London: England batting coach Graham Gooch has backed his protégé and captain Alastair Cook to break his record for most Test runs scored by an Englishman.
Not only has Cook followed an identical route to the top as Gooch via Essex to the England captaincy, but also the pair are cut from similar hard-working, no-frills cloth.
“My early memories of Alastair are that he was mature for his age and very balanced and considered. He went about his cricket in a methodical way and you can still see that,” the Daily Mail quoted Gooch, as saying.
“The priceless ability he had, and again you can see this now, is that he knows exactly what he can do and what he can’t. He puts that into practice and doesn’t step outside that,” he added.
In Kolkata Cook became the youngest to reach 7,000 Test runs and broke the England Test century record with his 23rd., but Gooch, understandably, did not want to burden Cook with too many targets.
“I hope to hang on in this job until he goes past my record,” said Gooch, who has 8,900 Test runs to his name.
“In my opinion 27 to 35 are the best years for a batsman because you have honed your knowledge and know your game. Alastair is 28 on Christmas Day and I think he’s got his best years in front of him,” he added.
“He’s got to stay fit and motivated but nothing at the moment would suggest to me that won’t happen,” he said.
Gooch added: “Captaincy has enhanced his runscoring already. He’s mentally strong, that’s his greatest asset, and he could achieve a lot of the things you’re talking about. I’d like to think he will go all the way.”
“He’ll certainly go past my record in the not-too-distant future and good on him because he’ll deserve that. He’s mastered his art to a degree and is always looking to improve. If he delivers, England win matches,” he said.