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Gooch credits bowlers for keeping India under pressure

india Updated: Aug 19, 2011 11:07 IST
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England batting coach Graham Gooch has credited his bowlers for keeping a "tried and trusted" Indian batting line-up under pressure throughout the four-match Test series, which the hosts have already won 3-0 to climb to the summit of world cricket.

England defeated India comprehensively in the first three Tests to dislodge them from the top of the ICC Test Championship table and achieve the numero uno status for the first time in the history of the game.

"England bowlers have kept pressure on Indian batsmen which has made it difficult for them to succeed," said Gooch, an outstanding batsman and captain in 80s and 90s.

"Theirs is a tried and trusted batting line-up, lot of greatest names the game has seen but then everyone struggles from time to time. They haven't got the runs they would've liked.

"They have kind of records most would be happy to have half those records. They have been great ambassadors of the game, they have excited the public all around the world," he said.

The English bowlers dominance in the series can be gauged from the fact that the famed Indian batting line-up have so far failed to cross the 300-run mark in the six innings they played in London.

However, at the moment it is the England batsmen who are making headlines as there have been no less than six double centuries since 2010 -- what in Gooch's terminology is "daddy hundred" —- and the best has been his own Essex protege Alastair Cook, who made seven tons in the last 14 Tests, including the career-best 294 at Edgbaston last week.

"I concentrate on run-making, not batting. They are two different things. A lot of people in this room can bat. But can they make runs?" asked Gooch.

"Cook in particular has learnt his game. He has learnt his trade, the attributes of run-making, has a great attitude, technical ability and he's learning all the time.

"Above all, he has great powers of concentration —- a 200 can't be made in two hours. You need to bat for six or seven hours. You can do so if you treat each ball in isolation," he said.

"He, like a few other players, a few Indian players, has those powers of concentration. He continues to improve and it's because of the hard work he puts in. It doesn't come by chance," Gooch added.

Cook is just a century short of Gooch's figure of 20 three-figure knocks but the latter said it matters little.

"(The record would survive) Not at this rate. But it's not important. As player, captain, selector and now in this set-up, the only thing I'm interested in is England winning matches," he said.

Gooch's advice to his wards is to score "daddy hundreds" and not be satisfied with just a three-figure score as Cook revealed the other day.

"They are expected to get hundreds and they are doing it. One big score would put pressure on the opposition and when you do it, you achieve the template of a good Test match cricket," he said.

Gooch was of the view that England had produced some good players and units in the past but they lacked consistency of the present outfit.

"Down the years, England have put together good team. They have played well. But this side has been playing good consistent cricket on a regular basis. There's good buzz around the team they all know each other's roles and is well led," he said.

Even though England are sitting pretty at 75 for no loss at the end of the rain-curtailed first day of the Oval Test, Gooch wasn't willing to look too far ahead.

"Being number one don't guarantee you to win cricket matches," he said.

Throughout his career Gooch has been a great believer in fitness and he has made his wards buy that theory as well.

"Being fit and strong, having the character to go side by side, the technique and ability to score runs, take catches... I haven't seen a fitter and stronger player become a worse player," he concluded.