Coach Wanted – Englishmen Need Not Apply

There’s a vacuum at the heart of the men’s England team right now. The question of who should be captain is in flux because there is no coach or selector to make that call. There is no coach or selector because there is no director of cricket to hire them. There is no director of cricket because there is no chair and the chief executive is too busy fleshing out his CV for his next victim employer.

There is a lot of speculation about who will fill these roles though, with a great many names mentioned. What is becoming increasingly clear is that almost no one believes the next coach will be English, and many wouldn’t be surprised if that was also the case for the director of cricket. Indeed, no current English county coach or director of cricket appears to have even applied.

All of which begs the question: If there are 18 county teams with 18 head coaches and (I’m guessing) 18 directors of cricket, how come not a single English candidate is qualified to lead the England team?

It should be emphasised that this is not a new problem. The last (and only) English head coach to win an Ashes series is Mickey Stewart in 1987, and the only English head coach to win a men’s T20 or ODI World Cup is Paul Farbrace in 2014 with Sri Lanka. Trevor Bayliss (Australian), Andy Flower (Zimbabwean) and Duncan Fletcher (Zimbabwean) all came in and won something with the England team. Fletcher is the only one of these three to have spent any time coaching a county side, with two years at Glamorgan.

It’s difficult to look at this record, at the complete absence of high quality English coaches competing for the vacant positions, and not think that something has gone badly wrong within county cricket.

I have to preface this by saying that I don’t really follow county cricket particularly closely. I’ve never lived in a town or city which hosts a county team. I have lived the vast majority of my life outside of any of the eighteen major counties. I don’t pretend to have any expertise on the subject, and what follows may well be foolish generalisations based on nothing more than hearsay and my inherent biases.

All that said, being appointed coach in county cricket (and the England team) seems like it is much more about who you know rather than your skills or past results. Take England’s coaches: Graham Thorpe, Paul Collingwood and James Foster were all England teammates with director of cricket Ashley Giles. Although head coach Chris Silverwood appears not to been on the field together with Giles, they were certainly both in the same England ODI squad in 1997. I get the impression that the majority of county coaches are ex-players from the same teams. These kind of appointments are always popular with the fans/members (see Darren Gough at Yorkshire CCC), but don’t obviously lead to qualified or skilled coaching.

The methods routinely used within county cricket and the England team have to be questioned. The majority of English coaches appear to have a level 3 or 4 (‘Elite’) ECB coaching qualification. If no one who goes through this course appears to be any good at coaching professional first-class cricketers, should it not be changed?

There seems to be an extreme level of conservatism inherent in county (and international) coaching, which the ECB training seems to reinforce. Coaches don’t want to intervene or criticise players, even in private and on matters of basic technique. The emphasis appears to be almost entirely on boosting the players’ confidence. This is no doubt important, particularly on tour, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to fix fundamentally flawed approaches to batting and bowling.

This is exacerbated by English cricket’s almost uniquely insular attitudes to both hiring coaches and gaining experience. A large number of coaches from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies or Zimbabwe have spent a lot of time working outside of their home countries. This is rarely the case in England, where having eighteen professional clubs plus a plethora of highly-paid roles at public schools means that ex-players don’t have to stray outside their comfort zone to make a living. This limits their experience, and means that they never see other methods of helping players develop.

One obvious consequence, if coaching in county cricket is almost universally substandard, is that this would inevitably harm the development of county cricketers. After all, how can players reasonably reach their potential if the people who are supposed to be teaching and managing them aren’t up to the job?

This is why I think that coaching is the key issue regarding the quality of English Test cricketers. There are undoubtedly a great many other factors: The pitches, the scheduling, county youth systems and financial incentives to name just four. They all should be addressed as soon possible, but I don’t believe county cricket will start producing Test-quality batsmen again before the coaching fundamentally improves. In the short term, that might involve the hiring of significantly more overseas staff until English candidates become employable.

If you have any thoughts on this post, or on anything else that crosses your mind, leave them below.

76 thoughts on “Coach Wanted – Englishmen Need Not Apply

  1. StaffordshireKnot Mar 31, 2022 / 10:35 am

    Makes no difference.

    Beyond thrashing a white ball and bowling leg-stump Yorkers, there is no quality in the English game……..and until red ball cricket is given equal importance, there never will be.

    Under the system that’s been in place in recent years……

    > Batsman can’t bat
    > Spinners can’t learn
    > Captains can’t develop know-how
    > Fast bowlers just seem to get injured all the time

    Ergo, it matters no who the ‘coach’ is…….there’s no talent to coach and nurture. May as well give the job to a coach who can establish a ‘culture’ – that’ll be the limit of what is achievable.

    Like

    • maggiej Mar 31, 2022 / 3:21 pm

      Are you saying there’s no talent anywhere to be found, from grass roots up? In which case we might as well give up now. I read this piece as saying we need to start with good quality coaching from the very start, schools, clubs etc, rather than having sub-standard coaches produced by the ECB system. Only then will players be able to develop and a small fraction of them might actually become Test cricketers.

      Like

      • StaffordshireKnot Mar 31, 2022 / 4:53 pm

        My point is that there is no real point in appointing a coach for the ENG test team – principally because all the incumbent’s time will be spent on teaching basics……..since it is very obvious that Root, Stokes and Bairstow are the only players of genuine test class that the country can find……

        ……..save Broad and Anderson that is.

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      • dlpthomas Apr 1, 2022 / 12:38 am

        I don’t think the issue is that there is no talent anywhere but rather that “the system” does not enable the talent to reach their full potential.

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      • Marek Apr 2, 2022 / 1:06 pm

        So what DO we do, Staffordshire Knot? Or do we, as Maggie implies and as Ireland have done, give up on tests and the f-c competition completely?

        I’m not sure that–obviously depending on what the culture is!–appointing a coach, or a DoC, who’ll establish a “culture” is actually such a limited objective. One of the glaring issues at the moment is that England aren’t making the most even of the talent that is there, compromised as it might be by the lure of white-ball riches. Even the players–which is most of the batters–who aren’t heavily involved in big franchise competitions seem to have a mentality which gives up too easily and can’t bat with any kind of patience whatsoever, and the leadership seems to have a mentality which makes excuses much too readily (see the stream of vacuous verbiage which has emerged from Root, Silverwood, Collingwood and Bobat this winter).

        Having someone at the top who wasn’t prepared to countenance that would go a fair way to changing it I think–it’s why people who are so enthusiastic about Langer as coach, although personally I don’t think he’s the right fit.

        After all, England for various reasons is probably less compromised by the lure of white-ball riches than almost any other country except maybe Australia. And all the things you’re talking about haven’t affected such limited batters as Bonner or (recently) Bavuma from quietly compiling solid runs of scores, it’s not prevented such relatively non-world-beaters as Henry Nicholls becoming perfectly solid test batters and it hasn’t stopped new batters such as Conway, Abdullah Shafique or Nissanka making entries into red-ball cricket that the likes of Lees and Pope can only dream of. Those are not white-ball cricket issues.

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        • StaffordhshireKnot Apr 2, 2022 / 8:11 pm

          What do we do?

          1. Play red ball cricket in every month of the season……..on weekdays. Test players develop and learn over a number of seasons. Anybody who spent hours looking at the county cricket averages and score-cards in the 1970s and 1980s knows this – cricket is a long game.

