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Graham Gooch was awarded the OBE for his services to cricket in 1991. He was raised in East London and it was here that his potential was developed at the Ilford Cricket School. Gooch made the Essex 2nd XI in 1969, in 1973 he made his first-class debut. He was soon in the runs, and he made his maiden ton a year later. 1975 was the breakthrough year. He played for the MCC against the touring Australians. He made 75 and was soon picked for the Edgbaston test. Whether it was too early for him, or the pressure was too much, Gooch failed and made a pair. He was subsequently dropped and it was only in 1978 that he made his comeback. A year later Gooch was instrumental in Essex capturing their first trophy in 103 years of the club.
After he retired in 1997, the statistician Robert Brooke calculated that he had scored 21,087 in one-day cricket at first-class level, which added to his 44,841 first-class runs, put him ahead of Jack Hobbs. It was an amazing achievement.
The most controversial aspect of Gooch’s career came in 1982 when he decided to lead the first England rebel tour of South Africa. He was subsequently banned from test cricket for three years.
1990 was a great year in Gooch’s career; he averaged over 100 with the test match at Lord’s against India being the highlight. In this one match Gooch hit the world record test run aggregate (456), he became holder of the highest score at Lord’s (333), he was the first ever player to score a triple-century and a century in a match, he took the record for the highest test score against India and achieved the highest score by an England Captain. Of all his great test innings one stands out in particular, at Headingley against the West Indies in 1991.
Graham has been Essex’s Head Coach but as from 2005 he has accepted a wider role within the club. This will include specialist batting coaching and acting as an ambassador for the club’s future commercial development. He has also started the ‘Graham Gooch Scholarship Fund’ an initiative to raise monies to send some of Essex’s best young professionals on overseas scholarships.
Graham Gooch has acquired a vast fund of stories, which he delivers in his own style. He is articulate and well informed and can motivate, inspire, entertain and create an individual’s awareness of self-achievement and has an established reputation as a humorous after dinner speaker and is in demand at corporate, social and sporting events.