Gooch arrival cheers Flower
England team director Andy Flower has welcomed the arrival of Graham Gooch as batting coach on the tour of South Africa - and hopes to work with him more in the future.
Former England opener Gooch, currently Essex’s batting coach, has been recruited to lend a hand ahead of the forthcoming Test series.
He remains England’s record run-scorer in Test cricket, having amassed 8,900 runs at an average of 42.58 in 118 matches during a 20-year career at the highest level.
Flower boasts a fine pedigree himself - his 4,794 Test runs at 51.54 cannot be bettered by a Zimbabwean - but he admitted he requires extra support on the coaching front.
“In my present role I’m not finding the time to work one on one with players like I used to, so I need some help in that regard,” said Flower, who worked with Gooch during his playing days at Essex.
“I couldn’t ask for a better bloke to come in and help with the batting than Goochie.
“I know him very well from Essex and I rate him very highly as a coach, as a man, a cricketer - and I was very, very happy that when I asked him to join us he was dead keen.”
Gooch captained England in 34 Tests and filled the role of coach and selector after his glittering playing career finished.
Currently based with the England Performance Programme in Pretoria, he is set to join the senior squad coaching staff ahead of the Test leg of the tour. He will remain until the end of the first Test at Centurion, which is due to finish on December 20.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for him,” added Flower. “He will bring a lot of experience, a lot of expertise, competitive spirit and patriotism.
“He’ll be a great guy to have around. But he’s quite a busy guy with other commitments, and I don’t think we could get him full time.”
Flower has no doubt that 56-year-old Gooch will be able to relate to his young charges both in the nets and away from them.
“Graham Gooch could have played in this era of attacking batsmen very easily,” he said. “From my knowledge of him as a bloke and a coach, he’ll fit in absolutely perfectly - and there’s no age barrier there at all.”