In 2018, the 33-year-old only averages 19.06 and has also struggled heavily in the ongoing five-match Test series against India. With just one fifty under his belt, this has been Cook's worst year in terms of performance since his debut in 2006. Since January 2017, the left-hander has scored 1168 runs in 19 matches - which includes two double centuries. If we remove those two knocks, he has only managed 681 runs in 32 innings at an average of 21.28 in the last two years.
"My concern would be watching him that I don't see any improvements in his game," Gooch told BBC Radio. "I think he's flat-lining a little bit. When you're a batsman, you need to improve yourself, you need to look for new things to do to drive you forward.
"I don't know how he's practising, I don't know what he's doing away from the game. I am concerned when I see him play, because I think he makes similar mistakes, and even at 33, 34, you can improve yourself."
Cook, who is currently involved in his 160th Test, will turn 34 in December. If he goes on to play nine more matches, he will surpass Ricky Ponting's tally of 168 Tests, and sit behind only Sachin Tendulkar, who played 200 Tests, on the overall list. Cook, who overtook Gooch as England's leading Test run-scorer in 2015, would want to imitate his mentor's late-career surge.
Former England skipper Gooch finished his Test career with 8,900 runs. In his last five years, he averaged 51.55 compared to his overall figure of 42.58. He is only the second batsman, after Tendulkar, to score over 5000 runs after turning 34.
"I think the hierarchy would have liked me to carry on until Australia (his last summer) but I believed it was the right time for me to go," said Gooch reminiscing his playing days. "I wasn't in the right mental state to carry on and it wasn't fair on the team for me to do so.”
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First Published: September 1, 2018, 12:42 PM IST