          2. Abandon the Hundred…….it’s absolutely crap.

          3. White-ball cricket becomes 50-over and T20……..that’s the format that WCs are played in.

          4. White-ball cricket can be played on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays

          It’s as simple as that.

          Like

    • Mark Mar 31, 2022 / 5:45 pm

      Staffordshireknot

      I agree 100%. The coach of the England team is not the major priority. Coaches at the lower level, the quality of pitches, the time of the summer red ball cricket is played when the pitches are not green seamers and encourage spin bowling are the real issues. But red ball cricket is not a priority for the ECB.

      Joe Root has not needed a good England coach to deliver very good personal batting performances over the last two years. I have not heard anyone credit the coach for Roots batting performances. So why do we blame the coach for the failure of of the other batsman? I doubt the England coach has had much input in how Broad and Anderson perform for the last five years.

      England need to produce better quality players at a lower level. School and county level. The England coach can’t do anything about that. I’m not sure who can? Surely that is the reason for a governing body? But they have only been interested in making money out of the system. Now the cupboard appears bare.

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      • StaffordshireKnot Mar 31, 2022 / 8:31 pm

        I think the problem is Mark that the youngsters with promise – who learn technique, say 12-18yrs, then only want to learn how to thrash it, because they want to be Jason roy, Liam Livingstone or Tymal Mills……….that’s where the money is.

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        • Mark Mar 31, 2022 / 8:48 pm

          Agreed, and I can’t see a coach solving that problem at Test level. Especially as it seems modern players don’t want to be told what to do anyway.

          I would go the other way and not have a England coach. Have some managers for the logistics, and someone to put the cones out, and then leave it to the captain and the players to figure it out for themselves.

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        • Marek Apr 2, 2022 / 1:29 pm

          This is a factor which is often left unstated I think–player greed…because even fairly average county players are getting a good living compared to most of the population; they’re not poor. No-one these days NEEDS to go to franchise competitions. I can understand it somewhat in the case of the IPL because the sums involved are so vast–but on the other hand anyone who gets a red-ball central contract for one year is going to be earning around what I’ll earn in my entire lifetime, so they don’t “need” that either. Until this is addressed somehow–which is an attitudinal thing way beyond any coach or DoC–red-ball cricket is essentially fucked. Although that still doesn’t explain why England’s batters are so jellylike compared to many of their international contemporaries!

          This is partly why–although better scheduling might help and better pitches probably would–I’m sceptical about these as fundamental reasons for the decline. After all, in Grenada England didn’t fail twice against Cummins and Starc on a bouncy Perth pitch, they failed on the type of pitch that they play on every week in England in April against a Caribbean version of Tom Abell.

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          • dlpthomas Apr 3, 2022 / 9:23 am

            I have no idea how much the players are paid but as professional sportsmen its not unreasonable to try and get a gig where you maximize your income. Also, given they could get a career-ending injury at any time (a samll chance I know but still), you can also understand why they do the “dash for cash”

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      • dannycricket Mar 31, 2022 / 11:14 pm

        My reasoning for blaming the coaches is this: When a batsman plays a rash shot, I blame the batsman. When every batsman plays a rash shot, I blame the coach. Also, every batsman to debut in the past six years or so has almost visibly declined in batting ability whilst with the England team. It’s hard to blame county cricket for that, because England players hardly spend any time at their county.

        You can (not unfairly) argue that training up batsmen shouldn’t really be the job of an international coach, but the real job of a coach is to do what’s needed for the team to win. For the Test team right now, that means training the batsmen.

        A lot of it isn’t technique. It’s notable that the women’s team had a better approach to Test batting despite only playing one or two red ball games per year. They didn’t have a lot of experience, but they had clear plans of what they wanted to do: Protect their wickets and play sensibly. The men’s side seems more disjointed. There’s a greater emphasis on putting pressure on the opposition by having a higher rate of scoring. Dom Sibley said in an interview that he had been told by coaches or analysts that his strike rate against spin was too low. Not his average (which I think was 40+ at the time), but his strike rate. In the following games, he got himself out to spin cheaply on several occasions. Another example would be the previous Test, where the first innings showed that scoring runs was significantly easier once the ball was 30-40 overs old. Instead of preserving their wickets, England were flashing at wide deliveries and running tight twos. I have to believe England’s coaches and analysts had a role in allowing that to happen.

        I don’t think a new coach can work miracles, a lot of work needs to be done at the county level too, but a coach could at least change the mentality of the team. Introduce the novel idea of putting pressure on the opposition by making them have to work for their wickets. It wouldn’t make England a world class side, but I’d settle for vaguely competitive at this point.

        Like

        • Mark Mar 31, 2022 / 11:44 pm

          I am not against good coaching but they need to be at the lower level getting young players sound techniques in place which will be the foundations of their careers. The problem is the game is now all about white ball cricket, and the players want to play like that. That is where the money is after all.

          When Duncan Fletcher was coach I don’t think he was responsible for the way KP or Trescothick or Strauss or Vaughn batted. Yes he might make some observations. However when the majority of the top order is failing over and over again I’m afraid that is something deep rooted in the way they have been coached at a lower level and how county cricket is played on pooor pitches.

          The mentality of the team should be set by the captain. Morgan sets the tone for the ODI side. That side has been a reflection of him for the past four years. I think there are too many people in the test set up with back room staff and coaches and advisors.

          At the end of the day it’s just a different point of view but I think at the test level the players should take on more responsibility for themselves. Some will swim, some will sink. But the better players will get stronger and gain confidence.

          Like

        • Marek Apr 2, 2022 / 1:17 pm

          Re Sibley–one of the things about England at the moment is that it’s all a bit boom or bust. On the one hand you have batters like Lawrence and Crawley who can strike at 62–which is fine if you can extend your innings to give you a good average, like Sehwag, but pretty useless if you average 28. And on the other you have your Sibleys, your Leeses and your Hameeds who are striking in the 30s, which tends to mean getting completely becalmed and handing the psychological advantage to the opposition: it means that you’re needing to bat for a really VERY long time to make it count. It’s noticeable that even in county cricket Sibley and Hameed are scoring pretty slowly–and I’m not talking about not striking at 60 or even 50: if you can’t get Rushworth or Murtagh away at much more than two an over, then good luck against Cummins or Bumrah, who are just as accurate but 10mph faster.

          Even Stokes is often beset by this: the only player who routinely escapes both of these extremes is Root.

          Liked by 2 people

        • StaffordshireKnot Apr 2, 2022 / 8:19 pm

          Yes.

          The structure of the whole game needs to change……County Cricket, 50-over and T20. That’s all we need. Whoever ‘invented the Hundred’ needs to be driven out of the game for ever.

          Similarly, they need to look at the central contracts. ENG really benefitted from them 200 to 2014. However, in the last few years, the players are taking the piss……..in their downtime they get to go off and play IPL etc. instead of supporting their counties. Why shouldn’t Test players be made to play for their counties in the spring and develop their game?

          Why should a player with the benefit of a central contract be made to stay in Blighty and work at his game? Why is he allowed to go to India – pretty intense – pocket a massive amount of money (instead of training, practicing or resting) and then say he’s injured?

          ENG players are ENG players……..if they want to go and play IPL, fine……..just don’t expect to be a Test player.

          If you have greedy executives and officials – then you get greedy players.

