T20 World Cup: England urged to land pre-Ashes blow on Australia by Darren Gough


Let’s land the first blow! Darren Gough says England can gain a crucial edge ahead of this winter’s Ashes by beating Australia in T20 World Cup clash this weekend with Eoin Morgan’s side in impressive form after two emphatic wins

  • England have started the T20 World Cup with two impressive victories
  • Eoin Morgan’s side have shown why they are considered favourites to win it
  • But they will face a much sterner test against Australia in Dubai on Saturday
  • It’s the first of several meetings between the old rivals in an Ashes winter
  • Former England bowler Darren Gough stressed the importance of an early win
  • He believes it could land a psychological blow ahead of the tour Down Under 


Darren Gough believes it is vital England land the first punch on Australia in this Saturday’s T20 World Cup clash ahead of a titanic Ashes winter.

Eoin Morgan’s team will enter the match in Dubai as favourites and with confidence soaring after resounding wins over West Indies and Bangladesh in their opening two group fixtures.

But England will certainly be underdogs Down Under when the Ashes gets underway in Brisbane on December 8, so landing an early psychological blow could be important.

Chris Woakes celebrates taking a wicket during England's emphatic win over Bangladesh

Chris Woakes celebrates taking a wicket during England’s emphatic win over Bangladesh 

Next up for England is a much tougher test against old rivals Australia in Dubai this Saturday

Next up for England is a much tougher test against old rivals Australia in Dubai this Saturday

Former England fast bowler Darren Gough says it's a great chance to land a blow prior to the Ashes Down Under this winter

Former England fast bowler Darren Gough says it’s a great chance to land a blow prior to the Ashes Down Under this winter

Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are all part of England’s World Cup squad and also heading to Australia.

‘It’s the start of a long winter of England versus Australia so this Saturday’s game is absolutely vital,’ Gough told Sportsmail.

‘It’s a huge game as far as the World Cup goes and as far as the winter goes. Playing against your biggest rival is always the ultimate for a professional sportsman and that game is vital in so many ways.

‘Australia are a very competitive team, Justin Langer is a competitive coach who I’ve played against many, many times.

‘They have some very good players that haven’t quite gelled over the past two or three years and that’s been a bit weird really.

Darren Gough and Harry Judd pictured at the Booking.com T20 Pavilion at Totteridge and Millhillian Cricket Club in north London on Thursday

Darren Gough and Harry Judd pictured at the Booking.com T20 Pavilion at Totteridge and Millhillian Cricket Club in north London on Thursday

Gough enjoyed some great moments against Australia - he is seen celebrating after bowling Matthew Elliott for 199 at Headingley in 1997, part of a five-wicket haul

Gough enjoyed some great moments against Australia – he is seen celebrating after bowling Matthew Elliott for 199 at Headingley in 1997, part of a five-wicket haul 

Gough (left) and Mark Butcher (right) grab stumps after England's win in Melbourne in 2003

Gough (left) and Mark Butcher (right) grab stumps after England’s win in Melbourne in 2003

‘England have gelled no matter who they’ve brought in. England can make change after change after change and it doesn’t affect the way they play.

‘With Australia, it’s been a bit strange watching them because they have so many talented players but finding the right balance has proved very difficult.’

Aaron Finch’s team weren’t entirely convincing in beating South Africa in their tournament opener and don’t carry the same fear factor as England’s aggressive T20 side.

And former fast bowler Gough, who took 229 Test and 235 one-day wickets for England, believes Australia are lagging behind in the 20-over format.

Jason Roy smashes a six as England made light work of beating Bangladesh on Wednesday

Jason Roy smashes a six as England made light work of beating Bangladesh on Wednesday 

Moeen Ali (centre) took two wickets as England's bowlers restricted Bangladesh to just 124

Moeen Ali (centre) took two wickets as England’s bowlers restricted Bangladesh to just 124

‘The way England play under Eoin Morgan, they have looked at the best teams in the world and the way they play, that brand of cricket,’ Gough said at the launch of Booking.com’s luxury T20 Pavilion at Totteridge and Millhillians Cricket Club.

‘Even going back to 1996, the way Sri Lanka were playing, England’s brand is no different to that.

‘It was the education and the belief that England’s players could play that way and when you had the likes of Kevin Pietersen and other guys who played that brand of cricket, it was always going to be easier for England to follow.

‘You look at all England players now and all those coming through, they all play that brand.

‘Australia could play this brand too, they did it 10 years ago, but for some reason they’ve gone off the boil with it.’

Booking.com is the official accommodation booking partner of the ICC T20 World Cup, which runs until November 14.

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