England in India 2012 December 9, 2012

Confident England want series win - Gooch


Graham Gooch has hailed England's back-to-back Test wins in India as a "monumental achievement". Gooch, the highest run-scorer in England's Test history and the side's current batting coach, claimed England were now "in the ascendancy", but warned that with one Test remaining, plenty of hard work lay ahead if they were to claim their first series win in India since 1984-85.

After losing the first Test in Ahmedabad, England won in Mumbai and Kolkata to take a 2-1 lead with one match to play. While Gooch praised the team for their fightback, he also suggested India might prepare a "result pitch" for the last Test in Nagpur, starting on Thursday, to maximise their chances of securing a result to draw the series.

"It was a monumental achievement," Gooch said. "We know these conditions are sometimes alien to English players. We lost the first Test, we took a bit of a beating there, and in their conditions - India have set up the conditions in Mumbai and Kolkata - our guys have responded magnificently. Let's be fair, they've outplayed India in both the last two Tests.

"When you go 1-0 down against hosts who have a very good record in their own conditions, it's very satisfying when you can turn it round and use the skills you have practised long and hard to outplay the opposition.

"But I don't think for one minute that the guys think the job is done. We're 2-1 up with one to play. We want a positive result in Nagpur. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying it's going to be a result pitch in Nagpur. If I was India I would want a result pitch to take my chances.

"The things MS Dhoni has said after Mumbai I totally agree with - he wants to play on pitches that produce results and I don't have a problem with that. I'd rather have a pitch that produces a result that one that produces 600 plays 600. So we know it's likely to be a pitch where it will be tough for the batsmen, with the ball turning. But after our last two performances we can go there with confidence and we've got to make sure we bring our A game to Nagpur."

Gooch was particularly keen to credit Alastair Cook for England's revival. Cook scored his third century of the series and the 23rd of his Test career to set up the victory in Kolkata and has also impressed as a new captain in helping his side come from behind in a series in conditions where many expected them to struggle.

"He's always been an impressive young man, mature beyond his years," Gooch said. "He works hard at his game. We've spent hours and hours in the nets over a long period of time and credit to him, he's the one who deserves to take the plaudits. He's worked hard at all types of his technique against spin, pace and swing bowling and he's had some low moments - as you do as a player - and now he's reaping the rewards for that hard work.

"We showed lots of character coming back, but Alastair is a character who tried to keep his feet on the ground in defeat or in success and when he does well or has a bad day. It's a good way to approach it. He's very level-headed. From the time he first came into the Essex professional set-up to the time he scored his first Test hundred, he has been very mature about his cricket. He knows exactly what he wants and he knows how to go about it. He works very hard and, generally, that's a winning combination.

"He has led this team really well. He's still learning as a captain and he'll continue to develop. He's only new to captaincy. He's had a good start, there'll be highs and lows along the way but he'll take them equally and move forward. English cricket is lucky to have a player like him at the head of their team."

Gooch also praised the desire and commitment of England's other batsmen. "The guys have worked hard at their game," he said. "Our guys have a good work ethic. They've taken on board all the help they've been given about playing the turning ball and how to shape their technique. Credit to them, they've worked hard since the first training camp in Mumbai. All the work they've put in over a long period of time has now started to show rewards. We've got to make sure we carry that on in the next game and perform well there and come away from this country with our supporters being proud of the England cricket team."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nirjhar on December 12, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Still cannot understand how Sachin has not announced retirement till now. How will selectors select him for Aus tests if he fails in this test. Will he then retire like Dravid, Laxman or can he manage a test like Kumble, Saurav, Ponting, Steve Waugh etc. I wish he retires now and gets the crowd and opposition applause that Ponting just now received. It will be sad to see him retire without a last match farewell.

  • Dummy4 on December 12, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    @naresh: Now that India is constantly losing test matches, it suddenly prefers ODI and T20 cricket? What is this, a joke?! Are you even a proper cricket follower? Test cricket is real cricket, kiddo. Go get some candy for yourself instead of posting baseless and hypocritical opinions; opinions which keep changing due the course of time.

  • Shanmugam on December 11, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    "Ajmal and Rehman are better than Swann and Monty", no @jb633, not yet. They may be potentially better than the English spin duo but till they perform in *all* conditions, like the English spinners have, they cannot be called the best. Rehman will not get a game in Aus/Eng/SA/NZ unless Ajmal is unavailable. Same with Monty although he has played in all these countries before Swann burst into the scene. They have not been successful together till the Mumbai test but the fact of the matter is that the English spinners have played in all conditions - Swann, in fact, has 5 wicket hauls against all countries and in all countries sans UAE where he has a very good average still.

