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World Cup 2011

Gooch believes title is within England's grasp

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 21, 2011

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Graham Gooch gives Ravi Bopara a few stern pointers ahead of Sunday's Twenty20 International, Cardiff, September 4, 2010
Graham Gooch admires the fighting qualities of England's current team © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Graham Gooch
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: England

Graham Gooch, England's batting coach, believes that the current squad has the character and ability to go one better than the teams he was involved with during his playing days, and lift the World Cup for the first time in the country's history.

Gooch played in three World Cups in the course of his 20-year England career, but lost in the final on each occasion - against West Indies at Lord's in 1979, against Australia at Eden Gardens in 1987, and most gallingly of all, against Pakistan at Melbourne in 1992, when he was captain.

"Winning a World Cup didn't happen for me," Gooch told reporters ahead of the team's flight to Colombo for their quarter-final against Sri Lanka. "But it's a great honour to be involved with the England side. When you come up as a youngster you dream about playing for your country. I was fortunate enough to do that - and now to be asked to help other players, who are representing their country, is a great thrill."

But as part of the management structure of the class of 2011, Gooch believes that the players who scraped into the quarter-finals are battle-hardened and ready to raise their games in the knockout stages of the tournament. The very fact that they had to fight so hard to escape from a tough Group B will, he feels, be to their advantage.

"They've shown their fighting qualities and their resilience," he said. "The objective was to get into the knockout stages. We've made that, we've scraped through, and we're not going to look back. We're going to look forward to the next challenge. I hope this team have got it within them to win the World Cup - and I'm convinced they have."

"We know we can improve, we know we've got better cricket within our team. Our guys need to concentrate on that," he added. "Each individual has got to commit to his game to be part of our team framework for the big match. We can get better, and if we do we have as good a chance as anyone else."

Often, success in World Cups is as much about peaking at the right moment as it is about sheer quality, as Gooch himself knows only too well, after his team set the standard for the 1992 tournament, only to run out of steam just as Pakistan were hitting their best form ahead of the final. Likewise, Australia had to overcome a dreadful start to their campaign in 1999, before sealing the title with a run of seven unbeaten matches in a row.

Having shaded West Indies by 18 runs in Chennai, England's challenge is now to win three games in a row, starting with Saturday's showdown in Colombo. And before that match gets underway, there are plenty of selection posers for Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss to consider, among them Ian Bell's potential shift up the batting order in place of Matt Prior.

"Having opened the batting myself, I think it's a special place to play - and I think every batsman should aspire to open the batting in one-day cricket," said Gooch. "Why wouldn't you want 50 overs to bat? Why would you want to come in halfway down? You want to set the tone. You want to set up the game. If you open the batting in one-day cricket, you have a chance to make a mark and set the direction of your team."

Either way, Gooch insisted that England would not be panicked into wholesale changes. "You look at each game individually," he added. "Our batting fired in the early matches, then we've been short of a few runs on lower-scoring pitches in exciting games. We just need to get that quantity of runs to be competitive. Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss will look at the batting order, once we've seen the conditions, and decide what's our best way forward."


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Posted by SANJAY KUMAR on (March 23, 2011, 8:05 GMT)


THis time they are challenging. England is playing good cricket for last 3 years and overpowered aussies like India. They proved their mettle in qualifying matches and came through some very good matches. Only thing they have to do is to think seriously about Cup not dream. Swan, Morgan, troat and Captain himself could be a threat to any team. They should have 1-2 quick session with Geoferry Boycot, before knock-out.

Good luck

sanjay sharma

Posted by Sarathi on (March 23, 2011, 6:25 GMT)

Sri Lankans are ready to remind them the 96 QF..this time it ll be even worst for English side for sure because they are nothing when compare to SL side.and the other thing is they gonna face lions on their home soil which they know how to hunt those rabbits very well.No point of talking that because all know what the result is going to come out.But the funny thing is most of indians are joined with English ppl and boasting abt their team too.Indian team is heros only for their media.not for the rest of the world .well um pretty sure that Aussies will end the WC dream of those boasting Indians..IF not they ll surely get a good lesson of cricket from their neighbours PAK..SL n PAK will play the final at whankade..

Posted by Andrew on (March 23, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

@Hermandw - the Poms will win the WC ONLY if they play Sth Africa in the Final, AND assuming they can could string 2 good games in a row to get there. Form-wise they are the least likely to achieve this with the West Indies.

Posted by Dshan on (March 23, 2011, 3:49 GMT)

England got scared..same as aussie..they hv t play against world best spin attack SL knows what to do with these guys..

Posted by Hashan on (March 23, 2011, 2:45 GMT)

If the pitch is a spinning one,it's not a matter of who has best spinners,but who plays best against spinning.And i think the main reason PAK won against Sl is they are good against spinners.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 22, 2011, 17:54 GMT)

i want england to win the world cup because they have the best record and the best combination. my only worry is sri lanka preparing an under prepared wicket,othewise they stand no chance against england.but they should remember that they have to play the best spinner in the world greame swann . i am sure it will be england this time.

Posted by micheal v on (March 22, 2011, 12:58 GMT)

I think england can easily reach semi finals . the team compositin between england and srilanka are almost same see .

Andrew strauss - kumar sangakara jonathan trott -mahela jayawardene ian bell - thilan samarweera eoin morgan -angelo mathews matt prior - dilshan bopara-silva anderson-kulasekara swann- murlithara( but murli is better) bresnan -malinga tredwell-herath wright-perrara

there will be a tough contest between the 2 .but i think england cancome out on top . iwould play durnback ,bopara,collingwood ,wright as the pitch will suit for their bowling because it seems to hold up . there is also due in this game( i visited the stadium at night ) so win toss feild 1st .

Posted by Bobby on (March 22, 2011, 10:53 GMT)

is Not England the only top team that lost against two minnors B'desha nd Ireland? England is most over hyped team along with India. They are bunch of average players- An average batting order and one dimensional bowling..

Posted by Amjad on (March 22, 2011, 10:39 GMT)

@ Ali_Eorse , i think WC 2011 should be given to Ali_Eorse who can hand over it to England. Guy all teams have come to play. SL are tough in Colombo always. u should not dream. it open to all 8 teams

Posted by Rohan on (March 22, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

cmon england , u rock ..........

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