Graham Alan Gooch
July 23, 1953, Whipps Cross, Leytonstone, Essex
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Top order Batter
Norlington Junior High School, Leytonstone
Graham Gooch was the most prolific run-scorer top-class cricket has ever seen. After he retired in 1997, the statistician Robert Brooke calculated that he had scored 22,211 runs in List A cricket which, added to his 44,846 first-class runs, put him ahead of Jack Hobbs.
When England first plucked him out of Essex as a 21-year-old in 1975, Gooch was an uninhibited belter of a cricket ball. Armed with one of the game's heaviest bats, he could always wallop it when he wanted to, but he chose to become a more rounded player and, perhaps, the ultimate professional. He started his Test career, against Australia in 1975, with a pair, which meant he could only get better.
Even so, it took him five years and 22 Tests to get his first hundred - 123 against Holding and Co at Lord's. He was the leading run-scorer on the tour of West Indies about six months later, but then got himself banned for three years for leading the first rebel tour to South Africa, a decision he never adequately explained. When he returned, he often refused to tour and threatened to come home when he did. England made him captain only because there was no one else, but his fanatical fitness and work ethic gave the team more purpose than it had shown in a decade.
Approaching 40, he kept getting better as a batter. Between June 1990 and February 1991, he made 12 scores of over 50 in eight Tests, which included his 333 and 123 against India at Lord's. In the 1991 summer, he made what many considered to be his finest innings, batting over seven and a half hours at Headingley to carry his bat for 154 in a team total of 252 against a West Indies attack made up of Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Patrick Patterson and Courtney Walsh.
Two years later he became England's leading run-scorer and held the record for over two decades before Alastair Cook overtook him in 2015.
After retirement, Gooch's career took a surprise turn: he had been earmarked as English cricket's supremo, but bombed out as coach and selector and became a broadcaster, with a sly wit that surprised those who had seen only his poker face and his broad bat. He returned to coaching as Essex batting coach, working closely with Cook. In 2012, he was appointed England's batting coach, a job he held till the Ashes defeat in 2013-14.
Batting & Fielding