Graham Gooch was brought up in the Ilford area of London. It was here that his potential was developed at the cricket school by Bill Morris. Gooch progressed through the Ilford teams as a player who could do a bit of everything and he was sent off with a London Schools tour of East Africa which also included John Emburey. Gooch soon made the Essex 2nd XI in 1969 and 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 the name on everyone's lips. Gooch was 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.
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.
Gooch went back to county cricket, and got runs. During the ban he spent the winters in Western Province. Finally in 1985 he was recalled to the team having missed 32 tests. In 1986 Gooch was appointed captain of Essex and in 1988 he captained his country for the first time against the West Indies at The Oval.
1990 was the highlight of Gooch's career. He averaged 101.7 with the match at Lord's against India in particular standing out. In this one match Gooch hit the world record test run aggregate; he became holder of the highest score at Lord's; 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 batsman. Basically he had scored 333 and 123 as well as getting a 3rd wicket partnership of 308 with Allan Lamb.
Apart from this one match, the rest of a very good season seems to pale into insignificance. He made two opening partnerships of over 200 with John Stephenson, and broke the record partnership for any Essex wicket after getting 403 with Paul Prichard at Chelmsford. If this wasn't enough, the fact that he scored 18 hundreds in all cricket during the season sums it up.
Despite this, some people were claiming that Gooch hadn't done it against top-class opposition. This idea was thrown out of the window after a year later Gooch made 154 not out in the second innings against the West Indies at Headingley. It is widely regarded that this was Gooch's best innings.
As England captain Gooch led his country to its 3rd World Cup final, in which Pakistan claimed victory. The 1992 season was overshadowed by allegations of ball tampering and a decline in fortunes followed as Gooch had a depressing tour of India over which he fell out with Gower. He came back to make his hundredth first-class hundred, however, this didn't produce an upturn in England's fortunes as they continued to slump right through the 1993 Ashes series in which Gooch set the most test runs for England. The teams performances continued to be poor, so he resigned the captaincy.
Gooch missed the 1993/4 tour of the West Indies, but could not be left out after hitting 3 double-centuries including 210 against New Zealand at Trent Bridge. He kept his place in the team for the ashes tour despite not going past 33 in tests after that all summer. In Australia Gooch made 56 in the first test, however he didn't better that through the whole series. Early in 1995, Gooch retired from test cricket and comitted himself to getting runs for Essex.
Gooch started the season well with 139 against Leicestershire, and 165 against Worcestershire. It was suggested that he come back at the middle of the 1995 season but his form dipped at the critical moment and this didn't happen. Gooch overall had had a good summer, scoring over 1600 first-class runs which included 7 centuries. During the 1995/6 season Gooch took part in the over 35's World masters cup where he scored well against India. Gooch was made an England selector ahead of Botham and many other candidates. 1996 was a great season for Gooch, he hit another double-century against Somerset and 170 not out against Glamorgan. Gooch finished the season top of the batting averages, and he also topped the Whyte & Mackay ratings.
Gooch now holds the records for:
• Most test and one-day appearances for England
• Most test runs for England (third worldwide
• The highest opening and second wicket partnerships for Essex
• The most first-class runs in a season for Essex (2559)
• The most career runs for Essex
• The most career 100's for Essex (94)
• The highest NatWest Trophy score for Essex (144)
• The highest B&H cup score (198 not out)
• The joint best NatWest trophy bowling for Essex
• The most runs in the Sunday League
• Highest NatWest trophy final first-wicket partnership
• Most NatWest trophy and B&H runs
• Most NatWest and B&H Match awards
• Most B&H cup runs
• Highest score at Lord's
• Only person to get a triple hundred and a hundred in a match
• Ninth highest first-class century maker
• Fourth highest ever first-class batting average for a single season
• Tenth highest first-class run-scorer