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We’re too reliant on one person, says former England batsman Gooch

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We're too reliant on one person, says former England batsman Gooch
Photo: Reuters

London, Aug 22 (IANS): Former England batsman Graham Gooch believes that England are way too dependent on captain Joe Root to score runs. Though he is confident of Root continuing his run-making spree, Gooch wonders if Root is feeling the pressure just like he felt in his playing days.

“We’re too reliant on the one person. I have had that experience and that’s not a complaint but at certain stages of my career there was a greater responsibility on having to deliver. As a player, you can be in the best form of your life but you can’t deliver all the time and that expectation is not helpful. You need everyone to contribute. When I became captain, it spurred me on for the best period of my career,” said Gooch in an interview to Daily Mail on Sunday.

He added, “But I felt the pressure later on towards the end before I resigned in ’93. I had a good series against Australia, scored two hundreds, but I felt the pressure in that I needed to do well because we had quite a few younger players. You just feel the pressure. Whatever he says, Joe will be feeling the pressure because at the moment he’s 50, 60, 70 per cent of our batting, isn’t he? Can he keep this form going for the rest of the series? Of course he can.”

“He’s a world-class player and he’s performing unbelievably. He can keep it going. But of course, with any performer in any sport there is going to be a fallow period. It’s not possible to keep it going game after game after game,” concluded Gooch.

The 68-year-old, who served as the batting coach of the England team between 2009 and 2014, had some sympathy for the top order which is set for a rejig ahead of the Leeds Test on Wednesday. With Dom Sibley dropped from the squad, Haseeb Hameed is in line to partner with Rory Burns at the top with Dawid Malan at number three on his return to the Test fold after three years.

“Every one of those cricketers works hard, trains hard, prepares themselves. It’s not lack of effort but things like attitude, technical ability, knowledge and concentration all come into play, especially for an opening batsman because one mistake and it’s the end of your day,” said Gooch.

He further said, “All I can say is that you go to some dark places in cricket because it’s an individual sport within a team game. You can over think it a lot. Generally simple is best. You have to have a simple plan and a clear, strong mind to deliver. If you’ve got a confused mind, and I’m not saying they have because I don’t know, but if you’ve got a confused mind you’re in trouble.”

He is supportive of Hameed, who made zero and nine in his comeback Test at Lord’s. “They’ve got to play him for the rest of the series because you don’t bring someone in and leave them out after one game.”

Malan’s selection might have raised some eyebrows. But Gooch finds it to be a good one. “He’s got a technique where he plays the ball late, plays straight. He’s a composed player, he knows his own game, he knows how to score runs, he’s had a bit of success at Test level before. Just because someone has had a go doesn’t mean ‘completely shot and can’t come back.”

Gooch finished by saying that Sir Alastair Cook, who retired from international cricket in 2018, would still get into the current Test team. “He’d still play if he was available, of course he would.”

The third Test between England and India begins at Headingley from Wednesday.

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