Colombo, Mar 22: Graham Gooch, the former English captain has called on Andrew Strauss's men to get better and bring home their first ever World Cup trophy. Gooch at his best, was one of the finest batsman to have ever donned the England colours is now the batting coach of his national team.
Gooch, who is probably the one cricketer to have never won a World Cup title despite being in the appearing in the finals for three times. He appeared in the World Cup finals of 1979, 1987 and 1992 only to find his team beaten by West Indies, Australia and Pakistan respectively.
He was quoted by the AFP as saying, "Winning a World Cup didn't happen for me...I hope this team have got it within them to win the World Cup - and I'm convinced they have." Mighty impressed with his side's fighting spirit that has seen them comeback from near eviction, he was quoted as saying, "They've come through this first stage of the competition, shown their fighting qualities and their resilience."
He said, "We can get better, and if we do we have as good a chance as anyone else...The objective was to get into the knockout stages. We've made that; we've scraped through. We're not going to look back; we're going to look forward to the next challenge."
England will take on title-contender Sri Lanka in the quarter-final match on Mar 26.
Undaunted at the prospect of his side facing the likes of Muralitharan and Malinga, Gooch sought to put his own house in order and was reported as saying, "Sri Lanka in their own country are a top team -- world-class players with lots of experience...But that's one of the beauties of playing the game. You look forward to those challenges, to coming up against those players...Muralitharan is a world-class bowler, who's been around for a long time and makes the contest even more juicy than normal."
He said, "But England are not worried about winning or losing. What they're worried about and should be concentrating on is getting our own game right, playing the game we want to play.If we do that, we'll have a good chance of winning that quarter-final. They won't fear that opposition; they'll look forward to competing with that opposition."