          Like

  2. Andrew Dow Apr 1, 2022 / 11:26 am

    I suggest that the problem is that Test and County cricket are actually two different games, requiring two different strategies, thus, they produce players who struggle to make the step up.

    Two constants : the bonus points system has not materially changed since I started watching in the mid – 70’s, and in all sport, players learn to game the system.
    County championship matches were increased to 4 days duration in 1993, to encourage sides to build big first innings scores with time to get a result. Two divisions came in in 2000. This was intended to instill more competition through a title race, a relegation battle and a promotion fight, all decided through final points totals achieved by each county, and produce better players for the Test match arena. I do not think this system creates enough pressure points to create either good competition between counties or replicate the “step up” to Test level.

    Possibly even worse, the bonus point system does not encourages positive cricket, challenges players, or provides a spectacle, for similar reasons. It encourages consistency, and permits mediocrity. How about restoring more dynamism to the essential processes?

    As long as batting milestones are reached within 110 overs of its first innings, a team knows it does not need to exceed a run rate of 2.727 per over to secure a total of 300 which should guarantee safety from defeat, and 3 batting points. After attacking with the new ball, the fielding side hopes to chip away until the second one. Unadventurous grind, containment and attrition are the pathways to security, possible victory and championship success. No wonder “sleepy”, “anachronistic”, “unfit for purpose” and “irrelevant” are accusations levelled at the game.

    Yet, Test matches are won by building large partnerships, and taking wickets in bursts. The bonus point system does not recognise this. So, counties do not produce players capable of creating an opportunity and exploiting it. Why not recognise big partnerships at a run rate that – the longer the fielding side allows it to continue – threatens to take the game away. Also, encourage and reward – through the bp system – the second and subsequent wicket taken within 5 overs of the first?

    Like

  3. andrewrdow Apr 1, 2022 / 11:27 am

    I suggest that the problem is that Test and County cricket are actually two different games, requiring two different strategies, thus, they produce players who struggle to make the step up.

    Two constants : the bonus points system has not materially changed since I started watching in the mid – 70’s, and in all sport, players learn to game the system.
    County championship matches were increased to 4 days duration in 1993, to encourage sides to build big first innings scores with time to get a result. Two divisions came in in 2000. This was intended to instill more competition through a title race, a relegation battle and a promotion fight, all decided through final points totals achieved by each county, and produce better players for the Test match arena. I do not think this system creates enough pressure points to create either good competition between counties or replicate the “step up” to Test level.

    Possibly even worse, the bonus point system does not encourages positive cricket, challenges players, or provides a spectacle, for similar reasons. It encourages consistency, and permits mediocrity. How about restoring more dynamism to the essential processes?

    As long as batting milestones are reached within 110 overs of its first innings, a team knows it does not need to exceed a run rate of 2.727 per over to secure a total of 300 which should guarantee safety from defeat, and 3 batting points. After attacking with the new ball, the fielding side hopes to chip away until the second one. Unadventurous grind, containment and attrition are the pathways to security, possible victory and championship success. No wonder “sleepy”, “anachronistic”, “unfit for purpose” and “irrelevant” are accusations levelled at the game.

    Yet, Test matches are won by building large partnerships, and taking wickets in bursts. The bonus point system does not recognise this. So, counties do not produce players capable of creating an opportunity and exploiting it. Why not recognise big partnerships at a run rate that – the longer the fielding side allows it to continue – threatens to take the game away. Also, encourage and reward – through the bp system – the second and subsequent wicket taken within 5 overs of the first?

    Like

  4. Northern Light Apr 1, 2022 / 9:15 pm

    “There’s a vacuum at the heart of the men’s England team right now.”

    I thought the Mood Hoover had moved on?!

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 1, 2022 / 9:19 pm

      Maybe he has, but the team sucks more now than ever before.

      Like

      • dlpthomas Apr 3, 2022 / 9:26 am

        nice one

        Like

  5. Rob Apr 2, 2022 / 9:20 pm

    While Root is undoubtedly good as a player, it is hard to imagine him getting all of his team around to his house a la Michael Jordan to prepare for the Ashes. (Apologies if Joe Root had actually done this…)

    Of course you can keep the mood hoover on but Joe needs to be the person in charge. If he needs to pay for all the beers for Larwood / Robinson, then he should ensure it. If he has complaints about Bowes / Robinson’s diet, he should be in control; rather than briefing to the media. Even if Joe Root did this, he would not reap any additional benefits from it under this current corporate set up – as he should.

    If the coach position is largely superfluous, why bother with any of the existing five candidates – merely go straight to appointing someone for a five year term that you like the look of. My choice here would be Mark Alleyne – give him a 5 year contract and pay him the same as the CEO without any performance sanctions. If anyone whines, a la Robin Smith of Yorkshire, call them the opponents of change.

    And if there is licence to be insensible, given the amount of easy money in the game on the back of Sky money; prevent any of the commentators walking into their lucrative jobs without serving in the coaching set up. If Nasser or Cookie want to take apart someone’s technique, at least we’ll know they have put the yards in; if not removing the disconnect of having the hacks vastly out earning the coaches (could anyone imagine a world where a Martin Samuel out earns Alex Ferguson).

    Imagine after all Agnew having to broadcast or write for free; though having the Sky presenters having to go through an Apprentice style program for the chance to coach or commentate is a thought

    (I anyway thought Lawrence and Crawley had strike rates of 52 to 53; whereas only Sehwag, Gilchrist, Kapil Dev and a few others had a striking rate over 80, if one leaves aside the oddities like Swan and Southee. I am not sure having Hameed attach a brick to the back of his bat would that much impact now, what with the low hands criticism – as opposed to Crawley’s high hands- which is the sort of thing you hear coaches doing – imagine trying to put a value on that. Equally, having a balls faced per innings average exceeding 80 is something you should valued highly in a Test team. Which leads me to bemoan the criticisms of Compton if not Hameed. There is still too much of a correct stats model in English cricket that even seasoned observers and fans – sorry Marek – adher to).

    Like

    • Mark Apr 3, 2022 / 9:52 am

      The last thing you want is more regulations and restrictions. The idea that people can only be in the media if they have done a coaching course is crazy. Apart from anything else a paper qualification doesn’t mean you are any good at doing what you have the qualification for. If that was the case all the current coaches would be great, (as they all have a coaching badge) but they are not. Football would be churning out endless Ferguson’s, Shanklys and Cloughs. (Did any of those great coaches do any coaching courses?)

      I have friends who work in the NHS as nurses. They are coming up to retirement age and can’t wait to get out. When they started back in the late 1970s early 80s you learned on the job, on a ward with an experienced sister or matron. You did day release to a nursing college one day a week to learn more technical things. On the ward you started off learning all the crappy jobs, but with real patients. You learned the basics in real life, with real situations and people. After a few years you knew exactly how the ward ran and could become a Matron too.

      Now you have to go to university, amass a huge debt and have a fancy qualification but little hands on real life experience of dealing with people face to face. The result is two fold……1st, many decide that nursing is not for them when they actually try it in the real world, and leave. Second, and even worse many people who would have been excellent nurses were frozen out because they did not have the qualifications or could not afford to go to university for a job that often was a natural vocation. Result is a shortage of nurses and a need to bring in so many form overseas. A bit like the current coaching crises where we have to bring coaches from overseas.

