England news

Thorpe appointed one-day batting coach

David Hopps

January 26, 2013

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

ECB batting coach Graham Thorpe at a practice session with England Lions, England Lions v Sri Lanka, Scarborough, August 2, 2006
Graham Thorpe has cut his teeth as an international batting coach with the England Lions © Getty Images

England have named Graham Thorpe as batting coach for the one-day international and Twenty20 series in New Zealand in a decision which moves closer towards separate coaching set-ups for the Test and one-day sides.

Thorpe replaces Graham Gooch, whose role as Test batting coach for next summer's Ashes series remains assured.

The reshuffle follows the appointment of Ashley Giles as England's new coach in the shorter formats of the game to reduce the touring workload on England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, whose day-to-day coaching involvement is now restricted to the Test arena.

England's managing director Hugh Morris has stressed the appointment of Thorpe, who has cut his teeth as batting coach for England Lions, will be reviewed at the end of the New Zealand tour, although his fulltime appointment seems inevitable.

Morris said: "Graham Gooch's work in India made a real step change to the way we played spin bowling and was a factor in us winning that Test series. We've got an enormous amount of very high-profile Test cricket and we want Graham to focus his attention on working one-on-one with our Test players.

"Graham Thorpe, who has been working alongside the Lions as one of our coaches for the last 12 months or so, will be going to New Zealand as one-day batting coach. He's made a good impression as a batting coach and he is looking forward to the opportunity to go there."

England entered the final one-day international against India in Dharamsala on Sunday 3-1 down with one to play, and with the series already lost, but suggestions that Gooch has been removed from the one-day set-up at Giles' behest because of another failure in an Indian ODI series are an overstatement of the case.

England are committed to developing distinct coaching set-ups in Test and one-day cricket and Thorpe's introduction, which has been built towards for some time, is a natural consequence of that .

Nevertheless, Giles might welcome a more energising figure in the dressing room in the limited-overs formats. Gooch's lugubrious commonsense has had a positive effect on England's Test side, exemplified by the last Test they played as they had the mental strength to bat for for nearly 10 hours to draw the Test in Nagpur and win the series. Thorpe, though, might quicken the progress of young plyers such as Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, who have built a strong rel;ationship with him in Lions cricket and who are instrumental to England's one-day future.

Gooch, like Flower, has always had mixed feelings about the lengthy amount of time spent away from home in England's crowded international schedule. David Saker, England's bowling coach, was also briefly tempted by the Warwickshire director of cricket role for identical reasons before the lure of back-to-back Ashes series persuaded him that he had "unfinished business" with the England side. It would be no surprise if he was next.

Challenges will come thick and fast for Thorpe if, as everybody expects, he passes his probationary period. Following the ICC Champions Trophy in England this summer England face a World T20 in Bangladesh in March 2014 and a World Cup in Australia and New Zealand the following year.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by landl47 on (January 28, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

Although Thorpe had an excellent record as a test batsman, surely that's not the point? He needs to be a good coach, able to analyze players strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to capitalize on the former and minimize the latter. He needs to be a good communicator and a good organizer. He needs to be diligent and responsive to individual players' needs. As a batting coach, he needs to be willing to spend lots of hours in the nets working with every player, so it's a physically demanding job, and he needs to be able to boost batsmen's confidence in their own techniques, so it's a psychologically demanding job, too.

The old days when players were left largely to their own devices and the captain organized practice have long gone. It's a specialist game now and having a separate batting coach for the very different demands of short-format cricket makes perfect sense. Best of luck to Graham Thorpe.

Posted by ruester on (January 28, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

Great move by England. It is good to see progressive ideas in the England management, why are people getting bothered about it. Most professional sports have specialist coaches. Maybe India need to find a batting coach to help them play a ball that actually moves in the air or off the pitch?

Posted by Jason_Mcphee on (January 27, 2013, 23:16 GMT)

Great decision, Thorpe was one of my favourite Batsman, but we want KP James Taylor in our ODI team.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (January 27, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

Thorpe has already made a positive impression on a numer of young English players and will probably be the long term successor to Gooch as batting coach. From comments on here I presume there have been a couple of derogatory references made to Thorpe's ability as a batsman (they are no longer posted)- He was a fantastic batsman but most of all when his back was to the wall, anyone who says otherwise knows nothing about cricket or never saw him play- the 2 names referred to Jones2 and GSting7 certainly fall into that genre.

