Essex coach Matt Walker demands batting improvement

Matt Walker
Walker has scored 2,429 first-class runs for Essex in 76 innings

Essex coach Matt Walker says he must focus on improving his side's batting, particularly in the four-day game.

The Chelmsford club, relegated in 2010, endured a dismal season with the bat in this year's Division Two campaign.

"I think the batting has flattered to deceive the last two or three seasons," Walker, who has replaced Graham Gooch on the coaching team, told BBC Essex.

"There's been some good individual performances but consistently we need to improve with the batting."

With promising all-rounder Tom Westley and young batsmen Jaik Mickleburgh and Adam Wheater on the books, as well as teenage seamers Tymal Mills and Reece Topley, Walker believes there is potential for a promising campaign in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to really getting stuck in with the players, especially the younger players," added the 37-year-old.

"There's some serious talent on show. It's just a case of trying to transform that natural ability and God-given talent into getting runs.

"Players are judged on runs and we haven't got enough of them as a unit. Hopefully we can kick on with that after the winter."

And while Essex showed signs of flourishing in last season's CB40 competition Walker, who will continue to play for the club in 2012, wants to close the gap on the leading Twenty20 sides.

"I think we might have drifted last year in Twenty20 cricket," he said.

"Personally, I felt we got caught out a little bit and sides around us had moved on and bowlers had improved their variations, while batsmen were on another level."