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Gough puts doubts at rest

London: Injured England fast bowler Darren Gough is hoping to regain his fitness in time for next year’s series against South Africa after being told he does not need any further surgery.

The 32-year-old, who has not played a Test match for more than a year and whose long-term knee problems ruled him out of the Ashes tour, was told by an American surgeon that he needs to rest the injury instead of undergoing yet another operation.

“Once you’ve had an operation you need to come back twice as strong as before and previously I’ve never given myself a chance to get fully fit,” the Yorkshire player told Sky Sports on Thursday.

“I perhaps came back earlier than I should have because of all the pressure of having to get back on the field but I’m not going to do that this time round.”

There were fears that the injury could end Gough’s career after he underwent three failed operations.

But a relieved Gough dismissed the claims, saying: “I’m going to be fitter and stronger then before.”

Gough last featured for England in August 2001 and has taken 228 wickets in 56 Tests and also played 111 one-day Internationals.

Gough, who flew out to Australia with England for the five-Test Ashes series but was ruled out of the tour after failing to prove his fitness, also defended underfire captain Nasser Hussain.

England were comprehensively beaten in the first two Tests and pundits are predicting a 5-0 Australian whitewash after Hussain’s troops failed to make an impact in Brisbane and Adelaide.

“I think Nasser is an excellent captain. He would do anything to get me back on the field,” Gough said.

“He’s the best captain I’ve player under. There’s no one in the team who is as good as Nasser and he won’t quit because he’s a great captain.

“We’ve got to take positive out of the first two matches and I believe the team are doing that. We are mentally tough but its just they are more confident at the moment because they are winning.

“They are playing better cricket then anyone’s played before. I think Australia will be favourite to win the next one by a long shot but we might have a chance at the next one in Melbourne.

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