Graham Gooch turned 37 in the summer of 1990, but the year proved to be something of a rebirth for him as an international batsman.
The year before, he had endured a torrid summer at the hands of Allan Border’s Australians, averaging just 20, but his appointment as captain for the tour of West Indies that winter was the beginning of a renaissance. His magnificent innings in the first Test against India at the start of August was remarkable not only as a stand-alone knock – it remains the highest individual score at Lord’s - but as part of one of the most prolific sequences of run-scoring in Test history. He also scored 123 in the second innings of that game, making a record aggregate score in Test Matches of 456. His score of 154 against New Zealand at Edgbaston a month before and 116 against India at Old Trafford brought him a total of 756 runs in five Test innings.
Gooch averaged 96 in Tests across that summer, and from then until the end of the West Indies series the following year was the greatest purple patch of his career, as he scored seven hundreds and 11 fifties from just 16 Tests. It was quite a peak for a batsman who had taken 22 Tests to record his first century, and whose career was interrupted by a three-year ban for touring South Africa with the first of the ‘rebel’ teams in 1982. In total, Gooch appeared in 21 Tests at Lord’s scoring 2,015 runs at an average of 53.02. He made a further four Test centuries for England on the Ground, against West Indies in 1980 (123), India in June 1986 (114), New Zealand in July 1986 (183) and Sri Lanka in 1991 (174). He also played in the Bicentenary Match for MCC against Rest of the World in 1987, and scored 122 in MCC’s first innings, earning him an additional place on the Honours Boards.
Gooch also played in eleven One-Day Internationals at Lord’s, scoring 498 runs at an average of 49.80, and was part of the England team that faced West Indies in the 1979 World Cup Final. Those 11 ODIs brought him two hundreds, both against Australia, in 1985 (117*) and 1989 (136).