Assembly

The aftermath of the tour continues and eyes turn towards the futures of the top table. Those eyes are cast more in the direction of the coach, Peter Moores, and when you read some of the stuff coming out, it’s no surprise.

Moores has to carry a number of burdens, partly of his own making, and partly a little unfair. I have not been inside a dressing room at professional level, but even at club level, you know when people don’t think you are credible, don’t listen to what you do, don’t care about your future. It’s not fair that Moores never played international cricket, and that will always count against him when it comes to motivating and coaching great international players. However, he has been on the county treadmill and knows it inside out, and will be a great county coach again when this ends. He commands respect of the county pros, but maybe lacks a little at the top level with the senior pros. Maybe. It’s guess work, but I’ve seen enough football managers lose that respect, and I can recognise some of the problems. At this stage, with a young core of players, Moores can bring them along, as long as he retains the support of the key senior pros. These being Cook, Bell, Broad and Anderson, and to a lesser degree, the next in line, Joe Root. All have played every game under Moores, and there is no hint of this changing any time soon.

The second cross he has to bear is that he lacks credibility among much of the watching public. James Morgan on TFT makes the analogy perfectly – would the England national team go back to Steve McClaren, or would the rugby team go back to Andy Robinson. Both were assistants under more successful coaches who never bridged the credibility gap with the public, probably unfairly. Moores, like it or not, comes across as a nice guy out of his depth at this level. I’m not, like some, going to assign some malevolent motive to his tenure on his behalf. He’s been thrown a hell of a challenge after the Ashes 2013-14, made even harder by the idiotic jettisoning of Kevin Pietersen (not for his absence from the team, but because of the messages it sent) and he has developed some of the younger players (although not greatly, not really). The sense remains though, as the World Cup campaign showed, that Moores is not up to key elements of the job. He will present a case, but the evidence is not backing it up. Combine an abject disaster in the World Cup with a home loss to Sri Lanka in all formats, and coughing up a 1-0 lead in the Caribbean, and there is not a lot to say “keep me on” other than some sort of hope for a change of fortune. My football team did that this season, and by the time we sacked our manager it was too late to save them, despite the best efforts of a new manager who did really well.

Which brings us to the third problem, and this one was partly of his own making, but more of that champion of champions Paul Downton. Peter Moores applied for a job and got it and accepted terms no manager/coach should ever do. That is, be told who he could not have in his team under any circumstances. You anti-KP fans keep making it about him if you want, but the message this sends to any player is profound. Be independently minded, have a strong opinion about your game, and how you want your career to pan out, and that could happen to you. It wasn’t a good start. Then, to have your appointment accompanied by the “greatest coach of his generation” comment by Downton was just amazing. Moores would have been completely at liberty to tell the MD to shut his hole, because that was going to stick. If he could not put before the public a set of results to live up to that billing, he was going to be ridiculed. So it has proved.

The final problem for Moores is his inability to speak, or appear to speak, in anything other than management tones. He sounds like a first year MBA student more than a cricket coach. Sport is about maximising the analytical tools to hand (I’m reading a fascinating book on baseball analysis at the moment) but it is also about unquantifiable exploits. You don’t find Jimmy Anderson’s fifth day morning session in any text book. You have that seize the day approach, the raising of the game to higher planes which can’t be factored in. If they were, sport would be bloody dull and we’d all not bother to watch it. But it’s too much process this, learning lessons that.

I’ll tell you another thing that doesn’t help, and it’s a warm welcome to a Paul Newman quote on here after at least a couple of weeks absence, is nonsense like this:

To watch England here has been to see a highly promising group who respect their coach and want to succeed for him and I believe Moores should be given that crack at the Ashes denied him in 2009 by another Kevin Pietersen-inspired controversy.

Just read that and weep. No player is going to come out in the open and say Moores shouldn’t be coach. KP did that and got fired as captain. KP said that about Flower and was booted out for it. There’s not a lot of longevity in showing you aren’t playing for the coach. I’d say we need to win more games to show how well we are playing for Moores, instead of going overboard over one win in Grenada. But Newman doesn’t let it go with his bete noire, who he is now getting all tin foil hat over. KP has the square root of eff all to do with Moores staying on as coach. Pietersen has not scored the runs required of him by Graves et al for starters. Second, KP is not responsible for Moores performance in the job thus far, so is a total utter irrelevance about whether Moores should stay in the job. Third, we’ve been down this long service award drivel before (he deserves a crack at the Ashes – if he deserved it in 2009, he’d have made an unanswerable case instead of losing home series in 2007 and 2008) and that worked in the World Cup. Also, Newman’s changed his tune. He was really down on Moores after the World Cup. Maybe Cook’s told him to lay off or something.

I feel a bit for Moores, to be honest. I actually think he’s a really decent man giving it his all, but he doesn’t really stand a chance. It may be, like before, he’s laying down the foundations for someone else, but also there’s the suspicion that this is as far as he can go. While it is hard to ignore the fact he took the job on compromised terms, he has not been the hate figure some portray him to be. He’s more a figure of sympathy, and in international sport, that is often much, much worse. If this best case you can make to keep him on is he deserves his go at the Ashes because he got sacked before, then you are not making a convincing case.

I thought I’d concentrate more on Moores in this piece, but do a brief bit on Cook and Strauss before longer thought pieces.

Cook has been the subject of a vicious attack by Boycott in the Telegraph. I wonder how Cook will approach Jonathan Agnew about that. Cook doesn’t take kindly to being spoken about like that and the consequences could be interesting. Boycott is a loudmouth, paid to express loud opinions, and you take them as they come. But I’ve never seen him this aggravated by a captain / player ever. This was going for the throat. I would say that it’s not as easy to dismiss Boycott’s views that align with a lot of us outside cricket, than it is for them to slate me, but they try (he’s a wife beater, he quit on England, blah blah – he also faced top quicks at 90 mph without a helmet on). A lot of us believe Cook isn’t the nice guy that his image is portrayed as, but I want to get away from that part. I want to look at the evidence – it’s all I try to do, and try to interpret. He’s protected, for now, and could jettison Moores to keep his career in check. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

As for Strauss…. appointing him the new Director of Cricket would be Downtonian in its brilliance. He talks the language of all charlatans – promising to build for a non-specific future, while using this to move on from something else that he doesn’t like (in this case a player who might return to form and demand selection). He also has the cult of Cook in his playbook, and would be an establishment, company candidate when root and branch change to a more exciting, attractive style of play is going to be needed. This current England team still has dedicated fans and lovers of the game actively wanting them, or key members of them, to fail to get the changes needed in structure, attitude and approach. Bringing back Mr Bowling Dry, with his foster son as captain and his foster dad wheeling away behind the scenes, is spitting in the face of those who actively want to love this side again. Strauss is typical ECB. Unexciting, not credible and the wrong man. More of this later.

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172 thoughts on “Assembly

  1. paulewart May 5, 2015 / 4:46 am

    Agreed. Let us hope that Geoffrey knows something that we don’t. If Strauss is the only candidate they should dispense with the role altogether and ape the Aussie system: less power to the skipper.

    Like

  2. MM May 5, 2015 / 7:43 am

    That Flower continues to draw a salary disturbs me. That Strauss will become The Man with nothing more than a here’s your brand new executive BMW disturbs me. That Moores – so desperately out of his depth – ever got reappointed disturbs me. And that no-one is going to relieve Cook of the captaincy now his old band is back together REALLY disturbs me. Every day they find a new way of shafting the happiness out of English cricket, don’t they? Helluva job, ECB.

    I’m glad Sir Geoffrey went on record. I guess MSM will portray him as a cranky old man and merely spouting his expected Boycottisms. His anger was impressive, though. Agnew having his Whitaker moment… ColinGravesColinGravesColinGravesColinGraves… was very sad. Bit disappointed by Vaughan backing out. Maybe he saw a whole heap of futility in the future and preferred the comfort of the media dollar.

    Actually, for me, English cricket’s dying a little bit every day. It says something when I take more enjoyment from a West Indies win, but I’m outside their cricket. What do I know, or matter?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 8:00 am

      The man who brought you “fruitfly” and “pest”, and chose someone saying “c**t” as a highlight of his cricketing year, gives you this:

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      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 9:44 am

        Unbelievable. Selvey the narcissist, completely lacking in self awareness. He’s a parody of a journalist.