      Should people only be allowed to vote if they have been an MP? Should people only be allowed to do anything without a qualification? Should you have to do a mechanics course before you can put air in your tyres or top the oil up? We live in a fantasy world where people won’t be able to scratch their arse soon without a piece of paper …so that a box can be ticked and they are covered from being sued.

      How about a commentators qualification before being able to broadcast? I can just imagine how boring and tedious the people who are qualified would be.

      Appoint a better captain, and let him manage the team. Force the players to be responsible for their own game, form and technique, and if they consistently fail… drop them. It can’t be any worse than the last two years. Oh and if you are going to have a coach don’t give a coach a five year contract. That’s just a waste of money if he fails and has to be sacked after two years.

      Like

      • Rob Apr 3, 2022 / 11:47 pm

        One of the points I was trying to make was that the cream of the talent pool is being lost to media or other more lucrative roles, in the UK at least.

        Who would want a job that is something of a step down, requires you to be on the road 45 weeks of the year and not pay much compared with media work?

        Hussain and Rob Key are fond of Ricky Ponting and his cricketing nous, saying the other sleepy Joe sort of needs it. Other than short stints in the IPL, Punter is hardly likely to interested for the £1 million a year quoted, with a youngish family and all .

        Previous (to Sky) many of these commentators would have had to take on coaching work if not there was limited roles for them in the media. Jack Hobbs became a school coach when not running his Sports Goods shop. Few were set for life from the game – with Hammond almost dying in penury And with Sky’s money causing all manner of “market inefficiencies”, they are really damaging the product they are paying for.

        The IPL’s impact on taking away coaching talent is more minor – results matter there and in other leagues more than for the time servers in county cricket.

        Another issue in cricket is the lack of coaches at elite level who do not have international playing or captaining experience (say unlike golf coaches) – which rather restricts people like Mo Bobatt making an impact.

        While the UK board should be able to finance the best sort of employment conditions, there is still a reluctance to pay a coach the £ 3 to 5 million a year plus that it should require to get results (something the commentators budget could easily cover). Which is probably why they go overseas (like in nursing and the medical profession in the UK and Australia).

        (With bank and other locum rates of nursing exceeding full time posts – not that people are given full time appointments – it is no wonder that there are thousands of nursing posts unable to be filled in the UK. And if you fail to get your £300 annual retention fee in in time, there are a host of older nurses who find themselves having to spend £10,000 plus to take a year long refresher course on other soft skills. I am not for more regulation but as last week’s report into obstetrics at Telford showed, real life experience does not equate to competence, anymore does it with Darren Gough at Yorkshire.)

        So no, I was not saying there should be a qualification for commentators per se, rather that Sky have buggered the economics of the situation at the high end of the English market for coaches – and if they broke it, they can fix it, to make it the Apex job in English cricket.

        Like

        • Mark Apr 4, 2022 / 2:01 pm

          I’ve never understood why we think very good players will make very good coaches. They are completely different jobs with very different skills. There is no reason to think Nasser or Atherton or Gower or Botham would be any good at coaching. In fact often really great players have little understanding as to why lesser mortals can’t do what they can do naturally.

          Interestingly Ferguson, Shankly and Clough were fairly average players. Clough played most of his football in the old 2nd division (now Championship) Same go’s with the likes of Jose Maurinio and Wenger. Duncun Fletcher played little or no Test cricket.

          I’m just not really sure a coach can deliver much at Test level. The coaching needs to be done at a lower level, and the players need to play better quality red ball cricket at county level. I have no idea how you do that because the governing body prefers white ball money to quality red ball players.

          I do believe that a very poor coach can do a lot more harm than a good coach can do good. And often so called good coaches have very good players to manage. They just let them get on with it and perform.

          Like

  6. Rob Apr 4, 2022 / 11:01 pm

    So far as Test cricket is concerned, the coach is relatively a new concept. Australia are onto their eighth coach since the position commenced in 1986. Cricket Australia is nominally the board who renumerates their coach the most with Langer on a reported $1.8 million Aus, more than Dravid for India (which is rather more an honorary appointment there) and then the luckless Chris Silverwood (reading those sources, one wonders how Graham Thorpe can be appointed Afghan coach on some £80,000 a year when sanctions are in force and teachers there are not being paid – I will leave that for another article).

    Even the pay at Australian level is not enough to attract Ricky Ponting for that role – so step up Andrew MacDonald. CA’s CEO Nick Hockley does not out earn the coach but effectively does given a greater security of tenure. Leaving aside trying to obtain a once in a generation coach like Warne means that from a financial perspective, the coach should be paid at least three plus times what the CEO makes if this is what is required to attract the calibre of someone like Ponting or say Vaughan. While boards appoint in their own image (the Gary Kirsten “interviewing badly” issue) – rather what Danny says – in England they also appoint down. I doubt Strauss would try to apply for being a coach to a board headed by Chris Silverwood, pay is a factor in the English game. Whether your name is Downton, Strauss or Graves, you certainly do not need the salary of nearly a million that these senior roles entail; but equally the job of coach / supremo would be below you.

    Irrespective of whether one believes Botham or Gower would have been a good coach (and it is noticeable Richie Benaud trained as a journalist prior to making the switch to the media in the 1960s though the Level 3s and 4s are rather artificial assessments), the money in commentating now at the upper ends gets rid of many potentials. Boycott never felt the call; Illingworth became the Supremo only because of BBC rates of pay in the 1980s and 1990s; and David Lloyd being only in the third rank of Sky’s line up before his three year stay. One would think Hussain, Atherton and Cook are three commentators who could have made the move but there was an absence of desire to take charge, either for love or money. Therefore if you are not willing to pay for the top line, you tend to get these sorts of candidates. Or foreigners (and having moved to the UK with parents who came to work for the NHS, there is nothing derogatory intended in that comment).

    If the position does not add to much – Clive Lloyd being the last great captain without a coach to assist – why not like Biden appointing his Supreme Court nominee – get someone like Mark Alleyne in. He can do the job and has captained in county cricket. I would not call it a diversity pick but my choice is an attempt at virtue signalling. At best, the captain or coach’s role is like Imran Khan current role, nominally leading the way while others are really in power.

    (Of the likely candidates, it does appear English coaches are in the running. Collingwood fits into the role of Strauss’ bagman to a tee, in due course being able to upgrade his MBE; Stewart was not favoured enough as captain to last more than a year, the impression being that he cannot bullshit enough to “outline his vision”; Key in the second division of Sky commentators rather doing his own application a disservice by saying Ponting is a better candidate; with Langer perhaps “costing too much” at this time, the timings not right; Jayawardene too quiet and Asian; Gillespie being a touch demanding for a non white Australian.)

    Indeed while very few players are uncoached and arrive in cricket fully formed (Bradman and O’Reilly being just two) so there is a role for learning and leadership. Whether you would be willing to spend money like water to get the job done is another matter. English cricket does not aspire to leading the game and the concept of coaches with how they have been going for many years. So do not rule out Andy Flower just yet, even if he would not have persisted with Sydney Barnes; or have been tolerant of Hammond’s outside activities.

    Like

  7. Mark Apr 5, 2022 / 10:15 pm

    Anybody else smell a rat about this idea of having Test cricket back on free to air tv? Rumours start about Sky doing a ten year deal to stitch up the rights till then.

