Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 2nd day January 4, 2014

Gloomy Gooch warns of more pain to come


If you have assumed that England have reached their low point, think again. England's batting coach Graham Gooch has warned that some more pain might be in store next summer before a rebuilt side begins to show signs of improvement.

As England face up to uncomfortable changes in their playing personnel, Gooch also believes that the entire backroom staff will be desperate to keep their jobs and be given another opportunity to put things right after the Ashes debacle.

Gooch might be imagined to be one of the people most in the firing line. England's loss of their first five wickets for 23 in Sydney on the second day was their fifth worst start in Test history. They have also only made one century in the series - that from a novice, Ben Stokes, playing in only his second Test.

"Everyone has to look at themselves," Gooch said. The coaches, the players; we're all going to be under scrutiny, quite rightly, and we all have to take it on the chin and we have to take the criticism.

"If you play the way we play, the brutal truth is it's not been good enough. We have to look for ways to move forward and ways to improve and that might entail taking some more pain before it gets better. Obviously there will be a rebuilding process. I don't make those decisions but I've been here before many times.

"Everyone on this tour would not like to leave under the circumstances of this tour and the debris of this tour. 4-0 down and behind the 8 ball in the fifth game is not the way you want to leave. Everyone will want to try to put things right and try to move English cricket forward."

Gooch did not place the blame in Sydney entirely at the batsmen's door. He suggested that Australia's first-innings 326 was substantially over par - much more so than the 60 runs which Stokes had suggested after the opening day.

"A total of 326 is way over par on this pitch, in my opinion," Gooch said. "Looking at the way the pitch behaved on the first day, once that score is on the board it's always going to be difficult - especially once we got the start we did. Drawing on all your experience I'd have said 250 was a good score, 200 even, but once you concede that sort of score, it's going to be tough.

"We managed to recover a little bit but it's the sort of pitch where there are lots of wicket-taking balls going around, and you need to play well. You probably need to play a bit aggressively. So it's going be tough from here, from this position.

"As for the rest of the tour, a lot has been said but our players have not met the challenge with the bat, obviously. We've not competed as we'd have liked to and not shown the skills that have been necessary. Good Test players generally get out lbw, caught behind, caught slip, but we've gifted too many wickets. If you look at Nathan Lyon last game - he bowled pretty well but five wickets he got, not one, personally, bowled out, really.

Gooch conceded that England's faltering batting was already evident in the Ashes series last summer when they still managed to beat Australia 3-0.

"You try to coach run-making - obviously that's not gone very well this trip for us. You have to take responsibility as well. You try to give insight, give ideas, you try and condition the players to what they're going to face, and how to think and how to construct innings, and the knowledge as well as the skills, as well as the technique. You do your best. Plainly, we've not had the effect and I've not had the effect that I would've liked in this series.

"Over a little period now, we've not been getting the runs. Ian Bell played brilliantly in the summer and held our batting together. In Australia, possibly the fourth afternoon at Perth, when Stokes and Bell were batting, was the only time they probably felt a little bit under pressure.

"We all have to look at ourselves and our methods. Personally, I have total belief in the messages I give to the players but we'll have to look at it and see whether there's a better way. The powers that be will definitely be reviewing everyone after this series, as they do, and quite rightly. So we'll all be under scrutiny.

Gooch, a mentor of Alastair Cook since his formative years, did insist that he should be spared from any examination. "For any player, your No. 1 job, whether you're a bowler, an all-rounder, or a batsman, is to contribute to the side. No captain is going to be happy with just being captain and not contributing. For me, he's still a guy who's learning and he's still the guy who should be there when some sort of rebuilding takes place."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • amit on January 6, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster. You seem very confident, overconfident even of India's chances in Eng in the summer. While I agree that you have a good batting lineup, your bowling is still extremely poor. You nearly lost the first test in SA defending 450 odd in pretty helpful conditions and then got wallopped in the second test. I am sure some of the young Indian batsman will score runs, Kohli and Pujara are class but I'm still not sure about Rahane, Vijay or Dhawan. Then you have MS who simply can't bat abroad, Jadeja is also a poor bat, less said about Rohit Sharma the better. Are 2 guys can carry your batting?

    I honestly won't be surprised if Eng win that series 3 or 4 nil. you really don't have anything in the pace department that will unsettle Eng.