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      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:53 am

        What an odious sack of shit he is. It is remarkable the Guardian still employ this fraud. His whole agenda is propping up Cook. That’s it, that’s his act. He is a one trick pony, a 5 tier vaudeville act.

        The only good thing is he is a barometer of wrong headiness. If he’s for it, then you know the only logical and intelligent position is to be against it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 10:12 am

        “Self-parody….. pub bore”. Selvey not talking about himself:

        And, as if on cue, a classic follow-up in the ‘if you knew what I know’ genre:

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      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 10:21 am

        There’s a moan as well about the Guardian allowing “anonymous cyber bullying” and “driving away proper debate” (from the man who continually refused to engage with reasoned criticisms well made):

        I’m guessing he’s not too happy about some of the responses to his end-of-tour review.

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      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 5, 2015 / 10:35 am

        MS is so up himself that he either cannot see we are a disaster or doesn’t want to see we are abysmal. Boycott is absolutely on the money. Selfey is as delusional as ever!

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      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 11:10 am

        Sometimes you can be way too close to things to be able to see clearly. Selvey has got too close to the players and the captain. He has become a stenographer rather than an observer.

        He needs to step back and see the bigger picture. But he is too pompous to realise that. His replies to criticism is akin to his chum Cook. They are peas out of the same pod. Dripping with entitlement.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 11:37 am

        @SimonH

        “Anonymous cyber bullying”, eh?

        Did he and others not tell us, sometime around last October, that perceptions of what constitutes “bullying” are subjective? If the claims of others that bullying took place can be so peremptorily dismissed, then well, what goes around comes around….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        I thought and hoped it would be Antagonym.

        Brilliant, isn’t it?

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    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 5, 2015 / 9:12 pm

      I’m sure he is still pulling strings. There is no way that Vaughan would get anywhere near the job if he is still in the mix. Is it true that this odious miscreant has had his contract renewed?

      Like

  3. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 7:44 am

    Harrison has been in the USA, doesn’t return until Wednesday and an appointment looks possible before the Ireland game?

    Wow, that’s one rigorous looking process right there.

    Like

    • MM May 5, 2015 / 7:55 am

      Funny handshake kinda rigorous, perhaps? The type of appointment that probably didn’t need a headhunting company. Seriously, a freedom of info request might be in order to see how much ECB money they use on these exercises. Does Giles Clarke, for example, act as a board member for some such company? Just asking…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Simon K May 5, 2015 / 8:21 am

        You can’t FoI the ECB unfortunately as they aren’t a public body. I have been desperately trying to get some FoI stuff out of DCMS regarding their dealings with the ECB over the whole free-to-air business back in 2010-11, but nothing doing so far.

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  4. Silk May 5, 2015 / 8:09 am

    I’m going to utter a shiboleth (if that’s the word).

    Was Strauss really a better Captain than Cook?

    Strauss had Swann, who took for him 168 wickets at < 30. Cook has fallen apart since Swann's elbow went.

    Strauss had Cook (averaging 50), KP (47), Bell (57!), Prior (45) and Trott (52), Cook can't call on batsmen performing at anywhere near that level.

    I'm not convinced that it was Strauss' brilliant captaincy that brought the best out of Swann (Swann seemed easy to captain. Toss him the ball. Set a standard field for an offspinner. He gets a wicket in the first over of his spell. Job done). And I don't really see how Strauss' captaincy led to all those batsmen scoring big runs (though obviously alienating KP wasn't the smartest thing Cook could have done).

    I guess what I'm saying is that if Strauss was still England captain (and he's only 38) would England actually be performing any better? I doubt it.

    Which begs the question, what does Strauss bring to the DoC role?

    (Not that I believe he's nailed on. It's clear that there is a malignant group in the ECB who brief the media to push their agenda. They were the ones briefing the press back during the first KP/Moore fall-out – and that isn't paranoia, the ECB themselves admitted someone inside had leaked but they never found out who – and there's been all sorts of stuff coming out this year and last that allowed the MSM to run with all the bollocks we've been seeing. So I wouldn't be surprised if someone other than Strauss is appointed. People are just trying to bounce Graves and Harrison)

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    • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 8:15 am

      I never thought he was a great tactician. He was an infinitely better leader though. Cook is neither without his runs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 8:16 am

      He wasn’t strong tactically, and its become clear he wasn’t the ‘leader of men’ Swann made him out to be, he appears to have allowed dangerous cliques on his watch, but I suspect he was a buffer between Flower and the players. With him gone Flower the martinet was given complete freedom with calamitous results.

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      • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 5, 2015 / 10:41 am

        Absolutely right. By his own admission he couldn’t handle the Twitter account fiasco. Or maybe he just didn’t want to deal with it.

        New supremo: Strauss the one word vocabulary man. So much for the ECB carrying out a wide search for Head of England Cricket. I thought ECB brought in a headhunter? Does that mean that Strauss was hidden under a carpet somewhere? You couldn’t make up this rubbish.

        I’m most definitely with Boycott: Strauss will be an utter disaster: too close to current players, too safe, too establishment. If only he had taken up the seat for Chelsea for his beloved Tory party.

        It’s an utter disaster no matter which way you look at it.

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      • d'Arthez May 5, 2015 / 12:35 pm

        And let’s not forget that Strauss claimed to have been honest with Kevin Pietersen up to Textgate. Just see what he said at the time in 2012. They never played together since. Did not stop Strauss from using uncivilized language in front of a mic to refer to Pietersen. So even Strauss is not as clean as he pretends to be.

        Now I realize there is a difference between what you can say in public and what you actually think. But somehow that does not seem to matter. It seems that Strauss’ misogynistic comment seems to have raised the esteem he is held in, particularly, the establishment-afficionados.

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    • Simon K May 5, 2015 / 8:23 am

      He was pretty good. He brought stability and authority. In terms of tactics, the side was self-captaining in its 2009-11 peak so he didn’t need to do much on the field. That is where Cook has arguably been unlucky.

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    • metatone May 5, 2015 / 9:05 am

      I think in retrospect there are lots of little indicators that all was not as miraculous as appeared. We lucked into the Tremlett selection in the Triumph Down Under – but Tremlett on form brought a balance to our seam attack that we haven’t had since. (And indeed, we’re now stubbornly not selecting for, it seems.)

      However, I’d add that actually there’s no reason to believe “being captain” is good preparation for “being Director” – it’s a sign of the paucity of the headhunt that basically we’ve only had Strauss, Vaughan and Stewart in the frame.

      Like

      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 9:16 am

        Of course, the further point is, as Dobell said at one moment – “I’m not sure I see the need for yet another managerial post in the ECB.”

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      • Mike May 5, 2015 / 10:15 am

        David Hopps makes the self same point – this DoC role isn’t really needed. We already have a director of cricket, he’s called the coach. Re-badge that role into his if you need to, make him the sole arbiter on selection, with scouts feeding him reports from the domestic game.

        That way, players and fans alike know who is making selectorial decisions, who is working with the captain to devise strategy for winning the next match and gets rid of all this fucking tiresome intrigue.

        This other role then, can be largely administrative, could run the disciplinary aspect and be responsible for longer term goals, such as liaison with age group teams, and better talent identification outside of the system etc.

        One role then becomes about winning the match in front with the talent of now, the other becomes about providing the talent of tomorrow and identifying trends around the world and responding to them. Plus we get rid of the hideously convoluted selection process, the coach picks the players he wants and if he fails with those players we know where the responsibility lies.

        Getting rid off all these fucking committees sounds like a plan to me.

        Ultimately, until we know what htis DoC role is and what the parameters of it are, it’s all conjecture but the above sounds like a reasonable starting point to someone outside cricket like me.

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      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 10:28 am

        Yorkshire have made a director of cricket work for them. I’m not a Yorkshire fan so don’t know any detail about how it works – anybody have any insights into that? The big difference between county and international cricket is touring and I don’t see how the new model will work if the DoC doesn’t go on tours (as Nick Hoult’s recent article said he wouldn’t).

