Quick thoughts in my lunch break.
I really did not think I’d have to be writing this now. There was a part of me that thought that we’d even scrape a quarter-final and then go out in the smis and this could be dressed up as a reasonable effort for a team in transition. But no. Here we are. Hoisted on our own arrogance. Out because we aren’t anywhere as near as good as we should be, nowhere near as ruthless as we need to be, and as far away from honesty as we’ve ever been.
I’m not happy, Neil, Kev, Pam et al. I am absolutely effing livid. I’m not a bloody genius, but this was always coming. You don’t get stuffed 5-0 and 4-1 in tests and ODIs like we did last year without there being something seriously wrong. Window dressing it by scapegoating an individual is not the way. It never has been the way. Just as if we sack Moores now and that’s the end of it won’t reconcile us to honesty now. Graves and Harrison have a hell of a job to do in (a) picking us up off the floor, for despite all this “we don’t care about ODIs” bollox I’ve been hearing, this is the floor (this is a “low ebb”) and (b) setting course a path that allows all on board, allows us to do what we really want to do, and be hopeful and confident that things will change.
I went to the first two days of that 1999 test v New Zealand at The Oval. There was despair then. We brought in Duncan Fletcher, Nasser Hussain was a powerful, authoritarian captain, and they brought in new players. They never feared doing so. Not all came off, but many did and became the framework of the Ashes winning team. Those that may have wandered off the reservation could come back (Thorpe) and flittering talents (Flintoff) were persisted with. All the while there was a coach that exuded competence. Not for him targets, drive and regimes of fear – no, he was a more silent presence, one not to be trifled with, but recognising talent. The ECB under McLaurin and Morgan were never the problem, and in fact the only issue seemed to be David Graveney bustling in for a ton of credit,
We can do this again. Jason Gillepsie, Gary Kirsten, whoever can come in and build a team again. We need to trust talent and not try to change it, harness it. We need to play the game, not the data. For heaven’s sake, they need to bloody enjoy it – it’s like purgatory for them at the moment.
We’ve been proved right again. It’s no shock. Keep doing the same things, and the results won’t change. Of course Moores has to go, but then he should never have been appointed. A new ODI team needs to be formed now and the growing pains allowed to happen without panic, and that needs to be under someone who will let them be free, rather than tie them to data. Formulate plans, but be able to adapt. And most of all, the men who appointed him should be drummed out of English cricket forthwith for the abject failures thet are. Mr Downton, Mr Clarke, and probably Mr Flower. A new dawn needs a new house, and one clean of past practices and flawed idiocy. Go. I beg you.
More, much more, later. To those of you who think I’m writing this with anything but the heaviest of hearts, remember this. I was there, in Adelaide, in 2006. I feel like that now. I can assure you, I wasn’t happy. More shame on you if you think I am,.