Gooch ready to take up coaching

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Graham Gooch, one of eight contenders for the two vacant places on the England Test panel, has given his strongest hint yet that this could be his last summer playing for Essex.

The former England captain, who made his first-class debut in 1973 and will be 43 in July, yesterday said: "I am not getting any younger and the time has come to think seriously about the future.

"Ideally, I would like to take up a coaching post and put something back into the game which has given me so much pleasure over the years.

"Hopefully, such an opportunity will come along which suits me. In the meantime I'm just looking forward to another season with Essex.

"I've certainly got no worries over my fitness. I've been in regular training since Christmas and feel fitter now at the start of this season than I have for some years."

Essex's new overseas player, the Australian Stuart Law, said he is looking forward to his first taste of county cricket. "I am here on the recommendation of Allan Border and Mark Waugh who both played for Essex," he said."I regard this as a great opportunity to forward my career. Hopefully, I will perform well enough to win a place in the Australian Test team."

Roland Lefebvre, the Glamorgan all-rounder, has been forced to retire because of pelvic damage suffered during an Sunday League match against Durham last July.

"The injury Roland sustained is a very serious one," John Fairclough, Glamorgan's consultant surgeon, said. "He tore an abductor tendon in his groin and the original scan showed some very extensive damage. His bowling action works against him in that it puts a great deal of pressure on the pelvic region."

Lefebvre joined Glamorgan from Somerset in 1993 and played a major part in the county winning the Sunday League title for the first time that summer. He did not play again last season but was a member of the Dutch side in the World Cup, playing in two group matches.

"Naturally, I am extremely disappointed," he said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Glamorgan and I would like to record my thanks to everyone at the club for their continuing support."

Lefebvre took 149 first-class wickets and scored 1,494 runs during his six seasons in county cricket.