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. It was an amazing achievement, especially for a man who gave the impression that he was constantly on the brink of walking out in disgust.
His enigmatic qualities seemed almost cultivated. 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 chose, but the inhibitions grew. In his case, they made him a more rounded player and perhaps the ultimate professional.
In the 1980s Gooch was often where the action wasn't: he was banned for three years for leading the first rebel tour to South Africa, a decision he never adequately explained, perhaps even to himself. Even when unbanned, he was often refusing to tour and threatening to come home. 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 batsman and ever more mysterious: his marriage was believed to be cricket's happiest until he walked out on it. Even after retirement, his career took a surprise turn: earmarked as English cricket's supremo, he was 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 Alastair Cook. His success earned him a consultancy role for England before he was made full-time batting coach for the national side in February 2012.
Batting & Fielding