Saturday, September 17, 2011

CARDIFF: After becoming the No. 1 Test and best T20 team in the world, England are now eyeing the 2015 World Cup. If the words of England batting consultant cum batting coach Graham Gooch are to be believed, the process has already begun.

He says the ODI battle against India in their backyard will also test the mettle of the England team. He revealed more during a brief chat with TOI.


How exciting is it to work with this England team?

I enjoy the challenge very much. As coach you have to connect with the players. Unless and until the players
are willing to listen to you, it's completely useless.

What is your impression about Duncan Fletcher?
Ask anyone in England about Fletcher and he will tell you how good he is as a coach. He had a very successful stint with the England team and I wish him all the best with India.
Despite being so big in stature in English cricket, how do you manage to strike a perfect working relationship with Andy Flower?
Andy had a 50-plus average in Test matches and was a fine player. I have been associated with him for a long time. I got him to Essex and have known him for years. Most importantly, I have been enjoying my stint with the England team.
What would be England's biggest challenge?
Our immediate challenge is to play and win the ODI series in India. I love that country. I also love the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It's absolutely fantastic to play a cricket match there. During my playing days, I have always enjoyed being there. And I hope our team does well in those conditions. India may have lost the ODI series here, but they are a different side at home.
England are ranked No. 1 in Tests and are the current World Champions in T20. What's its next goal?
We have already started a process for the 2015 World Cup. We know that our World Cup performance earlier this year wasn't good. But for the next World Cup, our preparation has already started. There is a lot of talent in this country and we hope to do well with them. However, the current team also has a lot of promise. Their morale is high after doing well in the other two formats of the game.
Have you been impressed with any of the Indian players?
The young Indian team which is playing the ODI series against us is not that bad. They fought hard and showed a lot of promise. They missed some of the great players during the series due to injuries. Sachin Tendulkar for instance, but Rahul Dravid was fantastic this summer.
With so much cricket being played, do you think England can hold on to the No.1 Test spot for a long time?
We have the grit to stay right up there. India also did well to become No. 1 in the world. I am confident England are going to do well from here because beating the No. 1 team and then becoming the best team is not an easy job. Right now, we are not thinking much about Test cricket.

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