ashes Test at the Emirates Durham ICG, he was in the middle for the England v Australia T20 game at the same venue, umpired the T20 domestic finals day and is shortly heading to the Middle East for next month’s ICC World T20 qualifiers.
“It’s been a very rewarding year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it,’’ he reflected. “Umpiring an England international at Chester-le-Street was a very proud moment.
“I got to do the T20 finals day again – players want to perform in front of big crowds in the biggest games and umpires are no different.
“It’s a great experience for everyone.
“I did the women’s T20 between England and Australia at the Rose Bowl in Southampton and then it was back home in the North-East for the men’s game.
“Going to the United Arab Emirates is another big reward and one I’m really looking forward to.’’
He added: “Of course it’s everyone’s aim to be on the Test list – it’s the ultimate goal. I’d like to think I’ve still got time on my side, and I could get to that standard and do a good job.
“Players have goals and so do umpires, and just by the same means we have umpires to look up to and respect.’’
There’s every chance Gough will be officiating Scotland in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi next month.
The Scots have Durham skipper Paul Collingwood as part of their coaching team and the former Riverside team-mates paths will undoubtedly cross.
It’s been some year for Durham, with the County Championship in the bag, and Gough said: “It’s been a fantastic year for Durham – it’s great to see them winning the title in the manner they did. Most people had them tipped for relegation, but they’ve gone the other way and been untouchable.
“They deserve every bit of success that’s come their way.’’
Gough’s award was voted for by his fellow umpires and first-class cricketers.
“It was definitely a surprise for me – it’s a bit like a popularity vote, that’s how it’s viewed,’’ he admitted.
“So to be recognised by your fellow professionals is a big honour.
“Respect works both ways and you have to earn it from the players when you are out in the middle.
“It’s about communicating with the players and dealing with them on a good level. Getting on with the players is what it is all about, even educating them to a certain extent.
“When you are stood at square leg it’s good to watch the game and talk to the players, building relationships with them all.
“I like to laugh with them, and operate on a nice level of communication. Most players and teams accept that.’’
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