        The role that seems redundant to me is the chairman of selectors. If it is abolished they won’t have created any new posts. I’m not convinced by Dobell’s (or Hopps’) point because it seems designed to protect Moores – I’m afraid like too much of his analysis recently.

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      • Mike May 5, 2015 / 10:45 am

        I’m not for one minute suggesting that Peter Moores should be this new all powerful head coach, he’s seems to me, as he as done from the get go 8 years ago, out of his depth.

        I do agree with your point that it makes sense to get rid of a chairman of selectors – have selectors/scouts, whatever you want ot call them but the head coach then picks the team. It is then the job of the captain to lead said rabble on the pitch.

        Likewise, the main thrust, for me of Hopps’ article about clarity is a good one and creating another role above what we already have seems likely to only add to the confusion and lack of clarity.

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      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 11:02 am

        @SimonH – As I understand it DoC for a County Side is a bit different in principle.

        Moxon is “in charge” of all of the coaching and scouting staff – and takes a big role in contract negotiations. JG focuses just on the first team – I’m sure he tells Moxon his views on player transfers and contracts etc. but it’s Moxon’s responsibility. Someone else is 2nd team coach and they report (in principle) to Moxon.

        It’s all blurred because of course when things are working well, everyone works together, but in the county setting, the value of the DoC is:

        1) Someone to be responsible for all player development stuff so the Coach can concentrate on the 1st team.

        2) Someone to take on things like contracts, transfers and other player matters, thus freeing up the Coach to concentrate on winning cricket matches.

        This is why the role was less clear to me in the England setup, as there are fewer of these things on the coach’s plate already. But in the context of a setup like the one Mike describes (and the end of the selector’s panel) it makes more sense.

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      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 11:07 am

        I should add as well that in the Yorkshire context Moxon has done a fantastic job balancing the financial and cricket pressures this decade. He’s also set the tone for the direction the team should develop in. If we have a conveyor belt of good young batsmen, he deserves a big slice of the credit.

        So I could see that the DoC for England should be making sure that Loughborough is producing players with the right style and strategy inclinations. But that makes the thought of Strauss in charge even less appealing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • THA May 5, 2015 / 11:15 am

        I’ve always maintained that Broad getting injured won us the 2010/11 Ashes. His replacement(s) were instrumental in the win, but would never have been picked even though Broad was bowling particularly poorly.

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      • d'Arthez May 5, 2015 / 12:40 pm

        @Metatone,

        is what you’re describing with regards to Lougborough not Flower’s job?

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 1:25 pm

        @D’Arthez – I suppose so. As I say, without the kind of restructuring Mike suggests, it’s hard to see what a DoC would actually do for England.

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    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:45 am

      Silk, an excellent post. I have always thought Strauss and Flower got way too much credit, and Swann got very little. It’s a very English thing to give all the credit to the management and captain, and ignore the poor bloody infantry. Swann was a genuine world class spin bowler.

      It’s a bug bear of mine, but great players make great teams not captains. Strauss got to dine out on the back of some great players, KP, Swann yet he pompously soaks up all the acclaim.

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      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 10:09 am

        I’ve just seen a tweet from Dave Tickner ranking Strauss as the second best England captain he’s ever seen, behind only Nasser Hussain. Personally I think he’s scandalously underrated as a batsman, and overrated as a captain.

        Seem to be disagreeing with DT quite a bit more than I used to.

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      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 10:25 am

        Did he never see Mike Brearley?

        I don’t know how old he is so he may not have seen him. I forget not everyone is as old as me.

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      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 10:31 am

        Brearley and Vaughan for me. It’s not even close. Light years ahead of the rest.

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      • Mike May 5, 2015 / 11:09 am

        In terms of pure leadership and dragging a team up, Hussain was brilliant also. Also led us to often forgotten but formidable away wins against Sri Lanka & Pakistan.

        He might have had a habit of setting needleslsy funky fields and following the ball a bit and always being in his bowlers ear, but Hussain was just what we needed at the time and his hard work helped set the scene for Vaughan, who was also excellent.

        With both of those, you were never in any doubt who was in control of the team, that the team wanted to do their best for them and also, that they had the team’s best interest at heart, Hussain’s determination to stay at 3 in ODIs notwithstanding!

        Being in my mid 30’s Brearley was a bit before my recollection.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. paulewart May 5, 2015 / 8:11 am

    If Strauss gets the job we may as well all give up. The words deckchairs and Titanic spring to mind.

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    • Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 5, 2015 / 10:44 am

      My feelings exactly. If the ECB did appoint Strauss then it is clear that they haven’t realised that continuing to move the deckchairs having already hit the iceberg is definitely not going to help one IOTA.

      We’re bloody doomed.

      Like

  6. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 8:31 am

    The rosiest scenario I can come up with at the moment is a Strauss-Gillespie combination. Strauss may be close to Cook but he isn’t close to Moores and he could be there to reassure the traditionalists about an Australian getting the coach job.

    The main problem with that is why Gillespie would want the job with England currently where they are.

    Also, I loved him as a player but I had massive doubts about Ramprakash as batting coach and those are not going away.

    Like

    • metatone May 5, 2015 / 9:14 am

      I think there is a big gap between playing and coaching, so I can well believe that Ramps could be a great coach. (c.f. Arsene Wenger, etc.)

      The issue for me, as with the Saker saga is: how are we keeping an eye on these coaches? Where does responsibility lie (for example) for the mess that Broad is in with his batting? Surely one of the main points of a batting coach is not to work with (and take credit for) Joe Root in a purple patch, it’s to be there for the players who are struggling, esp. the lower order.

      You might also ask about their input into selection (Trott vs Lyth?) – but I rather think that is Moores and Cook…

      (Of course Ramps has an extra problem, the biggest block in the batting order has been Cook, who doubtless prefers to work with Gooch, so the tone of the innings is being set by someone who is a law unto himself.)

      As for Gillespie – he’d be mad to take the job with Strauss in charge. Just like all the good foreign coaches from last time around, I’m sure he’d look at the “KP exclusion” and say “if I can’t bring in players who I think are good enough, because of your policies, it’s not worth being in the job.”

      And lest any passersby misunderstand, this is not because I think Gillespie is desperate to pick KP, (any more than Kirsten or Moores or Wright were) it’s about the principle of the matter. Why sign up to a job where you may be hamstrung by your boss’ stupidity?

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      • MM May 5, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Why sign up to a job where you may be hamstrung by your boss’ stupidity?

        That’s a thumbs-up Like thing from me. But I’d still like Gillespie in post. He’s gotta be the best coach in England right now, yes? Doubt he’d take Little Lord Fauntleroy’s pouting for long.

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    • Silk May 5, 2015 / 9:46 am

      Why would Gillespie (or any coach of merit) pick a job where he wasn’t the boss?

      Would Klopp work under Wenger? Would Lancaster work under Woodward?

      When the job was Downton’s, it was fairly clear where the remit lay. Downton selected the coach and the chairman of selectors. It was then down to the selectors to select a squad, and Moores to get them to perform. Downton muddied the waters by attending selection meetings (preasumably so that Cook stayed Captain and X wasn’t selected) but even so, Moores was running the team.

      A DoC with sole responsibility for the England side is the manager, whichever way you look at it. He’s picking the side. He’s setting the agenda. Oddly enough I can see Moores working well in this sort of set-up. Tinkering about the edges, working with the players. A DoC doing his job properly would have sacked Cook from ODIs earlier, not sprung Ballance on the WC side, and not asked Trott to open.

      But Gillespie? What power would Gillespie have if he worked under Strauss? He’d be working with players Strauss had picked, and a Captain Strauss backed. He’d be playing, presumably, to a style of play Strauss insisted on.

      What’s the attraction?

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  7. Mark May 5, 2015 / 10:22 am

    Not particularly wanting to defend Moores ,but I think the notion you have to have played at the highest level to be a top coach is increasingly being proved to be cobblers. It has been trotted out for years in football that if a manager has no great record as a player “the lads won’t respect him.” ….”shows us your medals” was the rather philistine cry of many players.

