Gooch agrees full-time role
Graham Gooch has been appointed as England's full-time batting coach. Gooch has been working with the team on a part-time basis - 100 days per year - since November 2009, but will take on the role full time from March 5 as England prepare for their Test series against Sri Lanka.
The appointment is, in part, a reaction to the struggles of the England batsmen in the recently concluded Test series against Pakistan in the UAE. England lost the series 3-0 with many of the batsmen struggling to adapt to conditions that encouraged spin bowling. England only surpassed 300 once in the series and were bowled out for under 200 on four occasions. The nadir came when they were skittled for just 72 in the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
Gooch returned to England on the eve of that Test. At the time Andy Flower, the England coach, admitted that "in a perfect world" Gooch would have remained with the team for the rest of the tour and his subsequent appointment provides further evidence of the ECB's willingness to invest in the success of the international side. England's ability to adapt to Asian conditions will be tested further when they tour Sri Lanka next month and India before Christmas.
"Graham has been working really successfully with the England team in a part-time capacity," Hugh Morris, England's managing director, said. "The batsmen have progressed under him in that time. He will be spending time with the Test and the one-day teams but really importantly away from the Test match grounds he will now also be able to spend some quality time one on one with our top batters.
"He is one of the iconic batsmen in English cricket and the guys enjoy having him around. He has a real gravitas, he is a workaholic and that is the kind of culture we are trying to develop with the England team."
Gooch, 58, who played 118 Tests and is the leading English runscorer in the format, stood down as Essex's first-team batting coach in December to focus on his England responsibilities. He will now have more time to work with all centrally contracted players as well as other players selected for England squads. Graham Thorpe will continue in his role as ECB Lead Batting Coach, which involves working with batsmen on the England Performance Programme and those selected for England Lions. The ECB hopes that Thorpe and Gooch will help ensure a smooth transition for batsmen between the England Performance Programme and the senior England side.
Gooch said: "I am delighted to be taking on the role of England batting coach on a full time basis. I will now have the opportunity to spend a lot more time with the players and other coaches both in the build-up to series and during the series themselves. I firmly believe that with the talent we have at the moment within the batting unit and those pressing for places we can continue to develop and improve as a side which is a very exciting prospect."
Flower added: "Graham has an excellent relationship with our batsman and is already an important part of our management team so I am very pleased that he will be joining us on a full-time basis. We have a challenging period of cricket ahead of us and I am very much looking forward to continuing to work closely with Graham as we look to improve across all formats of the game."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo