Gooch: Essex boys have England pedigree
PUBLISHED: 17:30 12 April 2018
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Former Essex and England captain Graham Gooch says members of the current squad can force their way into the national team this season, writes Lee Power.
Tom Westley made his Test debut last summer, but then missed out on a spot in the Ashes squad, while injury denied Jamie Porter a trip Down Under with the England Lions.
And Gooch feels the time will soon come for more Essex players to get the call for their country, saying: “It’s nice to get recognition. Jamie had a great season and if he was six foot four he would’ve been on the Ashes tour to Australia!
“It’s a simple fact, he’s not a tall bowler. The perception is in Australia and quite rightly, having been there and been successful as a player and a coach, the taller bowlers generally are the ones who are more successful.
“He was unlucky, he got the injury. So it’s a big challenge for him to back up last season. He was a matchwinner and everything went well for him. He has got to find ways to improve. If he does that and starts getting wickets, he’s got every chance of getting a game in England.”
Nick Browne has enjoyed two good seasons at the top of the Essex order, scoring 1,046 runs in their Division Two title triumph (at 47.55) and another 952 (43.27) on the way to the Division One crown.
And Gooch is backing his fellow opening batsman, adding: “What I’ve seen of Nick, he has got the game for Test match cricket. He needs to get sheer weight of runs, he needs to increase his volume of runs.
“He gets some big scores, but he needs to be up the top there knocking on the door so people can’t ignore him. If he does that I think he’s got a chance. There are still places up for grabs.”
After a chastening winter in Australia and New Zealand, England are due to host Pakistan and India this summer and Gooch says it’s great to have Essex players in the running for spots.
He added: “It’s fantastic for us. Our aim is to be the best and most respected provincial team in the country. And it’s a shot in the arm for other provincial teams because the perception is the players want to graduate to Test match clubs, who have got more money.”