Lament

Well, good morning/afternoon all. It has been an interesting one to wake up to, I have to tell you. I’ll leave “proper” politics because there’s a ton more places to look for it than on here, and it divides rather than unites which is never good in my book. So let’s talk about the sort of politics we all love to indulge in and that’s from the good old ECB.

I think you all remember the aftermath of the Ashes debacle when in the infamous February press release, the most heinous crime anyone could perpetrate in the English cricket firmament was to breach the sanctity of the dressing room. There were certain journalists who were said to be “anal about leaks” but that didn’t stop them talking out of that orifice on a daily basis. The people on this board, out there in the world aren’t stupid, and they know these stories don’t just appear out of thin air. These journalists have contacts, have their way to read the runes, because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs. I’m not sure it is, as John Etheridge I believe once said “more good journalism than leaks”, but it’s something that annoys us all.

So we can’t be all up in arms because the news leaked regularly about Kevin Pietersen and not be when it affected Cook (in December when his sacking from the ODI captaincy got out) and now seems to be for Moores. I know the journalistic corps will accuse me of naivety and all that, and that this is how the world works, but it doesn’t make it right. I’m going out on a limb here and say that although I didn’t support the appointment of Peter Moores (reeked of a pre-ordained Flower-inspired stitch up) and don’t particularly rate him as an international coach (this progress we are making seems rather ephemeral to me – as Grenada / Barbados seems to indicate) he comes across as a very decent man trying his best, and the one thing that those people deserve above all else is to be treated with the same decency. If this is proved, and I note Lawrence Booth for one is saying this didn’t necessarily come from the ECB, to be from high-placed official sources then more shame on them. This is not the way a new and improved organisation does business, and if it is one of the exiting old guard doing it, well….. you know what you should do about that.

The responsibility for a leak goes to the source of the information. So if the ECB told someone in confidence that the decision had been made, and then this gets out, it’s the ECB’s fault for trusting that confidence. The fact is that if this is the case here, and that’s the message coming out here, there’s always the convenient “plausible deniability” on behalf of this organisation which seems to make key decisions ahead of appointees taking up their roles. Indeed, Strauss hasn’t even been officially announced yet, and he’s supposed to be the one either doing the sacking or rubber-stamping it.

I see one of the commenters BTL on the Guardian is going on about us conspiracy theorists again. I’m glad these people are so trusting of those in authority to think that way and just let those running the game to do as they please, no questions asked. Trust those inside the game. But from the outside there seems to be a bit of a power struggle within the ECB and I have no idea how it is going to pan out. The deserved sacking of Downton, a man who should never have been appointed, seems more and more like a piece of meat thrown to us “slobbering hordes”.  We then replace his role with something not yet defined, and when they found out that not many people were interested in a Downton-lite role, the new revolution stumbled across an old pillar to effect whatever it is Harrison and Graves think is needed, which at this stage, we don’t have a clue about. Memo to all here, I’m not buying what Harrison is selling, not at all. Now to appease the hordes again, we are going to fire a coach AFTER a series where we could have looked at new players, but the coach and captain were too keen to bolster positions and didn’t try much. This isn’t a new bold strategy, but something else too familiar. Clueless, aimless and now heartless. The absence of a decent media strategy, treating people in their employment with dignity and class, and allowing things to just get out there, however they get there, isn’t great. It really isn’t.

Lawrence Booth, Jonathan Agnew and Ali Martin can all put their side of the story any time they like – they are more than welcome to here, but I would not expect that. How this news got out there matters to people. It speaks of an organisation seeking to regain our trust, to re-engage with us, to make us proud of the England cricket team again and to bridge the divide. This is not what is happening. The divisions aren’t now a simple chasm down the middle framed by a decision to sack Pietersen. They are becoming fractures, along familiar fault lines, but fractures nonetheless. Those that were original members of the outside cricket club see more of the same. Those who were more attuned to the ECB way of thinking see appeasement of the great unwashed. Those of a more sceptical bent than the ECB line to takers see increasing incompetence and doubt creeps in, like rot in a wooden building. The Cook fans see devilment in every utterance on the doubts in his form. The KP fans see an ECB talking out of both sides of its mouth. The ECB are further away than ever from gaining public trust. Their ultimate test was to keep their traps shut and do this the right way. They haven’t. It’s a bloody PR disaster.

Just one thought, that could negate much of this, but not all. The only explanation that gets the ECB partially off the hook is that the leak came from Peter Moores himself, or someone close to him. In which case we can make our own judgements on him. That said, it would seem a little out of character, wouldn’t it?