  • Android on January 5, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Gooch wants to sound accountable for England's batting performance but thats just bollocks. Why wasn't there talks of rebuilding thrown about before the Tour. There is a simple explanation. Cricket is as much a mental game as physical. Australian side is still above average but they raised their game and played with supreme passion and anger that comes from a bruised ego. England team have the ability but caved in mentally everytime things didnt go their way, instead of taking the fight to the Aussies. In almost every match they were close to be in a dominating position but couldn't break Haddin's resistence and ended giving up and giving up the match. You cannot take credit away from Johnson and Co's performances, they were spitting fire but you gotta fight fire with fire. Stand up to the bullies and show you ain't intimidated. Similar to the Indian batsmen on the SA tour.

  • Omar on January 5, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (January 5, 2014, 1:03 GMT) very disappointing comment from you. Many of my Indian brothers will make graceless comments like yours on games and teams that do not concern them. But I know that you are South African. I expect it of posters like Harmony, GPVQR and Meanster, but I do not expect it of you. I had felt that you were a dispassionate follower of this great game.

  • Jim on January 5, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Who's the best county captain (who hasn't retired or isn't qualified for England)?

    It worked well with Ray Illingworth....and Mike Brearley....Straussy wasn't bad either....

  • Heath on January 5, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    England playing India in England will give a good indication of whether the problems in this series were mental or ability and where England now stand in the world pecking order.

  • ESPN on January 5, 2014, 4:27 GMT

    @Greatest_Game hahaha spot on mate!!! I can't stop laughing!!!

  • parjanya on January 5, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    The least that should be done is to give the bum's rush to Gooch,Flower and the rest of the backroom boys and no punishment or censure will be enough to compensate for the disgrace heaped by the Aussies in this series.Unless Gooch personally feels that its par for the course and so long as you don't lose to the likes of Bangladesh or Zimbabwe,its business as usual.The boys continue with this no-show,Gooch and Flower make inane comments(Why should I resign,Be prepared for worse etc) to soothe the ruffled feathers back home and the circus continues on its merry way.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    What on Earth has happened to England? Last Ashes series we were constantly bombarded with triumphalist declarations of how this was 'the greatest England team ever', 'the greatest team in test cricket' - there seemed no end to it! Odder still, despite the strength of the team revolving around a handful of key players and there being no clear favourite for third seamer, we were told the reason England was so GREAT was their 'incredible depth'.

    Somehow they have gone instantly from 'the world's greatest' to now the coaching staff are saying they need to be trusted for 'years of rebuilding'? They lose one series and the cupboard is bare? The backup players they had, that incredible depth, has been discarded out of hand. Finn, Tremlett, Panesar, Root? Nope. Not good enough. Not even close. And it looks like Bairstow is next.

    Does somebody in England understand this all more than me? It was clear Australia weren't the same world beaters by 07/08, but the crisis didn't happen overnight!

  • David on January 5, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    English Cricket Experts.

    1. "The Best Keeper-Batsman in the World" morphed into "The Most Unwillingly Retired Keeper-Batsman." English fans mocked de Villiers when he took the gloves, & sagely pronounced his batting demise. Now ranked #1 Test & ODI batsman, he scored 50+ in his last 10 tests, incl 5 tons, & has the 3rd best (10 tests +) D/I (keeping ave) in history. Debate over?

    2. "The Most Skillful Bowler in the World" has a series average of 43.21 at SR 79.5. From "Military Medium," to "Bog Average," to "Club." Would not make the Indian team. Not very skillful, either.

    3. "The Best Spinner in the World," after taking 7 in 3 tests, @ ave 80, SR 121.7, & conceding 560 runs, did the honorable thing & promptly retired, mid-tour, to pursue his IPL career. Book due soon.

    4. "The Best Batsman since Bradman" ... is not. Clearly not. Tour ave 26.55. Best since Chris Tavare?

    5. Botham predicted 10-0. Nostradamus is safe.

    Welcome to Fortress England & The Golden Age of English Cricket!

  • Balaji on January 5, 2014, 0:25 GMT

    Typical management speak. The more I hear these guys, the more I am reminded of Dilbert. Fact is Gooch is also part of the problem. Even in his playing days, he could not tolerate players who were not cast in a particular mould. He was the man who ended Gower's career. How can you expect Gooch to really be part of the solution. The way Trott, Swann and Panesar fell apart should tell a tale of something wrong with the English management. Funny thing is, Australia was pretty close to falling apart 6 months ago. Lehmann has done something good. The English management would never have backed either Haddin or Johnson or for that matter Chris Rogers, a player who has quietly been one of the success stories of this series. Nor do I see them backing up Ryan Harris, given his fitness history. Never mind Johnson, Harris has led this bowling attack.

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