Gooch going for gold

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Graham Gooch

Graham Gooch will captain the England beach cricket team

Essex batting coach Graham Gooch will lead England into action as they defend their XXXX Gold beach cricket title this week.

Gooch skippered his country to victory in the inaugural competition last year, which also involved Australia and West Indies.

And he will take charge of the side when they compete again in the tournament in Perth, Australia, starting on Saturday.

New Zealand replace West Indies, with matches to be played in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast from January 5 to January 20.

Gooch told the Essex website: "We are missing Darren Gough and Allan Lamb from last year but have added John Emburey, Angus Fraser and Phil DeFreitas. Robin Smith, Graeme Hick, Gladstone Small and Adam Hollioake are also still with us so we've got a good chance.

“Competition is going to be tough - Australia have got a few younger players in their side and New Zealand are in the competition for the first time featuring Chris Cairns, Nathan Astle and some older legends such as Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee - but we are reasonably confident.

"The Aussies will want to win this time, that's for sure. They had their noses put out of joint a fraction last year but we deserved our win after having a good series of matches throughout the competition.

"Australia have strengthened from last year so they will be keen to get revenge."

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