    English test cricket as a so called “Crown Jewels” event is laughable at the moment. The team is very poor and I can’t imagine Sky would want to pay too much for it. But now a panic buy might be in the offering to get it all done for another decade. Cynical? The way things are going Test cricket may not exist in ten years time….

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 6, 2022 / 2:51 am

      It’s worth remembering in these long term deals about the effect of inflation too. £1 now is worth about a third less than it was 14 years ago. If the ECB agree an extra ten years to the current deal with no increase in value, the £220m Sky paid in 2020 could be worth the equivalent of £145m in 2034. Quite possibly a lot less, if inflation is higher in the next few years due to energy prices and other issues.

      Like

      • Rob Apr 9, 2022 / 2:51 pm

        Conversely, things like Graves’ loan to Yorkshire seem to increase in value over the years.

        Like batting or accounting, there are varying levels. One hopes Harrison and his ilk have those skills, but the chances are that he does not.

        Like

  8. maggiej Apr 7, 2022 / 3:26 pm

    Day 1 of country champs and what’s on BBC 5X? the IPL. Heaven help county cricket. I know it’s online as they keep telling us but it doesn’t seem to occur to them that we don’t all live somewhere or are out and about where it’s possible to get a signal. Makes me mad.

    Like

  9. Marek Apr 8, 2022 / 10:36 am

    “Tom Harrison, having been paid his bonus (understood to amount to a year’s salary), is expected to leave the organisation within weeks…”

    No further questions, m’lud!

    Like

  10. Marek Apr 10, 2022 / 11:52 am

    Today’s starter for ten.

    Craig Overton (one-format bowler who played two tests in the WI series) is deemed in need of rest for this week’s Championship game (even, according to the Somerset commentator on the live stream, after his county put in an emergency request for his release because they have several bowlers injured or ill). Kemar Roach (mainly one-format bowler who played all three tests and who is coming off the back of his own domestic season, who’s got through 29 overs in his first innings for Surrey) isn’t.

    Like

  11. Northern Light Apr 15, 2022 / 9:40 am

    Seems the new whatever-they’re-called of English Cricket won’t have to make a decision about Joe Root. Did he jump or was he pushed?

    Like

    • Marek Apr 15, 2022 / 9:44 am

      No captain, no coach, no selector, no DoC, no chair, no (effective permanent) CEO…no problem!!

      I suspect Root jumped–possibly with a bit of a nudge by his wife. The entire resignation was predicted fairly accurately by Vic Marks last month.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 15, 2022 / 12:58 pm

        But everybody else was essentially sacked. Root had the luxury of going of his own accord. Or at least the appearance of that. Same for the last England captain.

        The ECB is a laughing stock as is the media who have protected it for years. None of the senior positions in English cricket are filled.

        What’s even more laughable is will anyone notice any difference?

        Like

    • Quebecer Apr 15, 2022 / 5:50 pm

      I think it’s a big problem for the EC B. It would have been so much easier for them if Root had stayed. Now they have to make a decision that they won’t be able to hide behind – as they could with Root because of his runs, his professional and personal dependability. They’re fucked now. They pick Stokes, and any drop off at all will lead to the EC B being blamed. If they go outside the present team, there is no player who’s personal performance will justify their place in the team, AND the team still won’t win! It’s a terrible situation for the ECB. Pity.

      Like

      • Quebecer Apr 15, 2022 / 5:53 pm

        FWIW, I think Mois the best bet. Bats at 7, Stokes at 6, Foakes at 8,

        Like

        • dannycricket Apr 15, 2022 / 7:27 pm

          I think you’re underestimating Mo. His Test batting average of 28.29 is firmly in top 5 territory now.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 15, 2022 / 11:02 pm

        I keep hearing that they can’t pick a captain who doesn’t justify his place in the team. But you could make a case that hardly any of the current batsman justifies their place in the team yet they still get picked.

        They will give it to Stokes I suspect because they are incapable of any original ideas.

        Because the situation is so dire and results have been so poor in some ways it provides an opportunity to be more radical. I would look at the counties and see if there is any captain who could be picked as the New England captain. He may not justify his place as say a batsman but who cares because most of the batsman average under 30.

        I don’t know if there are any good young captains. Five years ago Morgan was not regarded as good enough as a test player, and he now has past his time. However if there is a captain with a similar ability as Morgan and who is an inventive captain I would give him a go.

        One thing I will say for Root (and I don’t rate him as a captain) is he has delivered with the bat as captain. That is to his credit. If he loses his form now England are f—ked because he has been their best batsman by a country mile.

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        • maggiej Apr 16, 2022 / 7:26 am

          Tom Abell at Somerset?

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          • Mark Apr 16, 2022 / 8:17 am

            Maggie,

            Yes that would be the sort of idea. As I say I’m not very up to date on the county scene. And I don’t know much about Tom Abell. But I hear good things.

            By and large central contracts have been a good thing for English cricket. However where they have not be so good is finding good quality captains. The reason for this is obvious. Once you become and England test player you play hardly any county cricket and therefore can’t be a county captain. If Abell became captain of England ….Somerset would have to replace him as he would never be available for his county.

            Many moons ago captains of England had captained their counties…. the likes of Ray Illingworth, Tony Grieg, Mike Brearley, David Gower, Mike Gatting….Today, if you are a player coming into the England team it’s very unlikely you have ever been a captain, and you won’t get the chance back at county level unless you get dropped by England.

            The counter argument I guess & some will say it is not essential. I’m not sure how much captaincy experience Atherton, Nasser and Vaughn had before they became England captain. And Australia always used to have a policy of picking the best eleven players and finding a captain from one of them. I just think we have had two very bland uninventive English captains in Cook and Root, while we found a very dynamic one in Morgan for white ball cricket.

            Finally, the position of the modern England test captain is clouded by the issue of the coach. Who is really in charge? Who makes the decisions? It seems to me there is no doubt with Morgan. He runs the show.

            Like

          • Marek Apr 16, 2022 / 10:00 am

            No, Maggie, in a word! First because he averages 32 in f-c cricket (added to which he’s in terrible form) and would weaken even this England team.

            But more importantly because he’s achieved basically nothing as captain, despite having one of the best teams in the country and having finished in the top two or three several times in a row. That’s the very definition of this English recasting of mediocrity as high achievement because the press think he has some kind of style that they like (see also: “tactically astute”.Broad as captain, who was a total diaster when he actually did captain England).

            Abell’s also failed utterly to do at Somerset what would be his biggest single problem as England captain, which is sort out a chronically misfiring batting line-up.(I’ve watched them twice this season and they’ve been abysmal).

            If England have ambitions to be anything more than a mid-ranking test side, they need a captain who can really galvanise players into winning a red-ball competition. The only current ones who’ve done that are Burns and Rhodes (plus Westley if you count a very short competition). All of those have better f-c averages than Abell, Burns almost ten runs better and Rhodes three runs better and with a better bowling average than Abell. I’m not suggesting this as the answer (I would ask Stokes), but if that’s the root (sic) to go down, then Abell absolutely isn’t the right choice to me.

            Like

        • dlpthomas Apr 16, 2022 / 8:51 am

          Stokes might be quite a good captain tactically but I worry that he will bowl himself into the ground and shorten his career.

