Gooch's tribute to century-makers

Graham Gooch yesterday saluted the dedication and determination of Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart as they prepare to join him in England's select club of players with a century of Test appearances to their name.

Graham Gooch yesterday saluted the dedication and determination of Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart as they prepare to join him in England's select club of players with a century of Test appearances to their name.

Only five England players have achieved the feat, Gooch being the last to reach the landmark against India in Calcutta seven years ago to join David Gower, Colin Cowdrey, Geoff Boycott and Ian Botham.

That band of players will be increased by two at Old Trafford on Thursday when Atherton and Stewart, Gooch's immediate successors as captain, make their 100th appearances in the third Test against West Indies.

Their achievement is a lasting tribute to their consistent performances under less than preferable conditions. Atherton has carried a back problem for the majority of his Test career, and Stewart has been moved up and down the order while also keeping wicket.

Gooch, who opened with both players during his record 118 appearances for England and still helps them with their technique, said: "From a very early stage of them coming into the England dressing-room, it was clear they had what it takes at Test level.

"Their attitude, their will to win, compete and beat the opposition was there for all to see - and I don't just mean that in a team framework but in the one-to-one confrontations on the field which are all part of cricket.

"There are confrontations on the field between a batsman and a bowler, and they have both been at their best when that has happened. Michael and Alec are very adept at being focused and equal to any confrontation they come across."

That steely nerve and refusal to buckle is perhaps the only comparison between the two. They come from different backgrounds and for many years were rivals for the captaincy before Atherton succeeded Gooch.

Atherton is the more defensively minded of the pair and cares little for opinions of others providing he is doing his job as an opener and for the team - while Stewart is the more expansive stroke-maker, always immaculate in his appearance and a great diplomat.

Gooch attributes their lasting success at Test level to the dedication and thorough preparation they put into their game - something Gooch himself was renowned for.

"They are role models for the way they have gone about their play," he said. "Their dedication and the way they have applied themselves has been exemplary.

"Batting doesn't start when you take guard; batting starts with all the things you do beforehand. It's not a case of going out and working for six hours every day, but you have to do the right quality preparation."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most