    It was an article of faith, that only an ex player of high repute could be a great manager. But in the last few decades the evidence has been proving that wrong. Jose Mourinho was a translator who was hired by Bobby Robson. Arsene Wenger did not play at the highest level. Alex Ferguson played for Rangers but was not a superstar. Brian Clough played most of his football for Middlesborough in the old second division. Yet the greats of this time, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, failed to make it as managers. How did Maradona fare?

    It’s not surprising when you think about. As Bill Shankley once said “great players are born, not made.” They inherit their talent and are usually very selfish in the way they go about using it. It all about me, me, me. Whereas the manager has to be all about you, you you. Great players only have to motivate themselves and often are surprised when other players can’t do what can do naturally. Managing people is a completely different skill to playing. It’s bizarre we should think being natural at something makes you automatically good at teaching it.

    My beef with Moores is not that he didn’t play at the highest level, but that he isn’t very good at managing people.

    Like

    • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 10:34 am

      What was the Arrigo Sacchi quote again?

      “I never realised that to be a jockey you had to be a horse first.”

      Like

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 10:46 am

        I don’t have a problem with Moores not having played Test cricket. Mike Hesson and Russell Domingo didn’t. Gary Neville said all a previous career earnt a manager was the players’ initial attention – after that, it was all down to their coaching methods.

        I do have a problem with nobody in the senior England hierarchy having had a major Test career. I think that’s part of the problem why England’s senior players seem laws unto themselves. Domingo had Allan Donald in his set-up, Hesson had Shane Bond and Craig McMillan. They also both are helped by having outstanding captains. The England set-up looks very lightweight in comparison.

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 5, 2015 / 10:41 am

      I think it’s an English problem when looking at English coaches. I’ll discuss more when I wake up.

      Like

      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 10:54 am

        I look forward to reading your views.

        It is one of my biggest issues is the notion of the coach/manager vs the quality of great players in forming a great team.

        And yes, it is a very English thing. We are obssesed by hierarchy and leadership. And very suspicious of natural talent. I think it’s all deeply ingrained in the British class system. (But that is getting too deep for today)

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 1:39 pm

        If you have time, I’d love to hear more about what you think of Chris Jordan.

        I had the luxury as a Yorks supporter to watch quite a bit of Joe Root’s early career, so I knew that however rocky the start he had the qualities to be a Test batsman.

        I haven’t seen much of Jordan outside of the Test scene however, so very curious to hear more.

        It seems to me that one of Broad/Stokes/Jordan has to make way for a different style of bowler, to get a better balance to the attack – but maybe there’s more to Jordan than meets the eye so far?

        Like

  8. The Nibbler May 5, 2015 / 10:26 am

    I see Graeme Swann backs Strauss for DoC job but doesn’t really know why: “I can’t think of anyone better for the role, whatever it is.” Very poor addition to TMS and proof that a (newer) old boys club is forming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 11:02 am

      It’s a great shame about Swann. I really liked him as a player, and I think his role in England’s success over the last 5 -7 years has been underplayed against people like Strauss and Cook and Flower.

      But his lemming like defence of all things Cooky makes me think he wasn’t as bright as I thought he was. Maybe if Straussy or Cooky had played an extra bowler you wouldn’t have had the injures that finished your career. After all, playing only 4 bowlers meant you were given the job of blocking up one end for hours and hours.

      Like

      • The Nibbler May 5, 2015 / 11:33 am

        Couldn’t agree more Mark. Swanny seems torn between staying loyal to his old chums and doing what he’s paid to do and give objective criticism and insight. In fairness, I thought the same of Vaughn when he first joined TMS but he’s much improved these days and seems to be taking notes from our Geoffrey in terms of courting controversy.

        Like

  9. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 10:34 am

    Several LOL responses that are worth a look. Somebody asked what England were when Clarke took over – anyone know?

    Like

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 12:43 pm

        It’s a reasonable point though.

        I think England were 2nd in the Test rankings when Clarke took over. I can’t find the ODI figure.

        Like

      • d'Arthez May 5, 2015 / 3:41 pm

        I am guessing around 6th or 7th in ODIs. England were seeded 7th for the 2009 Champions Trophy, and seedings are usually based on the rankings of 18 or so months before the actual event.

        Like

  10. Zephirine May 5, 2015 / 11:06 am

    Looks to me as if there’s messy stuff going on behind the scenes. I think Graves is going to rue the day he settled for a deal where Giles Clarke was pushed upstairs. But presumably Clarke had enough support that it wasn’t possible to get rid of him altogether.

    It’s obvious that there’s a faction in England cricket that doesn’t like Graves and doesn’t want him, and it’s a strong enough faction that Alastair Cook feels he can safely criticise Graves in public. That’s what’s made Boycott so angry because he obviously rates Graves.

    Some journalists have pitched into Graves in the same way as we all pitched into Downton – are they being encouraged to do that? Maybe Michael Vaughan didn’t want the DoC job because he could see it was going to be a poisoned chalice.

    Has Strauss got the job or is all this just log-rolling by journalists who support, or are getting info from, the anti-Graves faction at the ECB?

    Harrison is an unknown quantity here. But Graves needs to get hold of the organisation from day one and assert his authority, or he hasn’t got a hope of changing anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 11:22 am

      It once again seems to suggest it’s all about KP.

      Graves problems started the moment he suggested KP could return. There is rump of morons in English crickett and the media who only care about KP. Keeping him out is more important than anything else. They would rather England lose than have him back. Graves upset this group, and whether throwing them Strauss was his way of appeasing them I don’t know.

      I didn’t realise that Cook had attacked Yorkshiremen in general not just Graves. As Boycott says two of his players are from Yorkshire Does Root think as a Yorkie he just “talks a good game?” Carefully Cook, once you lose Yorkshire you might lose it all.

      I have wondered about the cosy deal to let Clarke go upstairs without challenge. You do wonder. English cricket is now in full civil war.

      Like

    • "IronBalls" McGinty May 5, 2015 / 11:22 am

      Vanessa Campbell put it quite shrewdly….It’s an Establishment coup!!

      Like

      • MM May 5, 2015 / 4:44 pm

        So the Establishment have coup’d themselves? I see that. In fact, the previous Establishment may have coup’d the incoming Establishment. A reverse coup? I need me tea.

        Like

  11. THA May 5, 2015 / 11:23 am

    There’s no where obvious to put this, so I’ll leave it here should anyone be interested. It’s a comment from the TMS Facebook thread. I thought it rather lovely and typical of everything I’ve heard of the less public side of Trott, someone I like very much:

    “My late husband, Kim Jones, owner of Spin Magazine, was Johnathon’s strongest supporter. He always felt that he was a much maligned brilliant cricketer. Although, he did not know Johnathon well, in the final days before his death in January 2014, Johnathon offfered to put on his whites and come up here to Shropshire to bat in the garden . This was in the midst of his own personal trials. Kim did not take him up on the offer , but was incredibly touched by it.for that , I will be forever grateful. Let’s all remember Trotty in his finest hours, and not dwell on this very sad ending to his Test career.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 11:27 am

      Thanks for that. He seems a good lad, very sad what happened to him. But he had a good career at the top of the game, and obviously kept his humanity.

      Like

    • MM May 5, 2015 / 4:47 pm

      That Trott will do for me. Hope he has many more happy years batting at Edgbers.

      Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 5, 2015 / 7:52 pm

      I ‘knew’ Kim through my posting on another message board, and he was was one of the great character’s of cricket posting and he had a vast understanding of the county game in particular and a wry sense of humour. It was a great pleasure to have actually met him in person on a couple of occasions and he was as warm and genuine as he came across on that particular board (he posted on a great number of them!)

      Many of us used to rib him about his favourite Warwickshire players, Ashley Giles, Bell and even trolling him about the Warwickshire habit of producing many a medium paced trundler such as Tim Munton.

      Anyway I think the piece de resistance was Jonathan Trott and his ODI batting and the stick that he received.That was always going to set him off and he would mention little things like the final score that England accrued, that he actually measured up quite well to many of his peers not just in England in terms of s/r and well ahead in strike rate.

      It was a very sad day for many folk who got to know him when he passed on and a few of us from that message board got together and had a toast in his honour a few weeks after he passed.