          Like

          • Mark Apr 16, 2022 / 10:12 am

            For some reason there is a view that bowlers shouldn’t captain the team. I think it’s a snobby attitude, that is wrong. Illingworth was a spin bowler, Bob Willis did it for a while. There certainly has been a view that all rounders should not do it. Botham and Flintoff were not ideal.

            Why shouldn’t a bowler captain?

            I think Warne had a great cricket brain and would have been an very good captain at test level. The problem was all the off field stuff.

            If necessary while the captain is bowling (especially if he is a fast bowler) the vice captain can keep everyone on their toes. I’m interested in the current Aussie captain. Be interesting to see if he can do it over a period of time. If a player has the ability and others respect him why not?

            As Marek says Stokes was bowled into the ground by the so called enlightened batsman captain. Although Stokes seemed happy to do it.

            Like

          • dannycricket Apr 17, 2022 / 6:19 am

            It should be remembered that between 2007-17, 93.6% of appearances were by England Test batsmen who were privately educated. This compares to 26.5% for bowlers and all-rounders, with Stuart Broad accounting for over half that figure.

            Someone who attended private school is typically portrayed in the media (quite often by journalists who themselves attended fee-paying schools) as more eloquent and intelligent, and therefore more able to lead.

            Like

          • Mark Apr 17, 2022 / 9:39 am

            I do think that some people are naturally more able to lead than others. But it has absolutely no basis on class or whether you went to private school or not. Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankley, Brian Clough did not go to private school. Nor someone in business like Alan Sugar.

            Cook and Root were educated privately but were not in my opinion natural leaders. They may have both been very good batsman (which they were) and fairly bland and not likely to get into trouble off the field but neither were dynamic in leadership. England won or lost despite their captaincy decisions.

            You always hear this dreaded word ….”ambassadors” from governing bodies like the ECB. It’s funny because Stokes (who seems to be the favourite) has a lot of baggage for his off the field antics, yet that does not seem to count against him as it has against others. Managing people of different types, (some aggressive, some shy, some introverted some extroverted) is not easy.

            Anyway, England have very few to choose from, and what they need even more is more batsman who can score some runs.

            Like

        • Marek Apr 16, 2022 / 9:42 am

          …as opposed to what exactly under Root?!…:-)

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          • dlpthomas Apr 16, 2022 / 9:55 am

            Good point – Root bowled Stokes far too much in the West Indies. But I can see Stokes bowling himself even more.

            Like

          • Marek Apr 16, 2022 / 11:10 pm

            Seriously, I know what you mean–although i don’t think it’s a reason not to appoint him. But it does mean there needs to be someone (probably the coach) keeping an eye on this and being firm enough to say “think of the long-term and your value to the side”.

            Like

          • dlpthomas Apr 17, 2022 / 2:52 am

            I keep getting fashbacks of Freddie bowling a marathon spell against Sri Lanka. I don’t have a problem with a bowler being captain, I just think it would help if you had some-one in the side they would listent to when told it was time to take themsleves off.

            So, Rob Key……………….

            Like

  12. Bob Smart Apr 16, 2022 / 11:07 am

    try coaching this fella

    Like

  13. dlpthomas May 11, 2022 / 5:14 pm

    McCullum – I did not see that coming. (I wonder if Gary KIrsten did)

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    • Marek May 11, 2022 / 10:49 pm

      Heavens above, the ECB leak machine is in daily operation this week!

      I didn’t see it coming either and, although I’m happy to be proved wrong, it fills me with foreboding. It seems like a repeat of the mistakes that the ECB have been making over various areas of policy-making for a number of years:

      Over-emphasising “positive cricket” when the problem is that the batters can’t hang on to their wickets in test cricket and the bowlers too often can’t get wickets–which is nothing to do with how positive they are. (In fact, in some cases, notably Zak Crawley, their much-lauded attacking instincts merely underline how dubious their test credentials are).

      Going for the sexy option rather than the logical or apparently best option–the kind of idiotic blue-sky thinking which has bedevilled the ECB in the last five years and is almost entirely responsible for getting them into the financial mess they’re in. (OK, attacking IPL coach, great…but he’s literally never coached a professional red-ball game, so how do we know that he’s better than Trescothick, Patel, Strauss or a host of others who also haven’t?) Whereas Kirsten has coached two test sides for a total of six years and they were both amongst the best teams in the world. In relation to which…

      Over-emphasising the interview stage compared to experience and credentials (or literally the same mistake they made last time they appointed a coach!) We now know that Gary Kirsten doesn’t interview well (or at least he doesn’t do ECB interviews well!), but do a couple of two-hour chats really outweight the disparity in experience? Added to which, if anything does go wrong with the appointment–or if he has to resign for some other reason–Kirsten, who’s probably still the best candidate, is surely going to tell them to f-off if they approach him for a third time and tell him they’re interested in him!

      I’m interested to see what happens. But then, by the time I post this, the coach might be Kumble, or Sangakkara, or Mark Robinson: I’m sure we’re up to at least four “current front-runner”s for the test job, and we’ve had two almost-confirmed white-ball coaches in the last twelve hours!

      Like

      • dlpthomas May 12, 2022 / 1:09 am

        I agree with all of that (especially the happy to be proved wrong bit).

        I’m not sure how many more games Jimmy has for England but watching McCallum say “C’mon Jimmy, turn that frown upside down” might be very entertaining. (seriously, this “playing with a smile on our faces” bullshit has to stop)

        Like

    • dannycricket May 12, 2022 / 7:59 am

      I’m struggling to see the logic behind it. I believe that a change in coaching could yield vast improvements to the Test team. Not that this group of players could dominate the format, but getting the new batsmen to average around 40 and have a healthy selection of bowlers operating in their appropriate conditions isn’t beyond reach. A platform on which to build. This seems like an unnecessary high stakes gamble.

      I also don’t like the narrative that ‘talking sense’ is the most important factor in the hiring of Key and McCullum. As commentators, sure, and they will have developed their ability to project an aura of knowledge and confidence in the commentary box. I don’t see a major difference from hiring someone on the basis of their PowerPoint presentation (which is reportedly how Silverwood got hired).

      Like

  14. Mark May 12, 2022 / 9:53 am

    I don’t have much of a problem with the appointment to be honest as I don’t think test coaches are gods. As a candidate he is a former test captain who turned a nation of limited resources into a team who could punch well above their weight. (Something England desperately need right now) He got them as a team to be better than their individual parts.

    Also, I don’t believe that coaches are genius who click a switch and can magically make players average 40 with the bat especially at test level. As I keep saying that has to be done at a younger level. England have a certain group of available players who are living in a white ball era. They are coached to score runs in limited overs cricket. You can’t just appoint a coach and all the batters suddenly bat like Cook or Boycott. It ain’t happening. McCullam as a player was an attacking batsman who was able to manage his natural game to play test cricket successfully. Exactly what England require at the moment with the current personnel.

    His lack of coaching experience will of course count against him if he doesn’t get any improvement, but if that was the only criteria previous coaches who had coaching experience would have been successful. He was a savvy captain, far better than Englands last two test captains, who got the best out of what he and his players had. (I don’t think you can expect much more than that.)

    There is logic to his appointment even if many will focus on his lack of coaching experience. He will fit well with the new captain who has the same approach and outlook to the game. Captain and coach will at least be be singing off the same hymn sheet. He was an attacking player who made himself capable of playing and scoring runs in test cricket. (We have a plethora of batsman who he will understand and could help and improve.)

