Darren Gough ends ‘jobs for the boys’ culture at Yorkshire CCC

The Yorkshire managing director of cricket has filled more vacancies than a Job Center after the club cleared out its entire coaching and backroom team (16 people) following the racism affair.

Yorkshire went through what chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel described as “a rigorous new process to properly mark the skills, experience and expertise” of candidates set against criteria measured by Gough.

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The former England fast bowler was “blown away” by the volume and quality of applicants which saw Ottis Gibson installed as head coach and Kabir Ali and Alastair Maiden named as his assistants.

Darren Gough returns to Headingley Cricket ground as Yorkshire’s interim director of cricket. (Picture: Allan McKenzie / SWPix.com)

“For me, one of the problems in sports in general, especially cricket, is it’s been a bit, ‘Ring your mate up, offer him the job, give me a call on this number, it’s yours,'” said Gough. “But we went through a proper process.

“I had lots of friends texting me, wanting a job. I didn’t ring one person and ask them to apply.

“That was hard, because obviously I wanted to. There are certain people I could imagine being good coaches.

“But I wrote a job description, and if you didn’t have the qualities on that to get past the first sifting stage, to get past the second sifting stage, to get to the interview process, then you didn’t get there, no matter how many Test caps you’ve got. And that’s the way it should be in all employment.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s head coach Ottis Gibson in front of the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley Cricket Ground. (Picture: Allan McKenzie / SWPix.com)

“I really enjoyed that process and it worked out in the end. We had over 80 applicants for the coaching roles, which was amazing in itself, and 200 applicants in total for all the roles. That shows that people still want to come and coach here, or work here. ”

It’s been a challenging few months for Gough – “I’ve probably dealt with more in three months than some of the other cricket directors have dealt with in five years” – but he has enjoyed it all the same.

Now – and almost peculiarly after so much off-field turmoil – the cricket is about to start, with Yorkshire taking on Gloucestershire in the County Championship in Bristol from Thursday.

And while Gibson will run the first XI side of things, Gough is just thrilled to be back in the game.

Lord Kamlesh Patel, Yorkshire County Cricket Club Chairman (Picture: Simon Hulme)

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s been difficult, but it’s great to be back in cricket, a sport I still absolutely love.

“Just being around the lads and coaches, and feeling that energy, it makes you want to get back out there and bowl yourself. I’m just really proud of the people that we’ve put in place, I really am.

“To get Ottis was amazing. I’ve known him from smacking him around Headingley (with the bat). Only kidding, just the once…

“But, in all seriousness, to get him as head coach was the dream ticket.

“He’s a brilliant coach, with great experience all round the world, in all sorts of different conditions. He’s been with England twice, so that was fantastic. Once we got that in place, it started to become easier. ”

Gough had to “think heavily” about accepting the role when Yorkshire came calling. He had a high-profile broadcasting career and knew many of those who had lost their jobs.

“Nobody’s said anything to me (negatively) about that,” he added, referring to those who were dismissed.

“I spoke to a couple of them when I took the role, and I’ve kept in touch with a couple of them since.

“It’s like anything … I was as shocked as anyone when the club sacked 16 people.

“But the club contacted me and wanted me to come back and help rebuild, and it’s great to be back.”

Gough paid tribute to the Yorkshire members, who have seen their club pretty much dismantled brick-by-brick and a new team of builders brought on to site.

It has been a long and painful period that is not over yet – there remains an ongoing England and Wales Cricket Board investigation into Yorkshire’s handling of the crisis, which is likely to charge a number of former / current staff, and various employment tribunal cases going on in the background.

But Gough made it clear: “The last three months, the members have been absolutely superb. They understand that not just Yorkshire, but cricket in general, needs to change. In fact, sport and society needs to change.

“All I can do now is put things in place along with Ottis and the players. It’s about moving forward to make us great again.

“We want to be on the front and back pages for the right reasons.

“We’ve now got an opportunity, with the people we’ve got in place, for other cricket clubs to say, ‘That’s how we want to do it moving forward.’

“It’s sad what happened, and we can’t forget it, but it’s about learning from it now and moving on.”

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