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36 thoughts on “Lament

  1. hatmallet May 8, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    “he comes across as a very decent man trying his best”

    Without wanting to bring too much politics into this, someone on the Telegraph compared Miliband and Moores in passing, saying both were cretins.

    My response was that neither are cretins, but I think it’s just a case of over-promotion. Miliband is probably a good cabinet member or head of some department, Moores is a fine county coach. But positions like leader of the opposition, prime minister and England head coach are just one step too far. Doesn’t mean they aren’t bad people or don’t try hard, just not good enough for their jobs.

    As for the leaks, it is rather depressing. I would have hoped that culture would be improving under Harrison and Graves but I guess it takes time to implement, especially if they don’t know who is leaking.

    Like

  2. SimonH May 8, 2015 / 5:14 pm

    Selvey has his cricketing obituary up and needless to say there is much unintentional hilarity to be had:

    “At the time a personal view was that it was a good appointment in that he would have learned from the previous experience and not make that mistake again. In other words, his overall methods were sound. And Moores did change, to his detriment it may seem”.

    So it wasn’t Selvey’s abysmal judgment that was at fault – it was all Moores’ fault for changing!.

    “Ask the players themselves, most of them, and they will speak highly of his unflagging energy and support, and attention to detail: they like him a lot”.

    Well, they saw what happened to the last guy who criticised the coach. Anyway the players who are in the team might be a slightly skewed sample – what do those who should be there and aren’t think? And as for liking him – are we ever going to get away from these personal views in rating someone’s professional capability? Some of the more astute observers see these player testaments to Moores as part of the problem – it is all just too damned cliquey. Not Selvey.

    “The series loss to Sri Lanka was as close to being the reverse as another six inches of carry on a slip catch from the last ball of the first Test, and the survival of two more deliveries in the second would show. India were then overwhelmed and West Indies largely dominated until England were themselves overpowered on the third and final day in Bridgetown. Three Test defeats in 10 matches, one in each series played under him, is not earth shattering but not disastrous for a developing side starting from the level they had”.

    That just has to be deliberate trolling, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright May 8, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      Well Simon, Clive, everyone, what is your conclusion when he then pops BTL to link to Ed Smith’s social media piece with the words:

      “Some might find this helpful”.

      There are no depths he cannot plumb.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Clivejw May 8, 2015 / 9:56 pm

        Did you notice my comment about how wonderful it was for the self-styled Lord Selvey to come below to talk down to us again was deleted almost instantly, while westcork’s comment that I am “always the first shit in the toilet” was allowed to stand for four hours?

        Selvey is a arrogant oaf with a thin skin, and the fact that he thinks that Smith’s unoriginal, sophomoric essay is an irrefutable case for journalistic infallibility shows that he too, like Smith, has a second-rate mind.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright May 8, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      “Guardian sport comment section is out of hand and provides a forum for pernicious bullying”.

      Twitter.

      Like

        • LordCanisLupus May 8, 2015 / 9:20 pm

          Yes. Especially when other people involved in the story take the time to explain to you what they can and can’t say. I understand that fully. You see, those people sought to engage and discuss with us, not treat us as “bilious inadequates” or “failing to understand how journalism works” as if it’s the Manhattan Project when you get told something other people would really like to know. I’m not five years old, for crying out loud, and nor are those who question him.

          To think, some of you rather liked him a while back.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Arron Wright May 8, 2015 / 8:37 pm

        And Clive got modded for basically doing nothing more than writing “de haut en bas” in English.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. hatmallet May 8, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    Selvey on fine form. Apparently Moores should have been more like the V1 Moores now. Also a mention of “6 inches of carry”(TM).

    His analysis on the ODI side though is fair:

    “A lack of recognition from both Moores and his captain of the demands of a game that has developed almost exponentially in the last five years; the stubborn persistence with, and backing for, Alastair Cook as a player and captain until it was too late; and a World Cup campaign based on an antediluvian strategy that was doomed from the start.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jomesy May 8, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    No decency to be seen anywhere here. And it’s clear the journalists have been briefed – Ali and Hoult’s pieces are pretty much identical.

