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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Gooch on English cricket
Australia have won their seventh successive Ashes series, triggering a fresh inquest into the state of English cricket. Graham Gooch was on hand to answer your questions.
Following a successful winter for English cricket, hopes were high that the three lions would roar again in this summer's Ashes series.
But England were blown away by Steve Waugh's rampant Aussie team, leaving home players and selectors to rebuild.
Graham Gooch played in winning and losing Ashes teams and the England great was happy to shed light on a summer of discontent and assess the future.
Allan Dowker, UK
Given the immense strength of the Australian side, is a 4-1 series loss realistically all England could have hoped for? Is there another country who could have done any better than England?
Well, India beat Australia 2-1 in their own conditions so that is a lot better. Although England underachieved, any side in the world would struggle against Australia given the conditions in England because they have strength in every department.
N. Gumbs, Jamaica
Do you believe that the present Australian team is better than that of the West Indies in the late 70s and early 80s?
No. Although this side has got a fantastic middle order in the Waugh twins, Martyn and Adam Gilchrist, the one thing that's probably weaker is the opening partnership. The partnership of Greenidge and Haynes was probably as good as there was going to be in that era, and also the four fast bowlers were relentless. Australia have got Shane Warne as a spinning option, but the West Indies didn't need one in those days. So I'd say that West Indies side would have been at least equal, if not slightly better than this Australian side.
Stuart Penn, England
There has been much debate about the county system in England. Is the set-up to blame or is the hard fact that at the moment our top players aren't good enough?
It's not just the players you put out on the field that count, it's the system that breeds them. Where the Aussies score over us is that they've got strength in depth, they've got a strong system, shown by the fact that there are several other players playing county cricket who could step straight into that Australian side. So their domestic cricket is stronger and we have got to work towards increasing the competitiveness of our cricket , because that is where you pick your players from and ingredients to make a Test player need to be in place at county level.
Martin Banks, UK
Why have England's top players lost the ability to stay for long periods at the crease?
Most players approach county cricket aggressively and tend to score their runs a lot quicker and maybe score a hundred in three hours. But when you get to Test matches, the level of concentration needed against a better level of player his higher. Concentration is not a bi-product of batting or bowling, it's a skill and you have to work at it. If you want to score a Test hundred you have to be prepared to bat for maybe five hours, because if you're up against a team like Australia there are less balls to hit and the standard is that much better. Concentration is something that is sometimes overlooked in the county game. We have to develop players not only in technical ability, but also mentally.
Peter Keighley, England
How do you think England will fare in India? Do we have the right players to cope with the wickets we will face?
We haven't got a bad side. Our batting will be fairly stable in terms of Trescothick, Butcher, Vaughan, Thorpe, Hussain and Ramprakash. England have got a little bit of a balance problem without Alex Stewart, because Craig White might have to open the bowling with Caddick and we'll play two spinners as well, plus the wicket-keeper. But if we play well, we can compete against India. They'll be tough in their own conditions because they always are, but India can either be very good or they might be off their game, so I'm hopeful that England can compete well.
James Aarland, England
Our bowling attack has looked jaded. What do you think has gone wrong?
I don't think anything has gone wrong. Gough has looked a bit tired and hadn't had the snap as he'd call it, but they've been up against a lot of fine players! You've got to take into the equation the opposition and they┐re not allowed us to play. I'm not saying England shouldn't have done better, but we have been defeated by the excellence of the opposition.
What do you think of Richard Dawson and James Foster being called up to the Test squad for India and New Zealand?
I think it's good. Both of them are exciting young cricketers and we have to get some young cricketers into our team because we have to link between the players playing now and the next generation and I applaud the selection of these two.
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