Farewell to a model professional
There are two types of retired cricketing superstars.
One swaps the heat and tension of the dressing-room for the air-conditioned comfort of the commentary box, glad never to have to face a 90mph bouncer again or bowl another over in 90-degree heat.
The other - while still of potential interest to media employers - wistfully watches future generations of batsmen and bowlers playing the game, wishing they were 10 years younger.
Darren Gough, who finished his Yorkshire career at Scarborough last Saturday, two days after his 38th birthday, will belong firmly in the latter camp.
There may yet be the odd Twenty20 contract, in England or India, to keep Gough active.
But his life as a full-time pro has come to an end - and it's another sad moment after a summer in which we have already bid farewell to two of the finest cricketing servants of their generation in Mushtaq Ahmed and Graeme Hick.
For Gough, the passion that summed up this lionheart of the game burned brightly even late in his career.
When I interviewed him on a cold January morning in 2006, he was furious about being left out of England's one-day squad for India.
The subsequent, protracted failure of the team from that point up to the 2007 World Cup tended to prove Gough right. As he said: "You can't buy bowlers like me at a local superstore - it takes years and years."
But there was something else he said that was just as revealing.
"I still want to be playing some form of cricket when I'm 50. I'm sure some village pub team will have me. So many cricketers retire and say they'll never pick up a bat again. I can never understand that."
Two and a half years later I was sharing a table during a Test at Lord's with the brilliant former South African batsman Barry Richards.
A fellow scribe was desperately trying to entice Richards into appearing for a Media XI to take on the MCC, but he was having none of it.
"When you stop playing," he explained as charmingly as possible, "you never want to pick up a bat again."
Not for one second would I want to suggest that Richards was a less dedicated cricketer than Gough.
But the Yorkshireman always put so much into the game, and got so much enjoyment from the success it has brought him, that a stark divorce from cricket is something that is hard for him to stomach.
Apart from a brief sojourn late in his career at Essex, Goughie was as loyal a servant of Yorkshire as the county could wish for - even if performances were inevitably curtailed by injuries and international commitments.
But most cricket fans will know him principally for his performances in an England shirt, where he was a notable exception to a generation of cricketers who often rather shrivelled in the spotlight.
Around the time Gough came into the England side in the mid-1990s, the national team was a national joke.
Players were called up and dumped at will, but amid all the uncertainty - and at times dwindling morale - the fans often reserved their biggest cheers for the young lad from Barnsley with an appetite for the big occasion.
His hat-trick in an Ashes Test at Sydney in January 1999 - a rare sliver of success during a barren decade for England against the Aussies - was followed by his golden period.
Under the guidance of Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher, Gough featured in the four series wins in a row between 2000 and 2001. He was Man of the Series at home to West Indies and, incredibly, on the ultra-slow wickets of Sri Lanka which often fill pacemen with dread.
But that epitomised Goughie, for whom there was never a wicket too flat, nor a situation too hopeless. He was about as close to a model professional as a captain could want.