Gooch: England need to be bolder

England

Former England batting coach Graham Gooch has urged his former charges to play more aggressive cricket in the upcoming Tests against Sri Lanka and beyond, and says they won't get to number one unless they 'take the initiative'.

Former England batting coach Graham Gooch has urged his former charges to play more aggressive cricket in the upcoming Tests against Sri Lanka and beyond, and says they won't get to number one unless they 'take the initiative'.

There was often criticism of Alastair Cook's captaincy during the Ashes in Australia, saying he was far too conservative, and Gooch feels that England not have a new coach and some new faces, and they should be more attacking.

Gooch told the Daily Mail: "I was brought up under the captaincy of Keith Fletcher and Mike Brearley to play the pressing game. As a leader you have to try to make things happen.

"I was never schooled in letting the game unfold and seeing if you come out on top. You've got to take the initiative. You've got to press.

"We have to look at the way we're going to win games. You have to create the opportunity to win, and fight for it. You've got to push the game forward. That's the only way to play cricket."

Of Cook specifically, Gooch said it was the skipper's biggest challenge now to take the new team forward and get over the Ashes defeat, and he needed to do so by example and score big centuries.

Gooch continued: "I've seen him meet and conquer many challenges over the years. But he's in an interesting position now where he's got to kick on. You can't have more of the same. He's got to take these exciting young players forward.

"He'll need his experienced players to help be leaders in the dressing-room as well. You can't just have one captain. But he's also got to be the guy who sets the tone and demands more from the players.

"He's entitled to demand more. You're playing for your country. It's the ultimate. You're entitled to demand more to get the best out of them – that's part of the job as captain."

The former England skipper and selector was sacked from his coaching role after the Ashes, with Cook playing a big role in that, but Gooch was not bitter, saying it was inevitable after their best batsman on the tour, Kevin Pietersen, averaged less than 30.

He said: "It was always going to come to an end some time. I'll be in and around the game, but just not so much hands on. I'll be not so involved with the actual thing I've been involved with all my life.

"When you're getting bowled out in 50 overs, and the side are back in the field quickly, there's a price to pay. That's the reality. We know that. It's fair enough.

"Peter Moores and Alastair are quite entitled to make the changes. Alastair has had tough decisions to make. In a way that's good for him because that's what he had to do. He can't stand on sentiment.

"Would I like to have left in that way? No. It was absolutely not in my plan to be sacked by England. But I wish them and Alastair all the best. He's been a good friend, and we've had a very good relationship down the years.

"It was going to come to an end, obviously, at some stage – probably just a fraction prematurely from my point of view. But these things happen. It doesn't mean you don't care about them and want them to do well."

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