County news December 5, 2011

Gooch leaves role at Essex

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graham Gooch, the former England batsman, has stepped down as Essex batting coach to focus on his role with England although will remain a club ambassador.

Gooch, who made the highest score at Lord's with 333 against India in 1990, has worked with England in an advisory capacity since their South Africa tour in 2009 and the likelihood of a full-time position had been raised earlier this year. He has had a huge influence on England's batting which enjoyed a prolific series against India including three double hundreds from Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

Having played for Essex from 1973 until 1997, Gooch admitted it was tough to cut his ties. "I never wanted to relinquish this role working with Paul [Grayson, head coach]," he said. "But as my England commitments have grown it is now impossible to do justice to both roles. I look forward to supporting Essex in the future through my work as the club ambassador."

Grayson thanked Gooch for his work with Essex. "He has been a massive support to both the playing squad and myself but we understand the England requirements he has."

Current Essex batsman Matt Walker will replace Gooch and has been appointed assistant coach. Walker joined Essex in 2009 from Kent, where he played since 1993. He has scored over 12,000 first-class runs at 36.08, including the highest score by a Kent batsman at Canterbury of 275 not out.

"I am very honoured and flattered to be asked to become assistant coach," said Walker. "I am very much looking forward to the new role, especially working with an exciting group of players. Although I will be registered as a player, I'm extremely focused on helping Paul Grayson and the rest of the coaching staff achieve success in the near future."

"I am really excited to be working alongside Matt," added Grayson. "He has vast knowledge of the game and I know he is looking forward to this next chapter of his career."