    If I were a coach is steer well clear of the ECB. Foot meet gun….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SimonH May 8, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    Please George, it’s understood you liked Moores and it was shoddily handled today, but can you resume normal service sometime soon…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rohan May 8, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    I was at a conference on Wednesday where the keynote speaker asked us if we were laser sharp. He then challenged us to go back to our schools and ask a colleague, one who we know will be honest, ‘am I laser sharp?’ It was about being in charge, ensuring we were delivering success for the pupils we are responsible for, about holding those we manage and lead to account, but also supporting them to help the pupils they teach to achieve. In short we were being reflective and being critical of our leadership as well as seeking critical comment!

    So what’s my point. Well I imagine all of us here have to do this. We all have to honestly assess our progress and ‘achievement’ at work. We all have accountability at some level and probably receive and provide constructive criticism; it is certainly a part of my job.

    This, however, seems completely alien to the ECB. It seems anathema to the ECB to even consider an honest approach. Yet, when so many of us work this way, why are they allowed to carry on as nicey nicey back-slapping good old chaps. I find it very hard to swallow.

    JUST BE HONEST!!

    Like

  7. paulewart May 8, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    ‘I’m going out on a limb here and say that although I didn’t support the appointment of Peter Moores…..he comes across as a very decent man trying his best, and the one thing that those people deserve above all else is to be treated with the same decency. ‘

    I don’t think you’re going out on a limb at all Dmitri. How could anyone disagree? He’s never been the right man for the job but has now been treated shabbily twice. Selvey’s behaviour today is beyond repugnant btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. paulewart May 8, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    All so avoidable. If Cook and Flower had been relieved of their duties following the Ashes we might just have moved on. There was no cult of Cook at the time, the dual resignation would have been both appropriate and cathartic: there’d have been few complaints. Instead we’re still dealing with the fall out 18 months later.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jomesy May 8, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Can’t find the link to Whittaker being rushed thru/failing his exams…pls can someone post? I wish to share on slevey’s site?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clivejw May 8, 2015 / 10:37 pm

      Unlike Lord Selfie, who has blocked anyone who disagrees with him on Twitter and only comes below the line on the Guardian to talk down to people and put them in their place, the 74-year-old Geoffrey Boycott interacts gamely with followers on Twitter, not ducking any tough questions. Well, he faced Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft without a helmet at the age of 40, he doesn’t need to wave Ed Smith’s sophomoric, logically challenged essay at us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 9, 2015 / 7:01 am

        I see palfreyman turned up with his usual back rub for the Lord.

        Like

      • Arron Wright May 9, 2015 / 7:06 am

        And Quebecer’s post just screams “pernicious bullying” and “bilious inadequate”, so it can be safely ignored.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Arron Wright May 8, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    “Bilious inadequates” now. This is amazing. I don’t get this mardy about people disagreeing with me over issues far more vital than cricket.

    Like

    • paulewart May 8, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Rather describes himself doesn’t it? I’d add jaundiced, splenetic, sclerotic and entitled.
      He’s some judge of character, eh? First Downton now Moores. You wouldn’t take betting advice from hm would you? You’d be bankrupt.

      Like

    • OscarDaBosca May 9, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      I think he has been reading ‘Outside Cricket’ too much and he doesn’t like what he reads.

      Like

  11. d'Arthez May 8, 2015 / 11:33 pm

    “The first time around, when he succeeded Duncan Fletcher, it was said the old lags in the side, used to the previous coach’s manner and ways, could not take Moores’ in-your-face challenging methods, something that most notoriously manifested itself when he insisted on a full-on training session right after a one-day international as a demonstration of physical and mental intent. ”

    The old lags being Strauss, Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen? Elaborate please Mike. Or is it only unreasonable criticism when it comes from a Pietermaritzburg-born player, rather than a Johannesburg-born player?

    “For all that, ask the players themselves, most of them, and they will speak highly of his unflagging energy and support, and attention to detail: they like him a lot, and why should they not for when it comes to cricket he is a caring, decent, passionate man.’

    It has been mentioned before, that criticising the coach is usually an act of career suicide. Or does that only apply to Pietermaritzburg-born players? Being decent does not win you cricketing matches, nor does that necessarily mean, you are actually suited to being a cricket coach. Just because I (think I am) a fairly decent person, does not make me a good chess coach, formula 1 driver, or brain surgeon. Actual relevant skills might inspire more confidence in my student, team of assorted mechanics, and patients respectively.

    That despite all the suits involved in running the ECB, the best line they can throw is that “he is a decent man”, just shows how skilled the headhunters were, and how deluded those with decision making powers were. They seem unable to consider reality.

