DUBAI // It is not just Kevin Pietersen who believes he still has "unfinished business" as England captain, following his unceremonious ousting from the role earlier this month. Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler who was the best man at Pietersen's wedding in 2007, reckons he will lead his adopted country again, and could yet become regarded as a great captain.
Gough has always been one of Pietersen's most vocal supporters. He first championed his credentials as a one-day captain when Michael Vaughan resigned the job after a poor 2007 World Cup campaign in the West Indies. The South African-born batsman was still regarded as a wildcard back then, and the job went to a player who was perceived to be the safer option, Paul Collingwood. But Pietersen was handed the chance to unify the captaincy last summer when Vaughan handed in the Test reins, and, simultaneously, Collingwood quit as the one-day leader.
He briefly sparkled in the job, yet lost his position five months later after falling out with the erstwhile head coach, Peter Moores. Amid the muddle, Gough believes England have lost a potentially brilliant leader - albeit perhaps temporarily. Gough, England's leading one-day wicket-taker, said: "He was always going to be risky but I thought he was going to be a great captain, and I still think he could be. He was pressurised into the decision he took, because he didn't do it the way they wanted him to do it.
"We knew what we were getting on board with Pietersen as the captain. He is outspoken, passionate and if he doesn't think something is right he says it. They knew that when they gave him the job, and, for me, they should have stuck by him. "He offered his resignation when he was on the other side of the world, and I thought that was a bad way to go. "I felt sorry for him being on holiday and dealing with the things he had to deal with."
Gough is also close friends with Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison. Reports claimed the pair had much to do with hastening Pietersen's departure, but Gough dismissed the idea. "They have played together for a long time now and all know each other," said Gough, 38, who led the attack for the Lord's Taverners in their defeat against Fly Emirates at Sharjah Cricket Stadium at the weekend. email@example.com