England batting coach Graham Gooch has stepped down from his role with immediate effect.
Gooch took up the position in 2009, but has now been ousted after talks with captain Alastair Cook and new head coach Peter Moores.
A degree of change was expected under Moores, and has been called for from all quarters after England’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia, with questions being asked over what went wrong so quickly following their success last summer.
However, those changes were not expected to include Gooch. Cook’s position as captain seems to have miraculously escaped the scepticism that has been aimed at other areas of the England camp.
Gooch has revealed it was Cook who informed him of the ECB’s decision, though of course he may have liaised with Moores prior to the meeting.
Gooch’s departure is part of Cook’s plan to move England in a new direction, though it runs the risk of causing further unrest in the dressing room.
In spite of the side’s failings over the past six months, Gooch is reportedly viewed by many of the players as being instrumental in their successes since 2009, which include retaining the Ashes Down Under.
This is unlikely to be the end of his coaching career, though. Having worked on and off with Essex since his retirement in 2001, he will no doubt be open to offers in domestic cricket, but his career with England looks to have finally drawn to a close.
Cook is clearly not afraid to make tough decisions, but his power may come under the spotlight once again, particularly after his role in Kevin Pietersen’s effective sacking. Not only was Cook accused of stabbing Pietersen in the back, but has also been said to be ineffective at voicing the genuine concerns of his players.
Gooch has been characteristically diplomatic in his removal, insisting Cook remains the “right man to captain England".
Former captain Michael Vaughan recently predicted that Cook would get on well with Moores, in contrast to his own relationship with the coach in his first stint as England boss, which ended in 2009.
If their coach-captain relationship relies on infighting, however, then it would seem further trouble lies ahead for England. Andy Flower’s resignation earlier this year brought hope that a turbulent time in the national camp had finally drawn to a close, but it remains to be seen whether Gooch’s enforced resignation is simply part and parcel of a new era, or whether Moores’ reign will once again be more about politics than cricket.
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