      We did hear about the Trott gift indirectly through his links with George Dobell and a guy from our board who was a good friend of his. The Trott gesture was truly heart-warming. It is so sad that Trott has to depart the England scene with his game out of sync and been fed to the wolves as an opener. He genuinely deserves to be remembered for the more than 3 years of excellence that he provided. I wish him well for the rest of his career in county cricket and that he gets to provide the brilliance that Kim would have so admired.

      Liked by 1 person

      • THA May 5, 2015 / 10:50 pm

        Thanks for that. I didn’t know any background, it was just a comment I chanced upon amidst the usual detritus. I found it incredibly touching and I’m glad to get a few more details.

        Like

    • Mike May 5, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Yep saw that.

      From that, and drawing conclusions perhaps where there are none to be drawn, it looks live this role could well be quite divorced from the changing room and less engaged with winning the next game. One would imagine if Vaughan were to get involved, he’d like to be very involved with the team and playing side and less about process and long term thinking.

      To be honest, all it looks like they’ve done is change the name of Paul Downton’s role and the confusions as to exaclty is culpable for what looks set to remain a cornerstone of cricket admin at the highest level.

      If no one’s repsonsible, then no one can get sacked then chaps? Tally ho!

      All the above is complete conjecture, obviously.

      Like

  12. Mark May 5, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    It would seem Colin Graves is to English cricket what Barrack Obama is to American politics. Both came in with high hopes and with fancy speeches talking about new ideas and new starts, and rejecting their predecessors.

    But any hope of meaningful change soon faded away. They just kept the same agenda. In Obamas case, more bailing out of bankers, and quantitive easing. More wars, more spying. (More whistle blowers have been sent to jail under Obama than all previous presidents put together.) more policies that benefit the 1%.

    For Graves he is going to hand it all over to the previous regimes darling in Strauss. It is the establishments way, to offer the illusion of change and then deliver nothing that changes at all. Flower, Strauss, Moores, Cook. Same as it ever was.

    Like

    • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 12:48 pm

      ‘No we can’t!’

      Like

      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 12:57 pm

        It’s painful to look back at all the promises.

        Obama, Clinton, Blair, Clegg. They all turned out to be the same old establishment tools. But hey they will all die very rich so that’s ok then!

        Better stop or Dmitri will be banning us for politics. And rightly so as this is a Cricket site. But the establishment, be it politics or sport works the same way.

        Like

    • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 1:10 pm

      Indeed.

      Like

    • Zephirine May 5, 2015 / 1:50 pm

      Yes, but Graves isn’t actually in the job yet and this DoC job hasn’t been offered to anyone. Let’s not buy the line that he’s useless before he demonstrates any actual uselessness.

      Like

      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 1:53 pm

        The public side of the search isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence in Harrison though…

        Like

    • Pontiac May 5, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      I don’t think this is a valid analogy. I will skip various points of (political) fact that elsewhere I would dispute.

      An analogy between these situations that I would support more would be to observe that Graves’s office is not dictatorial in nature and that institutional momentum remains, as do internal factions, which retain their power inside the organization. The ECB, like many organizations these days, is designed to obscure the lines of authority. Lack of clarity on who is responsible for selection? That’s not a bug, that’s a feature.

      Moreover, Graves’s opinions are what they are, not what everyone would like them to be. Even what they are is hard to tell, as much as all one has to go on are various statements made in unclear context.

      Like

      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 5:06 pm

        The analogy holds for the very reasons you so kindly adumbrate.

        Like

      • Zephirine May 5, 2015 / 8:27 pm

        ‘adumbrate’, now there’s a word it’s a pleasure to meet on a comment thread.

        Like

      • Pontiac May 5, 2015 / 11:48 pm

        I’m just sayin’ as a middle-aged-getting USAian, I’m pretty happy to be able to obtain health insurance on the open market at reasonable cost when I need to, & that we’re not at war with Russia or Iran presently, is all.

        Like

      • paulewart May 6, 2015 / 5:14 am

        In response to your later post. Yes, there’s wriggle room if little else and Obama’s achieved a great deal in that limited space.

        Like

    • The Nibbler May 5, 2015 / 3:24 pm

      I’m rapidly losing respect for Ed Smith. He’s a really fine writer but I’m beginning to think he’s be nobbled along with Aggers into batting for Cook and Moores.
      During the first innings of the last test on TMS and repeated on Twitter he repeatedly mentioned Cook getting 50+ in six of nine Test innings but failed to mentioned that in the previous nine his highest score was 28. This selective use of stats suggests that even my beloved TMS has an editorial agenda.
      I too look forward to seeing how Mr Boycott is treated when they return to the airwaves.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus May 5, 2015 / 3:31 pm

        He really isn’t a fine writer. Not in my estimation. This piece is just another “Twitter is full of nutters” diatribe that’s been churned out every time their profession, in particular, is challenged. A vociferous tiny minority can be easily read across as a “bunch of zealots, socially unadjusted, no-one cares nutters”. Nothing great in this.

        Social media is lovely when it agrees with them. They can’t control it, and they pay for it. What you have commenting on social media and the BTL are core supporters – not all, but some. Don’t try to skew it….

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Nibbler May 5, 2015 / 3:40 pm

          That piece is an exception IMO as I’ve always enjoyed his books and articles for ESPN.
          He is not a journalist that’s for sure (neither is Aggers – who is a very good broadcaster) so I don’t bracket him with the rest of the supine cricket press (Dobell excluded) that are more concerned with keeping their place on the gravy train following England around the world than doing their job and exposing those responsible for the utter incompetence were enduring right now.

          Like

      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 5:11 pm

        He’s a dreadful writer, a platitudinous cretin who fillets popular science and sports books from across the Atlantic and rehashes them as homilies. He’s smug, humourless and very, very dull.

        I’m sorry, I just don’t get this Ed Smith love-in: an average cricketer, a subpar and remarkably credulous writer.

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 5, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      Those who get it, who truly get it, are fearful. People who blog are reaching more people than ever before, so who needs the cricket journo if he’s just reproducing ECB copy.

      Ed Smith knows the score. He’s just not saying it out loud. You write a duff piece, it’s torn limb from limb and you are shown up. It’s not a tiny minority, but someone marking your homework, and that upsets them.

      I know, trust me.

      Like

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        Can you find his “mob” article we all loved so much in the HDWLIA days?

        Like

      • The Nibbler May 5, 2015 / 4:03 pm

        There is still a place for good journalists in the digital age. The key word there is good i.e. reporting something the powers that be wouldn’t want published.
        As you’ve written before; they have access, bloggers don’t. The horror is they do nothing with it and reduce themselves to hack-status.
        By not doing their jobs properly they can only compete on opinions and in most cases they almost always come second as bloggers have nothing to lose and are generally much funnier and insightful.

        Like

      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 5:14 pm

        Hence the blind panic in the print media when Brand met Milliband and M’s pointed observation that Murdoch isn’t as powerful as he once was.

        Like

    • Silk May 5, 2015 / 3:49 pm

      When you are claiming (or implying, as Smith does here) that one can safely ignore what the vox pops are saying because the “silent majority” agree with you, you’ve lost the argument.

      Every poll that was run on every outlet I showed a 3:1 (ish) ratio in support of KP (whatever the question was).

      It’s bollocks, and they know it. (It’s also irrelevant bollocks, since KP isn’t the problem. I don’t care whether I’m in a minority of one in thinking that Moores is dragging this team down. Because I’m right, and it’s as blooming clear as the nose on my face)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Benny May 5, 2015 / 8:06 pm

        The laughable thing is that because the silent majority are silent, Ed Smith has no idea what they are thinking. Could be that they all think as we do. Certainly many of the social media contributors talk to others around them and have a better understanding of popular opinion than those who inhabit the tiny world of the press box

        Like

    • thebogfather May 5, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      What is he trying to prove by RT an article that is 11 months old? Could he not write something himself?

      Like

    • keyserchris May 5, 2015 / 4:24 pm

      Ed Smith, a man so intelligent, we have to be constantly reminded of it:

      “Yet Pietersen’s vociferous Twitter advocates, who cling to the idea that his sacking was the result of a bizarre Machiavellian plot, are not representative of the entire community of England fans. Far from it. For every tweeter who stabs the word “Disgrace!” into his smartphone, a thousand other cricket fans could quietly be saying, “It’s perfectly understandable,” over the breakfast table without anyone noticing. We never hear the whole national conversation, merely the shouting outside the bar at closing time.”

