Cook has all the attributes - Gooch
Posted in England v India 2011
Alastair Cook has been tipped by many to break almost every England batting record.
It is fitting, therefore, that the man who currently holds the mantle as his country’s leading Test run-scorer was given the opportunity yesterday to talk about Cook’s outstanding run of form – and the possible accolades that lie ahead for the left-hander.
Graham Gooch, who plundered 8,900 runs in the premier form of the game, now serves as the batting coach for the national side and has developed a close relationship with the man who has assumed the role he once held at the top of the order for Essex and England.
In the press conference that followed a truncated opening day at the Kia Oval, it was no surprise to hear Gooch speak glowingly about Cook, who has so far scored 19 Test centuries, including a sensational 294 at Edgbaston last week.
His explanation of what has made the 26-year-old such an effective Test player proved particularly compelling.
"As you heard me say when I first came back into the England set-up, I try to coach run-making, not batting," said Gooch.
"Anyone in this room can bat," he said, prompting a few sheepish looks among the gathered journalists. "But can you make runs? It’s two different things.
"Alastair Cook, in particular, has learned his game, he’s learned his trade and he has the four attributes that make up a ‘run-maker’.
"He has a great attitude; he has technical ability; his knowledge pool is increasing all the time, of how to play in certain situations; and he has the number one attribute, massive powers of concentration.
"If you want to score 200, you can't do it in an hour; you've got to be out there for six or seven hours. You've got to play every ball singly for all that time - each ball in isolation."
Gooch, of course, is well aware of what it takes to compile a mammoth innings, having scored 333 against India back in 1990.
He believes the primary reason for Cook’s recent improvement, which has seen him score seven centuries - including two double hundreds - in his last 13 Tests, is simple.
"You see all the hard work he puts in. It doesn't come by chance; it's hard work and ability, and for all that work he’s putting in at the moment, he's getting the rewards. We are proud of him," he added.
There can be little doubt that numerous people around the country share Gooch’s sentiments.