Posted by GHemrajani on (January 27, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Thorpe is a good choice. He had good one day cricket temperament. Given the Champion's Trophy in England and World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, totals will be in the 200's and bowling will be more important than batting. Staying on the wicket will be crucial which will suit Thorpe's style. A step in the right direction.

Posted by bumsonseats on (January 27, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

not sure we have more coaches than anyone else most have batting and bowling coaches some even fielding. all have backroom staff. what England have done perhaps were more i feel will follow, has split the main coaches to test and odis/T20. England want flowers to stay and with a young family, we have to give him enough time to spend with his nearest and dearest.flowers has overall control of every team in so far as who rests and who plays, but Giles under those restrains picks the shorter format sides. i know some sides cannot do the options that England can, purely on monetary terms. but with sponsors paying tens of millions if not more,they can.

Posted by StarHawk on (January 27, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Different coaches for Tests & limited overs? They might as well get a different set of coaches for T20s who are experts at death bowling, innovative shots etc.

Posted by bumsonseats on (January 27, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

it makes sense as i believe he was one of our better batters in that format and a good improviser.in time will become the test batting coach. as i feel you have to go with the more youthful and more modern thinking.no disrespect to gooch as he was a english great and as captain used the things then that modern day cricketers take for granted.all in all we have all bases covered

Posted by SSS86 on (January 27, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

Hmmm...so now we have Andy Flower, Ashley Giles, Graham Gooch and Graham Thorpe in the England coaching department. I hope it works out. Personally I think it is starting to become a little ridiculous.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 27, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

This is fantastic news! I really miss Thorpe in the England teams; he never had the explosive fire-power of say a KP, but if ever there was a stalwart who everyone could rely on to grind out a 40 or 50 in times of need, it was Thorpe. Nowadays, people are much too reliant on players that, O.K. might get the odd quickfire ton in relatively easy playing conditions, but in times of need they simply choke. Please Thorpe: drill some consistency into these boys!

Posted by Gurram on (January 27, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

@ midnightschildren, Andy flower coaches Gooch, Thorpe, Giles and Co. :D

Posted by midnightschildren on (January 27, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

What exactly is Andy Flower's job description, with so many ex-players working as assistant coaches? The English cricket team is becoming a coaching entourage.

Posted by Hammond on (January 27, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

@maddy20- 12 years still sounds pretty terrible given how terrible England supposedly are and how good Australia are supposed to be..

Posted by skilebow on (January 27, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

xylo - yes i think tresco will make an excellent coach but he still plays county cricket! so won't be available as a coach for a couple of years

Posted by mikey76 on (January 27, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

Gsingh7 Thorpe talentless?? You need to check your stats mate. He scored 4-5 ashes hundreds against the premium Australian sides of recent memory, made runs on the subcontinent. His career (93-05) directly coincided with the some of the best bowling attacks ever. His career average of 44 in a weak England side says a lot, and no Jonesy he didn't try out as an opener. Yet again got your facts dead wrong.

Posted by TripleCenturian on (January 27, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

Some crass comments and cheap shots about Thorpe which show gross ignorance and an inability to appreciate that guys mature, personal lives change and great coaches don't have to have been successful players. Thorpe was a good enough batsman, determined, gritty and managed to work out how to pay different situations against someone opposition bowling attacks. His experience has made him a decent coach and he has pushed himself to do better as a coach by spending time in Australia and elsewhere to improve. A number of decent Lions batsmen are coming through to the full team and Thorpe has helped with their development from a mental perspective as much as technique. I don't recall Gavaskar or Richards being great coaches, nor Arthur and Fletcher being elite test players so don't muddle up the two roles. He will do for me.

Posted by maddy20 on (January 27, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

Graham Thorpe is pretty alright. A proper attacking batsman like Nick Knight and Atherton. Might just be the boost the Englishmen need. @RednWhite I thought it was 12? I mean there's a lot of difference between 12 and 15!

Posted by abyrao on (January 27, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

Although he was a good batsmen rather the only one who batted in that phase of England, how many times he called for retirement bcoz of family and personal problems. So now how can he manage his time when he could not when he was a cricketer?

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (January 27, 2013, 5:09 GMT)

Must be embarrassing to have not won a test series on such a woeful cricket nations turf for nearly 15 years then @jonesy2.

Posted by xylo on (January 27, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

I was thinking that Trescothick would have been a better coach. But then, with the team travelling quite a bit, it would be a shame if the coach went into a depression.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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