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Alastair Cook pays tribute to sacked England batting coach Graham Gooch

Alastair Cook (left) and Graham Gooch in happier times © Getty Images
Alastair Cook (left) and Graham Gooch have known each other from the time the England captain was a youngster at Essex © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London; May 1, 2014

Alastair Cook said he wanted to continue working with Graham Gooch despite playing a key role in axing his mentor from the post of England batting coach.

Earlier, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that Gooch had become a backroom casualty of the new England era under returning head coach Peter Moores.

In an ECB statement Gooch said England captain Cook, who he has known since the left-hander was making his way at Essex, “had informed me he was in favour of change”.

However, Cook — like Gooch an opening batsman, said he still intended to work with the 60-year-old former England captain and said he hoped that would be true for other England players too.

“Firstly we need to thank Goochy, he’s been an absolute legend not only for my game but all of our games over the last five years,” Cook told Sky Sports News.

“We all hold him in such high regard, I have a huge amount of respect for him and what he’s done for English cricket over a huge amount of time, not only as a player but as a coach.

“For me, to still have him in my corner, go back to him, talk cricket, work on my game like I’ve always done. But we need to thank him for his hard work.

“To be part of that decision made it a little bit tougher but we decided we needed to freshen things up. He’s still going to be involved behind the scenes, just not so much on matchdays and during the squad.

“A lot of the players have a great relationship with him, on a one-to-one basis as well, not just me. I hope those guys will feel free to go and work with Goochy because we all know the work he does is outstanding.”

Gooch’s departure came with England having failed to make the benchmark total of 400 in a Test innings since March 2013 — a central factor in their recent 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.

The scorer of an England record 8,900 runs in 118 Tests, including 20 hundreds, at an average of 42.58, Essex great Gooch began working as a part-time batting consultant in November 2009 before taking on a full-time role in 2012.

Last year, he handed one-day batting coach duties to Graham Thorpe — a significantly younger ex-England batsman and now the 44-year-old former Surrey left-hander could succeed him when it comes to working with the Test side, although the ECB have yet to make an announcement regarding Gooch’s replacement.

In the ECB statement Gooch said that while he regarded his exit as “sad news” he respected the right of the new management team to make changes.

He added,”In my opinion Alastair is the right man to captain England, he commands respect and will always put his body on the line for his country.

“He will face many challenges and have many more tough decisions to make before his journey ends. Over the last decade or so he has been the ultimate professional to work with and it has been an honour to see him develop.”

Meanwhile Kevin Pietersen, recently sent into England exile by Downton and Cook, responded to Gooch’s exit by tweeting, “Where do I apply for ENG batting coach job? I promise I won’t encourage whistling when you get out or trying to change the game!”

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