Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gooch: Only a matter of time for KP

Kevin Pietersen's quest for a first major innings since his comeback from injury so far extends to five unsuccessful attempts.

But new England batting coach Graham Gooch is not about to panic - because he knows from his own experience that, for a world-class batsman, it is only a matter of time before normal service is resumed.

Former England captain Gooch is his country's highest Test runscorer but admits he was not immune from the occasional blip when, for whatever reason, the runs did not flow.

Pietersen's sequence of 85 runs in those five innings comes with the mitigation of four months' enforced absence because of an Achilles operation.

Gooch said: "I think, with any player - whatever their ability level - if you've been out of the game with injury, you've got to work hard to find your way back both mentally and physically.
"Kevin has been a super performer for England since 2005. He's been a match-winner - and I'm sure he'll continue to be a match-winner.

"But, if you've been off for a while, it takes time.
"It's not easy to just get yourself back into it. But, in his case, he's been the mainstay of the England batting over the last four years - and I would expect him to continue."

The stakes are highest of all in international cricket and that is true for no one more than Pietersen - who has a maximum of four opportunities this week to put a big score in the book during two matches against South African Airways XIs, before the first Test at Centurion.
"At international level, your career is on the line every time," Gooch explained.

"Every time you walk out there with your international shirt on, across that white line, you're putting your reputation and the reputation of your country on the line.

"That is one of the exciting things, the challenges, of playing for your country."
Pietersen's form will clearly be a major factor in whether England can add progress in the forthcoming four-Test series to their 2-1 one-day international win over their hosts.
Gooch does not necessarily subscribe to the 'momentum' argument that success breeds success, whatever the format.

But, reflecting on the ODI triumph and England's five-day prospects against a team deposed only this morning by India as the world's number one, he noted: "Winning beats the hell out of losing.

"South Africa are a high-ranking side in both forms of the game, so it's a great challenge for England.

"What an opportunity this is for our players - very exciting - and I think this is a challenge they're going to rise to."

Gooch, recruited to help his fellow former Essex batsman and England head coach Andy Flower, retains huge enthusiasm for the sport that has been his life.

"Part of the pleasure of playing at the top level is to challenge your ability against the best," he pointed out.

"England have got a good line-up - and, if they believe in themselves, I don't see any reason why they can't have success here."

One of England's biggest assets is captain Andrew Strauss, who has returned to his very best form as an opening batsman.

Subscribe in a reader

No comments:

Post a Comment