    The only guarantees in life are death and taxes, so there is no guarantee he will succeed, but in the current way cricket is moving, which is towards more and more limited over cricket he might be the right man to bridge the gap to test cricket. At the end of the day however it comes down to players whoever the coach is. They have to perform.

    Like

    • dannycricket May 13, 2022 / 7:52 am

      My view on England’s batting is that the best ten or so batsmen in the country are capable of averaging 40 in Test cricket, but have been hampered by poor coaching. Therefore, a good coach might be able to undo the damage and allow them to progress.

      It’s a consistent trend that English players seem to get worse at batting the more time they spend in and around the England camp. I suspect that the interjections from the coaches and analysts leave new batsmen confused about what they should be doing. Being told to be more aggressive and put pressure on the bowlers but also don’t get out cheaply. That kind of thing. They attack the ball too early, or too often, get out and then their confidence is shot as well as their approach to the game. Fix that and the plethora of 30-averaging batsmen (Sibley, Crawley, Pope, etc) might actually start to improve.

      The idea that this would need to start at junior cricket depresses me, since that would presumably take at least 8 years to come to fruition. By that time, Root, Stokes and pretty much everyone else with a decent batting average will have retired. That’s a long time for an England fan to watch their team getting thrashed.

      Like

  15. quebecer May 12, 2022 / 3:52 pm

    I think it’s a very interesting appointment for this reason: McCullum will base what he does on an honest assessment of the situation. This was his success with NZ and in the IPL. However – and I’m not being cheeky here – the one thing English cricket does not do (or at least not since Fletcher) is honest assessment. This has been the downfall since the good times (and even within them). McCullum will do this, however, not bullshit, not pseudo-coaching-babble, but true and honest assessment upon which to base direction. The question is not whether he can do the job, but how English cricket will take it. The one thing English cricket doesn’t like is having a mirror held up to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas May 13, 2022 / 2:20 am

      George Dobell nails it (as he often does)
      “The fear is Stokes and McCullum, for all their enthusiasm, will become frustrated by matters beyond their control. The problems in England cricket almost certainly go deeper than simply appointing a trio of charismatic leaders can resolve. They can’t conjure up fast bowlers or spinners; they can’t cut the relentless international schedule or reorganise the imperfect domestic one.”

      Like

      • dannycricket May 13, 2022 / 7:24 am

        I’d say beyond this that I would be surprised if McCullum stayed beyond next year’s Ashes. There’s a number of reasons for this. Ashes series tend to act as a watershed for English cricket so, if noticeable progress hasn’t been made by then, pressure will be applied to move on. As a franchise coach up to now, the time demands of the role (even with it being split) might be too much for him. He could get a lot more money for doing a lot less work. Although he is in the honeymoon period right now, the English press usually doesn’t take long to show its teeth. Particularly if he has any skeletons in his personal life.

        But the big reason is that this is a Tom Harrison appointment. When a new chair and chief executive are eventually appointed, they’ll likely have very different views on what English cricket needs to be successful on and off the pitch. Any excuse to sack the incumbents and hire their own people, such as losing a home Ashes series for the first time in 22 years, would be gleefully accepted.

        Like

      • Marek May 13, 2022 / 10:10 am

        I’m not sure he has nailed it, actually. The big issue for me is that they’re risking wrongly analysing the task even at their own pay grades. In particular, aggressive cricket per se doesn’t make you successful, and in trying to play like that it’s tended to make Engliand players–especially batters–worse in recent years.

        In doing so, they risk ignoring the fact that NZ in 2013 and England in 2022 are very different beasts, so that what works for one may fall flat on its face for the other. It risks confusing the roles of red-ball and white-ball coach too, because it underestimates the importance in white-ball both of the lack of time and of the fact that one team has to win at the end of the game–which means that out-and-out aggression is going to be a much less risky strategy. We see that in T20.

        And it fails to address–and it risks compounding–the failures in selectorial analysis that England make. What evidence from any level of the professional game, for example, do England have after two years of playing them that Crawley or Lawrence can be consistently successful test batters? It may well not be coincidental that they’ve struggled in the Championship this year while lots of other batters are scoring runs for fun.

        Like

      • Mark May 13, 2022 / 11:17 am

        If the captain and coach were just charismatic figures with little substance I would agree with you. But they are not just charismatic nobodies? They can or could (current or past) play the game and in the case of the new coach has proved himself as a very good international captain.

        Both Stokes and McCullum were more attacking style batsman who could play both white ball and test cricket versions of the game. We have a bunch of batsman who tend towards playing a more white ball type of style and hopefully they can use their knowledge to improve them.

        I’m aware of England’s structural problems, and no coach can do anything about that. You have to work with what you have. You have to hope that they might be able to encourage some changes behind the scenes. But I’m not expecting much on that front. As I wouldn’t who ever became coach because that is an ECB management issue.

        As always with any sporting team you can only work with what you have, and hope to get the most out them over time. England are not world beaters at the moment, but worse they are punching way below their weight, and it would be nice if we could at least start to be more competitive again.

        Finally, I’m not sure the modern players, in an era of white ball cricket and potential fortunes can be bossed around like the old days.Especially when there is so little back up talent to replace them with. Two characters with a more positive attitude to the game, and with a ethos of players needing to sort it out themselves rather than relying on armies of back room staff may be the way to go . But of course there are no guarantees. As there wouldn’t be with any coach.

        This probably is the kiss of death, but surely it can’t get any worse than the last two years of results and performances? My expectations are very low with England, but we will see. I just don’t think it’s quite as crazy an appointment with the current new captain and current players.

        Interesting if they knew they were going to appoint the new coach before they appointed the new captain. Or whether Stokes at any input on who the coach would be?

        Like

  16. maggiej May 13, 2022 / 7:47 pm

    Depressing to see Andrew Miller on Cricinfo saying that the new coach and captain are likely to want Buttler back in the team. Just hope he is wrong.

    Like

    • Marek May 13, 2022 / 9:58 pm

      There’s been a few of them this week! Buttler, the suggestion that Crawley might be the new vice-captain, the possible selection of Jamie Overton (that’s the Jamie Overton who hasn’t become a county regular in the best part of a decade–I guess it must be that, like Crawley, county cricket is too easy for him to be any good at it…:-), the musing in the press that there might not be a place in New England for a player like Alex Lees (career strike rate 46.7) because he’s too slow, the realted suggestion that they might go for an opener like Jason Roy (maybe it’s time for some sexy 18-ball 21s from test batter Alex Davies, or is he too homophobic for New England?)…

      This is the kind of failure to analyse properly that I was talking about above. Barney Ronay’s written a grimly amusing article about it today–it’s the abdication of thinking and letting go into a realm of pure emotion where positivity and letting people express themselves will somehow magically transform the test team. Well, wasn’t that Moores’s, Bayliss’s and Silverwood’s thing too? And how did that go? isn’t that just confusing coaching and cheerleading?

      Still, I look forward to England’s new line-up of Crawley, Davies, Lawrence, Root, Bairstow, stokes and Buttler taking 35 overs to be bowled out for 213 rather than the 65 it’s taken them in the last few years. And I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere near Anderson and Broad, sorry Jimmy and Broady, as they realsie that the opposition have realised that they have time to bat for 250 overs and get 800 on the flat pitches that England bowlers can’t bowl on!