    “India were then overwhelmed and West Indies largely dominated until England were themselves overpowered on the third and final day in Bridgetown.”
    Normally “overwhelming” tends to mean that you put in better performances through the entire series. The Lord’s fiasco suggests otherwise. And anyone who vaguely paid attention to what India did since then knows that they more or less got what they came for, and could hardly be bothered to turn up. But we know why revisionism is rife.

    Moores: “If the players think you can coach, you can coach. If the players think you can’t, then you can’t. Of course results count. But the emergence of teams and players – and I’ve built teams at Sussex and Lancashire, I’ve been through this three or four times at county and international level – is never a straightforward curve. It goes up and down. You invest in people you feel can go on and become special players.”

    The problem is that there is still not much evidence of an actual team being assembled. Most poignant example are the petty tantrums Cook throws. The idiotic fronting up by everyone to shore up a flagging captain. The cliques. Mates getting the nod ahead, no matter what (Trott in the third Test, Prior last summer, despite a 3-inch tear in his achilles).

    There are a couple of promising young individuals, to go with the established core (Root, Cook, Bell, Anderson, Broad). Cook has gotten some better results with the willow, but his captaincy is still dreadful. Bell’s form has tailed off. Broad looks like he’ll be struggling to walk when he hits 35, due to the wonderful medical team of the ECB, Root seems to have kicked on (though to what extent he is simply feasting on relatively weak bowling attacks has to be seen), Anderson is still bowling quite well when conditions offer him something.

    Various issues (opener, spin bowling, balance of the team) still have not been addressed. England give the impression that they’re stumbling from one calamity to the next. Moeen’s role is still unclear – batsman who bowls a bit, bowler or allrounder? The fact that he batted ahead of Stokes suggests that he is a batsman who bowls a bit. But then it makes no sense to crucify him for poor bowling returns, especially if we consider he just came back from injury.

    To some of the problems Moores contributed. Taylor at 6, Ballance at 3 in the World Cup being just one example. Some of his interviews were extremely poor (“Alastair has been excellent” on Day 5 at Headingley). The management waffle will not have inspired many supporters either.

    But not everything that went wrong is down to Moores. A fair number of issues were not of his making. He had to navigate troubled waters after the Ashes, and the aplomb of Downton, who may well have pressurized Moores into sticking with Cook in the ODI side. Selectors who made many odd calls. How Tredwell ended up in the Caribbean is a question for the ages. How Lumb never even got a look-in after the WI ODIs of 2014 is another.

    Moores also is a victim of Selfie et al. By exaggerating the achievements (the India series for example), by being so dismissive of the opposition beforehand, the press created unrealistic expectations. And I am not sure if I would blame Moores too much for Cook’s acts of idiocy and lunacy either. There were many precedents of that. Under Flower.

    The problem runs deeper, in the veins and arteries of the ECB itself. That structure needs to change. It might be a novel idea to the people who inhabit the ECB, but try and run a professional organization, that speaks with one voice, without all kinds of factions briefing for / against others. Think about the wellbeing of the players. Plan ahead for more than the next fixture. Look for ways to make the sport more accessible, both on TV as well as in real life. Improve the financial viability of the counties, instead of letting them live off the largesse of Sky.

    Liked by 2 people

    • BoerInAustria May 9, 2015 / 5:38 am

      Great post D’ and Dimy and all others on here.
      So the weakest link has been found. Good luck to Moores. Another victim of this mess.

      And as Bob Dylan wrote,as I understand now, about the ECB:

      When you think that you’ve lost everything
      You find out you can always lose a little more
      I’m just going down the road feeling bad
      Trying to get to Heaven before they close the door

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 9, 2015 / 11:02 am

      I’d add (as I always do, but it’s important) that India and now the WI series show a pattern of England capitalising on an opposition with little squad depth losing a key bowler. The opportunism is good, but it’s not a good basis to assess a trend on…

      Like

  12. SimonH May 9, 2015 / 9:49 am

    Lots of Twittering from Selvey this morning. There’s a fascinating exchange between him and Dan Brettig about Flower – Brettig hits the nail on the head about Flower and Selvey just can’t or won’t see it. That conversation won’t copy here so this’ll have to do instead:

    Like

  13. Mark May 9, 2015 / 9:55 am

    Selvey ….”Three Test defeats in 10 matches, one in each series played under him, is not earth shattering but not disastrous for a developing side starting from the level they had”.”

    Funny how he alternates between England being a “Developing side” when it suits him, and then boasting that England are number 3 in the world when people say they are not vey good.

