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Gooch leaves role at Essex

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 5, 2011

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Kevin Pietersen gets tips from batting coach Graham Gooch, Nagpur, February 21, 2011
Graham Gooch will now focus on his role as England batting coach © AFP
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 6, 2011, 14:13 GMT)

Gooch you better keep your eye on Pattinson and Cummins, they will be rattling English stumps for a long, long time.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 6, 2011, 11:45 GMT)

Not really a big loss for Essex as during the england games he was always at them working with the batsmen. At least it will settle the coaching position as gooch will be able to tour full time with England in order to focus on helping the batsmen tune thier batting.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 6, 2011, 1:38 GMT)

That's got to be good for England. Gooch was the consummate professional back in the day when, from all reports, the England team was markedly unprofessional. Australia was the first country to introduce real professionalism to international cricket and, with that coinciding with a string of great players, they were able to dominate for a long time. England's new found professionalism is one of the big reasons they currently find themselves at the head of the pack and a greater role for Gooch can only improve that.

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