      Like

      • dlpthomas May 14, 2022 / 2:42 am

        Do we know yet who the selectors are going to be? I assume James Taylor is still involved.

        The thought of too much “positivity” or going for the “sexy option” both terrifies and depresses me, But there are often concerns about a new coach and we shouldn’t underestimate McCallum. He deserves credit for turning NZ around so lets give him a decent chance before we judge him. (which will also give me a chance to buy a new whetstone)

        Like

        • dannycricket May 14, 2022 / 8:03 am

          No. The head selector hasn’t been hired yet and the role is currently vacant. Presumably they will then decide whether Taylor stays or not (assuming Taylor isn’t hired).

          Like

      • Sally May 14, 2022 / 3:28 pm

        Perhaps Barney Ronay could give examples of where McCullum has called for…..”abdication of thinking, and letting go into a realm of pure emotion where positivity and letting people express themselves will somehow magically transform the test team.”

        Perhaps I missed that press conference!

        I’m sure New Zealander’s must be terribly disappointed that great geniuses like Ronay didn’t captain NZ, instead of McCullum, and take a country with a population of 4 million to close to the top of the Test game. Just think instead what they could have achieved?

        I have no idea if the new coach will succeed, but I don’t think it’s that bad an appointment, and the idea that some dry, unspecified coach can rock up and turn England’s current class of batsman into Cook and Boycott seems to be the real “abdication of thinking.” I’m fascinated at how players who play little red ball cricket, facing little genuinely fast and spin bowling are going to be transformed overnight into Test batsman averaging 40/50?

        Who are these great coaches with records of turning water into wine? Ponting? Great player, but has he coached a test team? (After all that’s the criticism of McCullum) The current England players have had a batsman right in front of them for the last two years in Joe Root who has scored most of their runs to learn from and observe ……didn’t do any good.

        It’s clear McCullum has got an up hill task, (dare I say impossible) before he has even taken over. The hostility is palpable. I wonder why? I have noticed that the lefty, Guardian BBC types who always demand everyone else be “tolerant and nice ” rarely practice what they preach.

        Best of luck mate…. you are going to bloody well need it. It’s clear even if you win the Ashes, great swathes of the chattering class media still will want you gone.

        Like

      • Marek May 14, 2022 / 7:27 pm

        Well, since this seems to be a reply to my post…

        Wow. This reply is an absolute compendium of every cliche in the “how to be a social media troll” handbook. Rudeness. Ad hominems. Criticising an article the poster clearly hasn’t read Shooting down arguments that the original poster has never made. The arrogant, condescending paranoia about what “lefty” types are doing (not sure that an article being mildly ironic about the blokiness of some cricket board employees shows much at all about somebody’s politics, but there you go!). Vacuous stereotyping (really, a “lefty Guardian BBC type”!!). The taking as a personal insult an argument that was made in general terms rather than being about any specific individual’s performance, The rebuttal of arguments that are different from the ones that the poster is rebutting, apparently due to the poster’s ignorance (no, the criticism of McCullum isn’t that he hadn’t coached a test team before–nor had Silverwood, Flower, Fletcher, McDonald, Dravid, Kirsten when he coached India or Mickey Arthur before he took South Africa to no. 1 in the test rankings–but that he hasn’t coached a professional red-ball game at any level).

        Liked by 1 person

  17. dlpthomas May 15, 2022 / 1:12 pm

    Young Potts has picked a good time to take some wickets. And it can’t hurt his chances doing it in front of Stokes.

    Like

  18. Marek May 16, 2022 / 10:23 am

    It’s like the Grand National this, watching the papers reveal what the ECB leaking machine has told them today, which is totally different from what it said yesterday! Will it be Collingwood? Will it be Mott? Will there suddenly be a shock appointment of Mark Alleyne? Will there be a steward’s enquiry?

    Like

  19. dlpthomas May 18, 2022 / 1:55 pm

    No Parkinson – that’s a bit disappointing (Dobell is of the opinion thst Stokes doesn’t rate him). Pope at 3 seems a brave choice. Let’s hope it turns out to be an inspired one.

    Like

    • Marek May 18, 2022 / 9:20 pm

      Maybe Stokes doesn’t rate anyone from Lancashire under the age of 39!–Bohannon must be feeling fairly hard done by too. And probably with more reason: Leach is at least a competent incumbent of the spinner’s role, rather than someone who’s never done it before.

      I’m not too worried by the absence of Parkinson. I’m happy to see Leach given a decent run with a captain that trusts him–and Parkinson will get his chance in Pakistan alongside him if the pitches are anything like they were for the Australia series. I wonder too if Stokes might be thinking of Leach as vice-captain, at least in the short term

      Like

  20. Grenville May 19, 2022 / 9:20 am

    A few unoriginal thoughts:
    1. The idea that a good coach/captain makes no difference is silly. In football look at Manchester United and Liverpool. In cricket look at South Africa and England. They are both very limited teams with one really good bat (Petersen/Root – Root obviously being better by some margin), dodgy openers with poor technique but at least one with some brains and guts (Elgar/Burns – Elgar being somewhat the better player) and then one or two other players who can score but aren’t really very good (Bavuma/YJB/Stokes). You look at what at the proteas have done, especially Bavuma, since. Elgar-Boucher took over. You can see each and every player has a clear plan, largely the radical one of getting in line and playing straight (or in Elgar’s case, getting in line and getting hit). They are just a much better team than they were. The conclusion being that almost all of the best first class players have it in them to make the step up. They won’t be Sangakara, but with support, they can touch an average of 40.

    2. The ECB think that the county championship is of a low quality, so performances in the CC are no indicator of ability. Even if the premise is true, the argument is obviously falacious.

    3. The roots of this problem go back to the KP debacle. Not only did they weaken the team by sacking their best player, they sacrificed everything on the altar of face-fitting. They also persisted with an awful captain in Cook. A whole string of openers were discarded, Carberry, Compton, Robson, Hales, Jennings… Whilst Cook looked shot. Bell was broken rather than being given the chance to play at 3 as he’d always wanted. They did everything they could to keep Rashid out. On it goes. How you were meant to come into that environment and succeed is beyond me. Now there is a whole new generation, but they have to start from scratch. That’s harder than coming into a successful side.

    3. Broad and Anderson don’t take enough wickets. Jarrod Kimber had a good piece on his substack about it. They are England’s strike bowlers, but, though they don’t concede runs, they don’t strike. They are taking 4,5,6 wickets a game, not 6,7,8. That leaves too many wickets for the change bowlers, who are bowling in tougher conditions, to take. There maybe no obvious replacement but they aren’t the answer to England’s woes.

    4. England should ask themselves why so many of their bowlers are broken. Robinson, Archer, Mahmood, and others were all happily bowling full county championship season. They got destroyed once they met the England doctors

    Like

    • dlpthomas May 19, 2022 / 10:46 am

      And speaking of broken bowlers – Archer now out for the season with a stress fracture of his back. I’m speechless.

      Like

      • Grenville May 19, 2022 / 12:53 pm

        What do they do to them? Is the England dressing room so stressful that having to carry drinks becomes the last straw?

        Like

        • dlpthomas May 19, 2022 / 1:17 pm

          Archer has developed a stress fracture whilst undergoing rehab under the watchful eye of the ECB medical staff. This is insane.

          Like

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