      So the Pietersen advocates are not representative of England fans, on the basis that thousands “could” be silently disagreeing with their point of view. Utterly fatuous reasoning.

      Hope he’s not on TMS this summer, I drew his stint in the car home from work nearly every sodding day during the windies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 4:46 pm

        Don’t you just love that contrast between ‘tweeters’ with their ‘smartphone’ and ‘fans’ with their ‘breakfast table’?

        Liked by 2 people

      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 5:17 pm

        But he isn’t. Intelligent that is. He ha no critical faculties.

        Like

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 8:07 pm

        So did I. Unbelievable it was. Him and Swann within 5 minutes of turning on the radio, almost every time. Honestly as unbearable as Darren Fletcher and Robbie Savage.

        Like

      • Benny May 5, 2015 / 8:08 pm

        Must say that I never sit down at my breakfast table with the remotest interest in what Ed Smith thinks of the latest issues

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan May 5, 2015 / 8:39 pm

        Same here. Was gutted when I jumped in the car and put the cricket on and would here the 2 plonkers Smith and Swann jabbering away. This happened almost every day, ocassionally I caught a snippet of Boycs or Vaughan, which I enjoyed……

        Like

  13. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    Possible reason not to be too disheartened if it is Strauss? The article doesn’t give any specifics on what these ‘limitations’ are – but it could suggest the role is more like what Shastri has been doing with India than a football-type manager.

    Like

    • Zephirine May 5, 2015 / 5:03 pm

      Looking at the various statement that have been made, it looks as if the big headline stuff about how England (and Wales) cricket is going to look in the future will be the territory of Harrison and Graves.
      Seems they may want the DoC to be a sort of uber-coach and uber-selector – his task is to deliver wins in the WC and the Ashes, remember.
      Oh God, every time I describe this job it sounds more like Andy Flower.

      Like

      • paulewart May 5, 2015 / 5:19 pm

        Vaughan and Fletcher would have been the dream team, Vaughan and Gillespie an alternative V could have done the media/showman stuff and allowed the coaches to get on with what they do best.

        Like

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 5:55 pm

        Trying to be positive (not easy and not my nature!) could it be a more enlightened relationship with franchise cricket could come out of this? Strauss has made positive noises about the IPL. Could a major part of his brief be a re-negotiation of central contracts so that players could take part in the IPL (and BBL)?

        Could the ECB be about to notice it’s the 21st century? Probably not – but there’s maybe a faint possibility.

        Like

  14. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    New Switch Hit posted.

    Like

    • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 8:16 pm

      Lots of George Dobell defending Moores on Switch Hit (he makes the case as well as anyone could – and certainly better than the ECB have done – but, sorry, I’m not buying) but a couple of interesting nuggets buried away:
      1) Strauss favours separate Test and ODI coaches.
      2) Someone from the ECB was going around in the West Indies asking the press if Moores should stay (that’s something that needs coming back to somewhen) and the answer ‘yes’ was not what they wanted to hear. Who might that be?

      Also this line from Brenkley tells an uncomfortable truth about where England are I think:
      “They are nowhere near as good as they suppose they are, but the deeper concern is that they do not have the potential to be as good as they think they can be”.

      Like

      • metatone May 5, 2015 / 8:20 pm

        Separate ODI and Test coaches could be a good way forward.
        Pace Andy Bull’s piece on the overworking of players, the sheer time on the road has to grind on the coach too. Imagine being stuck with Cook for conversational company for months on end?

        Like

      • dvyk May 5, 2015 / 8:55 pm

        “Someone from the ECB was going around in the West Indies asking the press if Moores should stay”

        That rings a bell (no pun intended). Didn’t some jopurnalist report Whitaker asking him who the coach should be? Or was it Downton?

        They approach the whole thing like it’s politics — both testing the wind and trying to manipulate public opinion, and when everything falls to bits, trying to force through their agenda without regard for reality. The sport itself is only important in as much as they know they’re required to put 11 players on a field occasionally, to run around and perform acrobatics.

        No wonder the whole thing is utter bedlam. In fact it’s been bedlam at least since the Stanford affair, in my opinion, just it wasn’t always so visible as it has been for the last 12 months.

        Like

      • dvyk May 5, 2015 / 8:57 pm

        I’m thinking of the post Ashes time, just after Downton started, with the thing about them asking the media.

        Like

      • hatmallet May 5, 2015 / 9:21 pm

        Separate coaches is more likely work with a Director of Cricket above them. Ensures that one independent person sets the agenda. Flower+Giles didn’t work out because Flower set the agenda and this apparently led to frequency differences between the two.

        Like

      • paulewart May 6, 2015 / 5:19 am

        Someone might make the link between free to air and the denuding of state schools one day…..

        Like

  15. Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    Who’s looking forward to Radio 5 at 9:45 then? Cricket round table with Agnew, Swann, Ed Smith, Simon Hughes and Steve Harmison.

    Poor Harmy…

    Like

    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:02 pm

      Listening now. Jesus it’s a circle jerk of shite.

      Blah blah blah Colin Graves is to blame blah blah blah. Agnew couldn’t wait to tell everyone the WI posted the comments up in the dressing-room AFTER THE GAME had finished. So the England team could see them. No mention of the limited effect on the first 2 test matches. No mention of Cooks comments about the WI being demoralised.

      Had to turn it off now, the eulogising of Strauss and how we don’t want some one who would have come in and shaken everything up reduced me to projectile vomiting.

      It should come with a Govt warning….. There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of Cook and his mates.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 9:04 pm

        Still Hughes (ex Middlesex and known Cook lover) to come….

        Like

      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:13 pm

        Oh no Harmison is attacking Boycott now.. “He is bang out of order.” Harmys gone to the dark side. These people are insane.

        It’s wall to wall Colin Graves and Boycott. Can’t help thinking this is an attempt to intimidate Graves into saying nothing in the future.

        “Geoff Boycott has tweeted Yorkshire would beat England”.

        Harmison ” who would Plunket get in for? Broad has played 70 test matches “. Right there Mr Harmison is everything that is wrong with England. Players being picked on reputation

        Liked by 1 person

      • MM May 5, 2015 / 11:18 pm

        “it’s a circle jerk of shite”… a punditoidal human centipede?

        Like

      • Pontiac May 6, 2015 / 12:03 am

        From where I’m sitting, all this going on inside the ECB seems real simple. Heck, maybe I’m wasting space by saying it.

        ECB administrative legitimacy extends directly from the 18 counties collectively, and therefore down to whatever members in those counties do to elect their county leadership which ultimately installs those who run the ECB. Therefore the ECB is responsible to nobody else ahead of that county member constituency. In particular, not the country at large, not the cricketing public, nothing and nobody at all.

        So within that world there’s got to be some kind of power dynamic, or at least sub groups of people who are going to share deeper connections than with the rest of the group at large.

        Therefore, what really is all this but a factional fight inside English cricket between the Yorkshire (crowd) vs some Various Others (crowd)? I think connection to Yorkshire is a decent correlate of what ex-player X or press-figure Y will profess about various issues.. Consider perhaps things going back even to the nonsense over Yorkshire’s captain at the end of the last county season.

        The fact that whatever’s going on is still ongoing may have to do with why Clarke’s been kicked upstairs instead of out, etc.

        Like

  16. Rav Roberts May 5, 2015 / 8:32 pm

    Feel sorry for Harmy

    Like

    • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Agnew just said Strauss to be appointed tomorrow.

      Send for the plumbers…..

      Like

      • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 8:59 pm

        “Take the last Test out and England’s Test form has been exceptional.”

        Swann.

        These people are a joke.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 9:01 pm

        “England have lost one Test match in the last six months”. That one from Swann.

        Strauss-Moores “the dream ticket” asks Agnew.

        Like

  17. Rohan May 5, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    Is anyone watching Warne, Jayawardene and KP discussing modern batting/bowling in T20 cricket with Ian Ward. It is absolutely brilliant. Credit to Ian Ward, he is superb at drawing out the experiences and insight from the ex-pros.

