So I picked a good few days at the end of last week to be snowed under…
Dmitri has highlighted a few things about the peculiarities of the ECB actions, and as the days go by it seems they have learned absolutely nothing.
Firstly the sacking of Moores has handled with a complete lack of respect. Whether he should have been appointed for a second stint as England coach is one thing, but he was. Dumping him after a year is an open admission they got it completely wrong, just as they did with Downton, though with fewer excuses given Moores had done the job before. Naturally, there’s been no admission from the ECB of that, and naturally they managed to make a mess of it.
On Friday Moores took the England side to play Ireland in Dublin, and the morning papers were full of articles about his impending sacking. The television coverage consisted of commentators openly talking about it while the camera focused on him. Moores retained his dignity after his first period in office, refusing to criticise the ECB or complain about his treatment, indeed his conduct would have been part of the reason that they considered his return. He deserved far better than the public humiliation of leading the team to Ireland and having his removal an item of discussion while the camera focused in on him, just as he deserved far better than being the subject of numerous press articles that morning.
Moores may not have been the right person to be England coach, but that doesn’t make it remotely acceptable for someone in the ECB to have briefed the press about it all before the official announcement. The journalists are doing their jobs, there’s no criticism of them. There is criticism of the ECB for failing to treat an employee with the respect due to them. One must hope that Moores had already been advised of what was to happen before then, because anything else goes off the scale of dreadful treatment. It is to Moores’ immense credit if so that he still did his job that day.
The point here is that you don’t have to approve of Moores’ appointment or the job he was doing to be be aghast at his treatment. This is a decent man doing his best for the England team. Whether or not his best was good enough is entirely beside the point. Treating people like commodities to be discarded without recourse to their feelings has been a pattern of behaviour within the ECB for quite some time, and it seems clear that nothing has changed. Doubtless they will wonder what all the fuss is about; after all, the bilious inadequates weren’t happy about Moores’ appointment in the first place, so surely they got what they wanted and should pipe down and move on. No. Moores deserves an apology, and a public one. It is unacceptable in the extreme to treat him with such contempt.
Of course, the appointment of Strauss has led to numerous articles about what this means for Kevin Pietersen. Like others, it is intensely amusing to read the usual suspects who lament that Pietersen dares to be an issue write extensively about him while demanding that everyone else move on. Like a dog returns to his vomit so fools repeat their folly. But there is an important point here – if Pietersen is once again going to be told that he won’t be selected for England, then the ECB have told him lies. He came back into county cricket because he was led to believe there was an outside chance of him winning back his place in the England side. He gave up his IPL contract, and he donated his salary with Surrey to charity. He would not have done so if told he could forget any possibility of selection. Leave aside the practical matter of whether it is remotely sustainable should England have a poor summer, a restatement of his banishment is at odds with the indications they have given him.
Pietersen has a limited number of years left in the game. Leading him up the garden path and messing around with the remainder of his career would be a spiteful, vindictive thing to do.
And this is where the treatment of Moores and the treatment of Pietersen coincide. Not for the first time, the ECB have behaved with nothing but contempt for others. The defenders of them try to argue that the dreadful disaffected people are the problem, and that nothing the ECB could ever do would satisfy them. They can’t even treat their own employees or players with respect, it is hardly surprising that they don’t care about anyone else.
Let’s be abundantly clear. The treatment of Moores was loathsome. If they do what has been trailed in the press to Pietersen, that is repugnant. There are no justifications, no weasel words that make it more palatable. Simply an organisation that cannot even abide by standards of common decency towards other human beings.