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England have no direction - Gooch

Andrew Strauss
Strauss must unify the England team, says Gooch

Former England captain Graham Gooch says the current team lacks direction, leadership and unity.

The tourists collapsed to a humiliating defeat by an innings and 23 runs in the first Test against West Indies.

Gooch told BBC Radio 5 Live: "England have issues, not least that they have not got a steady hand on the tiller.

"I don't know how permanent Andrew Strauss's captaincy is. They have not got a permanent coach. The team is just standing still and not going forward."

England were all out for 51 in the second innings in Jamaica, their third lowest total in Test history, leaving new skipper Strauss shell-shocked.

The Middlesex batsman took over the captaincy when Kevin Pietersen resigned last month - and Gooch has questioned whether it had been the right appointment.

"Up until about a month ago before Strauss scored his two hundreds in the Test in India, you doubt whether he should be in the team all the time," he said.

Gooch feels Strauss is just one among a number of players who are under-performing, and suggests that is partly down to them being distracted by the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff made the headlines when they became the most costly cricketers in the IPL auction last week, costing 1.1m each.

"The England team say they have got no distractions with the IPL but when you have all these background influences going on it is not the best environment to give your best performance," Gooch added.

"I know what dressing room atmospheres are like and what the banter is like, so when Strauss comes out and says the IPL was hardly mentioned that doesn't seem believable to me."

Gooch feels England are suffering from an individualistic philosophy and has urged the captain to pull the team together.

"One of Strauss's biggest tasks, along with stand-in with coach Andy Flower, is to unify the dressing room," he said.

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"England have some excellent cricketers that are capable of winning Test matches, but they are not performing as a unit.

"The main task is to get them performing as a unit and to get their good players turning in match-winning performances.

"But they are professional cricketers, they are paid well and playing for their honour of their country and they should be able to give a better performance."

Gooch would also like to see some new talent emerging - and to see any potential harnessed in the right way.

"I'd like to see some younger players come forward and I'd like to see some direction," he added.

see also
Flower plays down 'distractions'
08 Feb 09 |  England
England collapse angers Strauss
07 Feb 09 |  England
England 'too matey' with Windies
08 Feb 09 |  Cricket
England crash to innings defeat
07 Feb 09 |  England
West Indies v England photos
07 Feb 09 |  England
Referral system causes confusion
06 Feb 09 |  England
Pietersen defends shot selection
04 Feb 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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