He was not good enough the first time around, so why will he be good enough the second time around? England’s disastrous winter took another bizarre twist with the backward looking step to appoint Peter Moores to take the team forward.
Moores is an affable man with a solid track record in the English County Championship. He has two titles to his name with Sussex and Lancashire, although no limited overs silverware. No sooner had he guided Lancashire to the County title, he took them down to Division 2.
His previous tenure as head coach/team director/manager (whatever the in vogue term is) of England was something of a disappointment. It was ended by then captain Kevin Pietersen requesting that he be removed from his post – it was impossible, said KP, that England could be successful under the Moores regime.
This may seem like sour grapes from Pietersen, who was removed from the captaincy at the same time, but he was acting on behalf of his team. Michael Vaughan and James Anderson both spoke publicly about the Moores regime, citing a lack of respect for the man and his methods.
A large portion of that squad remains. Anderson, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Matt Prior, Ian Bell, even Monty Panesar is in contention for a spot in the squad having been a part of the disastrous Ashes tour.
What has changed, then, that will make these players respect Moores now? A County Championship? A relegation?
It smacks of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cosying up to its own methods. Moores is very much an establishment man, not someone who will come in and rock the boat, or question the way in which things are run. There appears to be a firm belief within the ECB that they are doing things the right way – that they should back Cook as captain despite his huge failings; that they should force out their best player; that they should appoint from within.
ECB managing director Paul Downton, upon Moores’ re-appointment commented that “he is the outstanding English coach of his generation.” Is he? Are the cupboards that bare? The fact of the matter is surely that the ECB had backed itself into a corner. No overseas coach would want to come in from the outside and attempt the huge rebuilding job whilst being told who he can and cannot select in his side and who his captain will be.
No one, except Moores, would be so willing to work with one arm tied behind their back. He now has, after all, a very rare opportunity to right his previous wrongs with England.
The worst part in all of this is that, after the India tour of 2008/09, the ECB agreed with Pietersen. They agreed that Moores could not continue in his role and they fired him. Five years on, there’s precious little to suggest he deserves this second chance.
He is simply an establishment man that reaffirms the ECB’s position on a number of matters. He gets on well with Cook; tick. He will not agitate to re-select Pietersen; tick. He will not affect a radical change, or any change, in the ECB’s philosophy; tick. He will be happy to work beneath Andy Flower, the apple of the ECB’s eye; tick.
All the evidence clearly points to the need for a major overhaul. The existing system simply does not work. An opportunity has been missed. The World Cup is 10 months away, The Ashes a year away. What has been learned from this winter? Nothing.
Some very strange decisions have been made at the ECB of late. For the short and medium term future of English cricket, they appear to be very damaging, too.
By Miles Reucroft