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Test players set for extra practice

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England Cricket managing director Hugh Morris has revealed some members of the Test touring party will travel to Sri Lanka early for extra preparation.

The squad for the two-Test series will be announced immediately at the conclusion of the three Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan, which follow the final one-day international tomorrow.

The main party will fly to the sub-continent on March 10, five days prior to which some players will make the trip with newly-appointed full-time batting coach Graham Gooch among others.

Morris told “We will be sending some of the Test squad to Sri Lanka early, particularly some of those that have not been playing in the last month or so [during the ODI series with Pakistan].

Graham Gooch

Hugh Morris is delighted with Graham Gooch's appointment as full-time batting coach. "To have him is going to be a great boost," he enthused

“They will be working with Graham and one or two of the coaches and support staff at getting acclimatised and preparing on Sri Lankan wickets.

“We are very confident that we are going to be ready for the Test series.”

Gooch, who had been England’s part-time batting consultant since 2009, was given the job on a permanent basis on Saturday, much to the pleasure of Morris.

“We’re delighted that Graham has joined us on a full-time contract,” he added.
“He has been with us for a couple of years and had a terrific impact on the batsmen and the team environment over that period of time.

“To have him on a full-time basis is going to be a great boost to all of us.”

Morris feels Gooch’s experience will be particularly helpful as England’s batsmen attempt to bounce back after a lean time in the 3-0 Test defeat to Pakistan.

He said: “Graham scored nearly 9,000 Test match runs, played 118 Test matches, and has been to the sub-continent many times before.

“I think a really important part of his program will be the one-on-one work he does with the players away from the cricket grounds.

“He did it very successfully previously, but this gives us a much better opportunity for him to work with players and get them some quality time together.

“His skills as a coach and experience as a player are going to be invaluable on the sub-continent in particular.”

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