  • Shanmugam on December 11, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    @JG2704, re: ODIs/T20s, I don't think you are actually giving us the credit we deserve. We were stuffed by India last year and by the Aussies previous year, no doubt but look at our ODI results otherwise - we beat Pakistan in the UAE and at home, SL home and away (surprising but we did in the last bilateral series in 2007-2008 although we lost the WC quarterfinals), WI home and away, India and Australia at home and SA away. The only team we lost to both home and away was NZ and that was a while back. I am confident that we will be able to reverse our results against them if we play now. We are not a great ODI team but we are definitely a good ODI team. Against India away, I agree. We were woeful. Let's see how we perform this time. With KP, Morgan, and Swann back for that series, and Cook and Finn doing well, I won't totally discount our chances.

  • John on December 11, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    @AKS286 on (December 11 2012, 14:23 PM GMT) What is your thing with Suppiah? He had a terrible last season with Somerset and may not even get into their 1st 11 next year

  • Chithsabesh on December 11, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    I am a saffer and i normally never visit these pages. Very good work England. I predicted This to happen as England were humiliated by South Africa and their preparation has been Fantastic.But i will say this if England had held there catches properly they would have come to India as the No1 Side in the world.This is coming from Saffer.

  • Rishi on December 11, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    Undisputed fact_ IND has always been a mediocre team, and will remain the same. Look at their 80 years record, WORST WIN to LOSS ratio (all formats of the game) among all the major test playing nations (AUS, ENG, PAK, SA, WI). IND cricket is not even worthy of hype. Couple years ago when IND won its 100th Test (Ponting alone won 100 test by that time), it was a big occasion, they gone crazy, Tendulkar went out of control and sidelined MSD to steal the gloyr (if there was any) from Team Captain MSD, such a shallow act. Ironically PAK was winning its 105th Test in NZ at the same time. IPL remains there for sadistic pleasure of IND fans. Oh, last time I heard WI is the T20 world champion now. About ODI, IND is not going to Win even league matches in ODI world cup.

  • Ashok on December 11, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    @Valalan: Sorry Sir, I don't "Eat Pie" - humble or otherwise! I believe in the law of averages & probabilities. That is why I think every success will be matched by a failure especially when the 2 teams are not so far apart in ability. Cook scored big but his innings were never "chanceless"! . If his first chance is taken, he will fall cheaply too. He is due to run out of luck, that is what I meant. Yes every failed Indian Cricketers like Kohli & Tendulkar, also will have their day of 15 minutes of glory. Cricket is a game of Glorious chance, having played it myself in India & abroad. If you read my comments correctly, I said Panesar & Swann were not as effective in Kolkatta as in Mumbai - true statement. Also, I don't eat grapes sour or otherwise!. Eating Kilos of grapes is not in our culture. I also believe in being polite & expect it to be reciprocated.

  • Omer on December 11, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    @Shan156. Lol! Let me apologise on behalf of some of my Indian brothers. One possible reason may be that many are blinded by competitiveness. England have truly played magnificently, and well deserve their lead. On a player by players comparison, each one of the England XI have played their Indian counterpart - with the exception of Pujara vs. Trott. I just wish that the silent minority of test cricket fans in India (not necessarily fans of Indian cricket), would be more vocal on Cricinfo. Believe me, we do exist. Its been a riveting series, and I hope that Nagpur provides us another great match - wish for a result in the last session on Day 5!

  • Ashok on December 11, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    @JG2704:Thanks - I am an eternal optimistic but my hopes get badly dashed by inept "New" Indian Selectors. I think you are one of the few balanced England fans & I always admire your politeness in comments. Some England fans are also asking Indian fans to "Eat a humble Pie" . Really? Is that necessary when Cricket is a game of "glorious chance". Kolkatta Test turned on its back on Cook's dropped catch at 17 . If that chance was held, the result could have been reversed- like the results betn. First & Second Tests. When a match rests on one or 2 crucial blunders, it is strange to see Gooch gloating. Yes Cook was great in the series in compiling huge scores but he was also lucky. Indian Fans have been asking for younger team right from First test to improve the mobility in the field .This is the first time the Selectors have obliged - not necessarily fully or with right names but younger ones! I am hoping a step improvement in the fielding & in intensity than shown by 3 outgoing guys!.

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