The art of discovering success
Graham Gooch is a patient man, not surprising for a man who spent most of his time at the crease, grinding down attacks with an enervating blend of attack and defence. Now, his four-year coaching career with Essex finding no great success, he plies his trade as commentator, revealing a mordant wit that seemingly had been obstructed by his bushy moustache, which exists no more.
Talking so much does require patience, and no wonder he is viewed as a successful commentator. On Sunday morning, after a marathon session with the print journalists, Gooch had relays of interviews with the TV reporters from India, commenting on the virtues of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, and Laxman, expressing his wonder at the longevity and effectiveness of Anil Kumble.
Inevitably, there were questions about the 456 runs he took off the Indians at Lord's in 1990, including that 333 in the first innings. And, talking of Tendulkar, Gooch spoke of keeping the fire burning as age catches up with you.
He should know, for Gooch aged most damagingly for bowlers around the world. After turning 35, Gooch played 52 Tests and averaged over 48 in them. "It's how much you want as you grow older," he said. "Tendulkar has done everything that's to do as far as batting goes, but the public in this country would hope that he has one last flurry in this country.
"I think it's quite even, I would not expect it to be more than 1-0 either way," was his prognosis for the Test series.
While commending the Indians, Gooch did dwell upon a few negatives: the inexperienced pace attack (with the exception of Zaheer Khan), Tendulkar's indifferent show at Lord's, and concern at the form of Wasim Jaffer.
He was asked why, despite the presence of so many masters of the game, India did not find so much success abroad.
"I really don't know, you do have some exceptional talents," he said. "I don't really know, but perhaps it's a team of individuals… It's a team game and the boys have to play for each other."
"I'd like to see the openers bat at Lord's," he said. "That's the best ground in the world for me, and that's a great place for someone to begin one's career in England." Gooch was asked — despite his own rather ordinary record Essex — if he would go to coach the Indian team if asked by the BCCI. "Well, I'm quite happy here at Essex," he said. "I would be homesick if I leave my county!"