    The insight and knowledge being discussed/passed on and which Warne, Jayawardene and KP have is astounding. The contrast between watching and listening to this and much of the discussion provided by the likes of Swann, Ed Smith, Botham, Strauss etc. is stark. Pure quality versus mediocrity, the second being much like the current England team…..

    Surprise, surprise they are now all advocating bowling yorkers, England are you listening!?

    Like

    • Mike May 5, 2015 / 8:57 pm

      Absolutely fascinating stuff there from those three.

      When Warne’s not doing his channel 9 “what’s your favourite pizza” schtick, he’s very interesting to listen to. Likewise Mahela and KP.

      As Rohan notes, Ian Ward is very good in these analytical bits. Really good.

      Like

      • Tuffers86 May 5, 2015 / 10:43 pm

        As much as we like to decry Sky, they are always very good at finding a link man in any sport.

        Ian Ward is usually spot on in most cases. His dispatches to Trinidad with Lara and Warne/Tendulkar were good. And the KP batting masterclass. Heavens, people actually learn things with him.

        Like

    • paulewart May 6, 2015 / 5:25 am

      21st century v 20th century?

      Like

  18. Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    “Boycott comments a disgrace”
    “Cook is nice, humble, universally liked by teammates and opponents”

    That’s Harmison not Hughes. Last hope gone. Why are a fair few fans on social media saying they can see Boycott’s point then? This is starting to sound like a politician being supported by his school chums and social circle.

    Like

    • Mike May 5, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      It’s the inability to separate valid criticism from the personal which makes me want to scream.

      Like

  19. Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    Hughes is talking bollocks now about Boycott and Vaughn . “Uncomfortable to listen too”

    You want to try listening to yourself Hughes for the last 12 months. You and Agnew and smith and Swann with your pro Cook clap trap. This is wall to wall Cook Pravda. Shocking BBC via. Not a single,voice to give the other point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:22 pm

      BBC bias on a terrible scale here. They are all pro Cook pro Strauss snake oil salesman.

      Oh FFs here comes “We will beat New Zealand” Etheridge. Oh we are building for 2019 World Cup. Great good luck with that because it was such a success last time we built for 2 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 9:23 pm

      Hughes was seriously discussing a Yorkshire mafia, when we’re about to replace one Middx man with another at the top, when capt and former coach are Essex, when the current coach and assistant are Lancs, when Middx and Essex ex-pros are just as prominent as Yorkshire in the media.

      Oh, and now we’re meant to be reassured that this is a “different Strauss” because he’s been listening to motivational speeches and business gurus since he left the game. Because more managerialism is what we really need.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark May 5, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        They are delusional. Quite delusional.

        Yorkshire Mafia. How about the Cook mafia.

        So Strauss has turned into Tony Robbins. He will be flogging self help books and singing Kumbya.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tuffers86 May 5, 2015 / 10:50 pm

        And this isn’t good for TMS, they are basically stitching up their colleagues FFS. And the poor sods have no right to reply. Yes. There is a civil war in English cricket.

        I was listening to Dennis and Lalit Modi the other night. Modi is right, if Subhash really wants to start a rebellion, England is a good place to start.

        These idiots and there media arseholes wouldn’t see it coming.

        Like

  20. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 9:23 pm

    John Etheridge on – he’s said Moores could be gone within a week and he’s also said the DoC role is not going to be like a football-style supremo but more of a long-term strategist (which has enraged Harmison). He’s also mentioned finding a better relationship with the IPL.

    Like

    • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 9:28 pm

      Etheridge thinks Gillespie will be coach. Harmison thinks he doesn’t want it.

      Like

      • SimonH May 5, 2015 / 9:31 pm

        “England have played good cricket since the middle of last summer except two hours in Barbados”. Harmison that was.

        Hughes was only really asked about ‘the Yorkshire mafia’ so a disappointing lack of nonsense to relay from him.

        Like

    • Simon K May 5, 2015 / 11:45 pm

      It sounds to me as if the DoC is primarily going to be a comms role, with its occupant being “the face of England cricket” and the coach(es) left to do their coaching. Arguably the MD role should have been this anyway but Downton never had the media nous to do it well (despite ‘aplomb’, etc).

      If that’s the case then it may be the executive responsibilities are quite limited which may be why Vaughan didn’t want to do it.

      Like

      • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 7:28 am

        Nasser Hussain in the DM is quoted as saying from what he has heard the DoC role is more Hugh Morris than Ray Illingworth.

        Like

  21. Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    Aplomb II: The Sequel.

    This time it’s professional.

    Like

  22. SimonH May 5, 2015 / 9:39 pm

    I’d say it’s looking pretty grim for Moores after all that. Etheridge’s point that Strauss will want to make a strong, early decision to show he is not the Establishment/conservative/safety first candidate is a good one.

    Nick Hoult’s analysis of Strauss and Moores:
    “Strauss is no fan of the methods of the England head coach, Peter Moores, He felt that Ashley Giles should have got the job last year and England missed out on a man who would have been an “outstanding coach”. When he took over as captain following the split between Moores and Pietersen, he moved quickly away from the “teacher/pupil” environment he felt had developed between coaches and players. Like Vaughan, he admired Moores’s great enthusiasm and energy but after nearly a decade as an international player, Strauss also recognises that at the top level cricketers need an environment that takes the pressure off the individual. Moores was saved from the sack after the World Cup thanks to the support of the players and Alastair Cook. He is popular with his team which suggests they have bought into his methods in a way not possible last time around”.

    Strauss and Cook heading for the rocks?

    Like

    • Rohan May 5, 2015 / 10:07 pm

      Going back to Giles, one simple reason he was not picked – KP. Giles wanted him in his team the ECB did not, the rest is history (for Giles, read also Kirsten, Wright, Moody etc.) #outstandingcoachofhisgeneration He got the job, poor bloke, Downton really lumbered him there……

      Like

  23. Arron Wright May 5, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Strauss has continued to advise the ECB on cricket matters since 2012, according to Nick Hoult.

    Clive’s earlier comment about the Borgias is starting to sound even more apposite.

    Like

    • Zephirine May 5, 2015 / 10:01 pm

      I read somewhere that Vaughan had some sort of consultancy with the ECB as well, though apparently he stopped when Peter Moores got appointed the second time. So maybe it’s not sooo sinister. Just a bit.

      Like

    • metatone May 5, 2015 / 11:14 pm

      I think part of the problem at Loughborough seems to be a desire to re-engineer bowlers into something they are not. (Witness this story and all the stuff about Rashid needing extra mph.)

      Perhaps it would be more fruitful to concentrate on those who naturally have the desired pace and teach them some seam position etc? That at least might cause fewer injuries.

      Like

    • paulewart May 6, 2015 / 5:34 am

      Dear oh dear.

      Like

  24. Mark May 5, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    Did they pay a recruitment agency to find Strauss?

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 5, 2015 / 10:07 pm

      Swann is calling people who don’t accept his word as gospel “keyboard warriors”. He’s a one. ..

      Like

  25. MM May 6, 2015 / 12:00 am

    In my mind’s eye I can see, in a decade’s time, a completely grey Cook in a pirate-y eyepatch taking a guard of honour from England’s backroom staff at an otherwise utterly empty Lords (except for the triffids proliferating at the media centre end) after we beat India in the 16th Test of that Summer.

    The team itself is on inquiry lockdown mode after Joe Root spectacularly defecated on the outfield at the fall of the final wicket. The MSM are calling it a “purely physical manifestation of Joe’s cheeky banter” on social media. Joe himself is blaming it on the tub of chickpea and butternut squash curry he found in the corner of the dressing room. It apparently said Best Before December 2013 on the lid.

    Meanwhile on the boundary edge, Andrew Strauss (sporting a very luxurious and curly hair transplant) talks to Sir Graeme Swann about building for the 2027 World Cup and the 2028 Ashes. More than likely.

    Somewhere, possibly down south but it could just as easily be Yorkshire, the last recreational side in that county is having its ground levelled by CostaGreggsMcAldiStarbucks, Inc. The distraught chairperson, a club member ever since he could pick up a bat, throws himself under one of the diggers. Ed Smith – in the grip of a very delayed midlife crisis – tweets #YOLFO! on the poor sod’s memorial website.

