Gooch: Hard work really starts now England are No 1

Former England captain Graham Gooch believes that the really hard work for Andrew Strauss’s Test team starts now that they are the world’s No 1 team.

While understandably delighted that England have achieved top ranking status globally, Gooch insists that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

“Achieving number one status is something, maintaining that status is another,” warned Gooch, England’s batting coach as well as the long-term mentor of Test opener Alastair Cook.

“They will be looking ahead, both as management and players, to the next Test series in January and will be thinking of ways of how England can improve on the sub-continent. That’s where they are going to have to win if they are to maintain that status and how they can keep going forward as a team.”

The former England opener, who played in 118 Tests between 1975 and 1995 and scored 8,900 runs to become the leading Test run-scorer for his country, is now part of team director Andy Flower’s impressive back-room team and has seemingly managed to instil his own insatiable appetite for scoring runs into the present day player.

Prior to his appointment to the role in November 2009, England batsmen had only scored six Test double centuries in 15 years but, within the first 15 months of Gooch resuming his involvement with the international squad, that figure had already been surpassed.

“I think England are playing consistent cricket and they can be rightly proud of their performances but achieving number one status is only a landmark and I don’t think there will be lot of back-slapping going on in the England dressing room,” added Gooch.

“The ages of the group of players they currently have in the England dressing room is such that those players could be around for a while, so if they keep performing and looking for ways to improve – which I’m sure they will – then the current crop will be there for a number of years yet and that’s exciting.”

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