Cricket's Most Prolific Run-Scorer Of All Time

Sign of a record: the scoreboard at Lord's after Gooch was bowled out for 333. Photo: Getty Images
Sign of a record: the scoreboard at Lord's after Gooch was bowled out for 333. Photo: Getty Images

by Ray Setterfield

July 31, 1990 — The game of cricket delivers an unending list of records and incredible statistics. As on this day when England faced India on the fifth day of a Test match at Lord’s, the London ground regarded as the home of cricket. The game was to end with a total of 1,603 runs being scored – in exactly 1,603 minutes!

If that was an unlikely statistic, the one produced by England captain Graham Gooch seemed even more unbelievable. He scored 333 runs in his first innings and 123 runs when he returned for his second spell at the crease. His aggregate score of 456 still stands as a world record for the number of runs scored by any player in a single Test match.

But that is not the only reason Gooch is in the record books. In a career lasting from 1973 until 2000, he became the most prolific run-scorer of all time, with 67,057 runs across first-class and limited-over games. The scale of that achievement stands out when it is measured against the total run scores of cricketing legends such as India’s Sachin Tendulkar, with 50,192; Viv Richards of the West Indies, with 53,207; and Australia’s Ricky Ponting, with 41,422.

It could have been even more remarkable if Gooch had not been kicked out of the England cricket team in 1982 at the start of a three-year ban. It was a punishment imposed on Gooch and other players such as Geoffrey Boycott for taking part in an unofficial tour of South Africa who, at the time, were ostracised from world sport because of the country’s apartheid policies.

Gooch said later that he joined the tour because he had hit a rough patch in his career and “others decided he had no place in England cricket”.

He certainly proved the “others” wrong in that game against India, as he did the following year when he scored 154 against the West Indies. He was playing against formidable bowlers at the peak of their form such as Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Malcolm Marshall.

Because of the overcast conditions and an unpredictable pitch, as well as the highly rated pace attack, the International Cricket Council (ICC) listed it as the highest-ranking innings of all time at any venue.

Gooch was appointed batting coach to the England team in 2012.

Published: July 1, 2016

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