    Damn these blue Smarties, but I may yet be proven correct.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zephirine May 6, 2015 / 12:19 am

      Very good, and it will probably all happen.

      But blue Smarties are wrong, just wrong. There never used to be blue ones, not in real Smarties, not back in the day. I’m told that they’re now less horribly bright blue than they were at first, but they’re still wrong.

      Like

      • MM May 6, 2015 / 12:27 am

        Heck, they’re Smarties. It’s chocolate, fundamentally. Personally I’m more troubled by the yellow ones.

        I’m off to bed, Zeph. It’s more than late now. Wonder what giggles the ECB and MSM have for us on Wednesday. Pfsssssssssst!

        Like

  26. waikatoguy May 6, 2015 / 12:43 am

    The whole DoC search seems quite an odd one to me..simply because the main criteria seems to be “must have captained England at some point”. All the names discussed so far seem to have that in common; ie Strauss, Vaughan, Stewart, Hussain. But why cant it be someone from overseas? Or indeed why not someone who has done the job in count cricket (or something similar) even though they might not have captained England in the past. I mean actually picking someone who has a track record as a DoC might seem strange to some, but it seems to me to be a reasonable place to start. Of the talked about candidates that only leaves Stewatrt, who some say has done the job but not really excelled at it. But why not Moxon as DoC? Previous commentors above seem to think he has done a reasonably good job at it. And then why not Gillespie as coach? The two seem to work well together. Yes I know they are both hold jobs at the moment at Yorkshire, but that doesn’t seem to me to be a reason not to appoint them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 7:34 am

      “I mean actually picking someone who has a track record as a DoC might seem strange to some, but it seems to me to be a reasonable place to start.

      Far too sensible! Jarrod Kimber made the same point on a cricinfo discussion – but I’ve not seen or read a single UK journalist focus on that issue. It’s being treated like a long-service award for ex-England captains.

      Like

      • PaulE May 6, 2015 / 8:53 am

        Indeed. It’s the Martin Johnson syndrome.

        Like

      • Pontiac May 6, 2015 / 12:12 pm

        Aren’t many of the ECB positions long service awards for someone or other? That’s why the backroom staff is so big and that’s also why it’s probably going to be internally politically tough for the ECB to scale back.

        Like

  27. Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 6:34 am

    Overnight Twitter highlight: conversation between Mike Selvey, George Dobell (in a bar together) and a third party.

    Like

  28. Tuffers86 May 6, 2015 / 7:31 am

    Dobell shouldn’t have engaged. Must’ve been pissed

    Like

    • thebogfather May 6, 2015 / 9:54 am

      I’d have to be p!ssed to share a beer with Selfie…

      Like

  29. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 8:03 am

    Lawrence Booth says in the DM his ECB sources say Moores is in trouble but is likely to be given the NZ series.

    That fits in with what John Etheridge said on R5 which was that he expects Gillespie to be in place by the start of the Ashes.

    Like

    • Mark May 6, 2015 / 8:29 am

      So another great example of England’s planning. Leave it to the eve of the Ashes and then panic and get a new coach.

      New coach, new MD, but the captain stays without question. I find it mind boggling. Swann was banging on all through the last test about the poor field settings for England’s spin bowlers. “they’re not learning” he said. No Swanny, your great mate is not learning. But you can’t say that can you?

      Boycott has really upset the Cook groupies. They can’t dismiss one of the worlds greatest opening batsman as an outsider. Neither can they dismiss one of England’s great captains Michael Vaughn as a no nothing loony. So they whisper about wired Yorkshire conspiracies. They are shocked at the language he used. It’s too personal they cry.

      That would be the same people who relished Strauss calling KP a C**t. The same Selvey who had it as his highlight of the year. But Geoffey giving them some hard truths brings on the fainting couch. I repeat, Cook is the elephant in the room. Until he is removed from captain nothing can change. He is a giant blockage in the system and needs flushing away.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 8:39 am

        “Boycott has really upset the Cook groupies”.

        Look who’s back to give us Exhibit A:

        “They are shocked at the language he used. It’s too personal they cry”.

        And from someone who would never be personally abusive about, oh say, England’s highest ever run-scorer, we have Exhibit B:

        Like

      • PaulE May 6, 2015 / 8:55 am

        Couldn’t agree more.

        Like

      • Mark May 6, 2015 / 9:21 am

        Simon these people don’t do irony.

        Hey Pam can I call you a c**t? You like the word c**t? Your great heroes think it’s fine calling someone a C**t. Highlight of his year apparently. Was that shameful? Domt remember you having any problem with it.

        You thought it was marvellous when it ws being dished out to KP. How you all giggled with relish when the word c**t was being bandied about by your gormless chums. How you all enjoyed KP being booed at finals day. The fake niceness drips off these people.

        Pammy should be a character on Midsomer murders. Fake niceness and tea and cake at the Vicarage and then a dagger in the back.

        Like

      • thebogfather May 6, 2015 / 11:18 am

        drop the antagonism and laughter at any BTL/twitter persons, it’s the ECB that needs our concise comments/intrigue/occasional humour/sarcasm/ encouragement to listen.
        This is what this blog (and TFT, a few others… including using Twitter) can bring to a wider circle – don’t become btl Telegraph (I read a btl line for the first time last night – no wonder MSM take the P, TheGu is better, sometimes)
        Let’s use this blog – with permission from Dmitri/Leggy – for concise debate, the occasional smart/humourous/cynical remark/investigative stats(not my thing) and links to other such…

        nor forgetting wondrous poetry type thingies too… 😉

        Sorry for butting in – true rant due when ECB line-up is announced!

        Thank you!

        Like

  30. Arron Wright May 6, 2015 / 10:58 am

    TFT comments section just hit a new low. In dire need of one of those “this is not a democracy, people” comments from the editor(s) I think.

    Like

  31. thebogfather May 6, 2015 / 11:03 am

    Selvey wouldn’t know a parochial alley, unless ECB to him be pally… he has no views unless he is told, he has no excuse, his exclusives still hidden, yet to unfold…

    Like

  32. SimonH May 6, 2015 / 11:10 am

    This should get a few going…..

    Like

    • Rav Roberts May 6, 2015 / 11:39 am

      Eh? Has KP completely lost his mind?! Surely he realises that it’s not about bringing ‘the public back to the team’ but about keeping money and sponsors with the ECB. Money is what counts… unless its for KP himself (when it’s referred to as ‘filthy lucre’ by Cambridge Uni educated folks).

      Like

    • Zephirine May 6, 2015 / 11:45 am

      Think the team needs to come back to the public, Kev. We didn’t leave them, they left us.

      Like

      • metatone May 6, 2015 / 11:50 am

        Don’t think we’re at a moment where KP can say that, even if he thinks it. (And I’ve no idea what he thinks.)

        Like

      • Mark May 6, 2015 / 12:05 pm

        That’s how I feel, the,ECB left many of the supporters behind. Paddy Briggs has a piece up where he points out that Captain Cook didn’t even acknowledge all the fans who had paid a fortune to go out to the WI. Travel, hotels, tickets, and they get a spineless, joyless capitulation in three days. And Captain fantastic doesn’t even bother to mention them.

        Now I am sure many of them are staunch Cook supporters, and don’t really care but even so, it’s typical of this set up and this captain. And then to listen to the drivel last night from the ECB Pravda was just too much. Agnew whinging like a baby about Colin Graves. Nobody challenged this false narrative.

        Why didnt the WI win the first 2 test matches if they where that pissed off Jonathon? And if making stupid comments is not right what about Cooks claims that the WI were devastated after the second test? I guess just another Cook throw away line that will be air brushed out of history.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH May 6, 2015 / 12:49 pm

        Perhaps Warren Deutrom can declare he expects Ireland to beat this mediocre England side and there’ll be enquiries if they don’t? The mystical motivational power those words have…..

        I always thought it was the “enquiries” part that produced the high dudgeon as much as the “mediocre”. The idea that there might be some accountability! The challenge to the move forward, taking the positives, moving in the right direction narrative. The MSM have been so far up on their high horses most of them haven’t noticed the mention that there aren’t going to be any enquiries.

        Meanwhile, I can’t help but feel that there will be a few not displeased if it hoses down all day Friday.

        Like

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