I have just sat through Paul Downton’s appearance on The Verdict.
Now, you know what I think of this clown. Please tell me if I’ve been proved wrong at any step. From the decision, to the outside cricket (which is a phrase he used in his own bio in the Cricketer’s Who’s Who in 1985), to the interview with Jonathan Agnew which blew a coach and horses through the confidentiality agreement, to his silence, to his being buried in the ECB during the summer, to his handling of Alastair Cook both in the summer and then his all-too-late dismissal from the ODI side, to his utterances in the lead up to this competition and then to today. This man is a walking incompetence. If he had one shred of dignity, one shred of personal pride he would resign. His presence is toxic, his pronouncements are teeth-itching and his appearance today, which no doubt will be painted as “bold” in ECB’s Ivory Tower, was as welcome as a jester at a funeral.
But not Downton. The interview wasn’t a mea culpa, it was a shrug of the shoulders. It wasn’t an admission of failings, but a promise of better times. Well, sorry. The Ashes, and a pretty decent England team, were jeopardised and in the case of the latter destroyed for this. The best prepared team (or it was supposd to be) ever had a man complaining that the team they put up to perform was inexperienced (note – England had six players from the 2011 squad – inexperience in World Cups was claimed by one of Moores/Downton – while Australia have five (Warner, Finch, Starc, Maxwell and Faulkner are newbies) and India four). There was focus on things going forward, more jam tomorrow, and what could I have done inheriting an ageing side shrugs. This is beyond the point of rage for me now. It’s coming closer to the point where it’s time to walk away while this buffoon appears unchallenged.
I don’t like doing this. I’d much rather be here today hoping we’d win against Afghanistan and the team might “click”. I make a confession here, in that I feel a bit for Moores, who took on this poison chalice and is now held up as the poster boy for the Flower failings as he does his desperate best not to look out of his depth. He has no credibility really, but he is an honest broker and I don’t like kicking people like him when they are down.
Sure, the players may not be good enough to win, but they are better than this. Much, much better. Downton making excuses for poor performance is a clear attempt to distance himself. There’s a penchant for cheap words, and no buck stopping with him.
There were those who painted this as a dream team. Moores and Downton. Those defenders in high positions need to take a good look at themselves. They need to watch that car crash interview (which I have, and I will burn, and I will keep for posterity) and ask themselves “what did I do?”
Downton must go. Moores probably should. Whittaker should. Saker should. Ramps needs to show some results. Flower must be disconnected asap. A clean house. A vision for the future with hope. Get them to enjoy the sport, not become Waitrose drones.
Repercussions will be long and tough. England need to pick themselves up for 17 test matches in 10 months. They need to do it without Downton. Sadly, he shows no sign of leaving. All you need to know.
Time to scapegoat the man who did the scapegoating.
If you feel up to it, read the Selvey review from WCM last year….
“…it is blindingly obvious that the ECB has found someone with a mass of credentials which could not be matched: successful Test and county cricketer; successful businessman for even longer; lawyer; qualified coach; influential committee man at Middlesex, MCC and ECB; and although not a part of the job description, a thoroughly decent man. There cannot be anyone who has a bad word to say about him.”
“But the ECB has found a man who is just not eminently qualified and intelligent but enthusiastic, determined and discreet. He understands the demands of the game at the highest level and is an excellent empathetic listener who can sift information and make solid judgements.”
There will be more, a lot more…..