    Selvey and his chums in the media , and the people at the ECB are like the Thatcher cabinet. All trying to asses who is sound…..”Is he one of us?” They thought Moores was “one of us.” After all, he was removed as captain by that uppity South African. They brought him back, and praised him to the high heavens, but then he wobbled. He refused to give whole hearted support to King Cook after Sri Lanka. And soon after Cook was gone from the ODI team for the World Cup.

    Oh dear, Moores wasn’t quite the one of us they thought. Now the new boy coming in is definitely “One of us.” Strauss is “One of us” through and through. He called the upity one a rude name. It was Selveys highlight of 2014 because it confirmed Srauss credentials as a staunch “one of us” member. So if Straussy thinks Moores should go, then go he should. And the “one of us” fan club will leak it with relish.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. MM May 9, 2015 / 10:11 am

    Has Moores actually gone? Has there been a leak, or is some malign ECB twat waving a fake plastic Moores’ head on a stick to see who writes the first obituary?

    I won’t mourn Moores’ departure at all. Glad if he goes. I’m sure he won’t go hungry and his quals will get him another county pretty quickly. Good luck, that county. He’s been behind some of our most toilet anti-cricket in the last year, such that it was becoming actually enjoyable to hate the England team. We are going to come sooo second this season it would be bonkers not to try another coach. However…

    Can’t you just be fired these days? Isn’t this like hanging, drawing, and quartering you before they’ve even taken you out of your cell?

    My flesh crawls at the thought that Strauss, Flower, and Cook may actually become the front and centre of the England team again. If Flower is still on a ton of money for sharpening the pencils at Loughborough, why not make him dance a bit harder for his wedge? No need for a very promising Antipodean, for example, who will want to ship out all the laptops and dog ball throwers. Ponder that: Flower 2.0… KP can go and score a gazillion runs for Surrey coz it won’t ever matter a sausage. The joy will continue to drain away from us. Seriously, the ECB have got plenty of form when it comes to re-instating those past their sell-by. Why the Hell wouldn’t they give Flower another crack? If Moores was the outstanding whatever of whenever, Flower was at least better than him once upon a time. As repellant as the thought is, I actually don’t know why the ECB wouldn’t consider Flower to replace Moores, especially if the dirty moolah does mean so much to them. Just a bit of budget shuffling, no biggie.

    The ECB take with one hand, and show us the finger with the other. Ba*sta*ds.

    Like

    • d'Arthez May 9, 2015 / 12:28 pm

      “Can’t you just be fired these days? Isn’t this like hanging, drawing, and quartering you before they’ve even taken you out of your cell?”

      That just does not happen anymore. That is not peculiar to cricket. It happens everywhere. Possibly because people who are clearly out of their depth, hang on to their jobs, in the knowledge that they’ll get a substantial payout if they’re fired. Quitting does not give you a penny.

      Steve Kean ring a bell?

      Like

  15. dvyk May 9, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Is the ECB actually planning to announce Moores’ dismissal and say who decided it and for what reasons?

    It’s fairly clear why he should lose the ODI coaching, although it should also be clearly explained who wanted Cook to persist as captain — Moores very pointedly rebuked Downton’s final assertion that Cook was nailed on. Did he want to sack Cook earlier and was told not to? WTF happened with all that nonsense? Cook doesn’t seem to have forgiven him for the “betrayal”.

    The reasons for sacking him from Test coaching are not so clear. If it’s based on results, then Cook must go too, as it was he more than anyone else who consistently threw away winning positions — 5 out of 10, as Clive has pointed out. And if one extends the count back to the Ashes, how many times was it that Aus were 5 down for not many and let off the hook?

    It looks to me more like the real reason is that he was always the wrong person for the job right from the start, as everyone Outside Cricket knew from the start. But the ECB can’t say that openly, as the universe will explode if any of them admit a mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM May 9, 2015 / 11:29 am

      DVYK – “the universe will explode if any of them admit a mistake” – ain’t that the modern way!

      And they wouldn’t apologise. It would be “we are sorry if you feel we made a mistake”.

      Double ba*sta*ds.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. PaulE May 9, 2015 / 11:39 am

    ‘Moores should run the Academy’.

    Well done Mike. Only a couple of weeks after Vaughan made the same point. Great insight.

    Like

  17. Clivejw May 9, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    A summary of Selvey’s latest article (in case my comment gets spiked):

    I thought Peter Moores would be successful this time around because he would change, but he failed because he didn’t stay the same.

    .

    Selfie, you’d look a whole lot better just by saying “…but boy, did I get that completely wrong.”

    Like

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