Gooch backs Strauss to lead from the front

July 19th, 2011 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 19 (IANS) England batting coach Graham Gooch has backed Andrew Strauss to rediscover his form and lead from the front in the Test series against India beginning Thursday.

Straus made a good beginning, scoring 78 and 109 for Somerset in the warm-up match against India.

“He had a very profitable weekend and the decision to play in that game (for another county) and get some match practice before the first Test has really put him in good touch,” Gooch was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

“Hopefully he can carry that form and that confidence into the first Test. It’ll be a different challenge but he’s prepared himself the best he could and that’s all you can do.”

“I don’t think there are problems. Players have a few lean matches nowadays and the media pick up on that as a story. Every player goes through a lean patch from time to time. Andrew did very well in the Ashes series and I would expect him to have a good series and lead from the front against India.”

The former England captain said Strauss has worked hard at his game during the last few weeks.

The England Test captain’s technique against left-arm bowlers has been questioned, and any weaknesses are sure to be exploited by India’s Zaheer Khan, who has dismissed Strauss five times before.

Gooch has been working in the nets with Strauss since the Sri Lanka series and does not see anything for the 34-year-old to worry about. “There are always bowlers that give players a bit more trouble than others,” he said.

“Andrew has worked hard on this aspect in practice and I don’t see any major issue there. I think it’s just confidence and getting some runs. He’s got runs against Zaheer Khan in the past - he scored 150 against him at the recent World Cup in India.”

Gooch feels Strauss’ opening partner, Alastair Cook, will simply aim to continue his superb form which saw him captain England to a One-day series win against Sri Lanka.

“He’s worked unbelievably hard on his game in the last 18 months and that has paid off,” said Gooch, who has been a key influence on Cook’s career since he was a youngster at Essex.

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