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Flower it is - but a cloak of secrecy remains

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Oliver Brett | 15:35 UK time, Wednesday, 15 April 2009

In this summer to rival all past summers for English cricket it would be churlish not to wish Andy Flower, on his first day in office as team director, all the luck in the world.

Not only is it essential that England put on a strong show in the ICC World Twenty20 in June, there is also the small matter of an Ashes campaign a month later.

And yet, a number of important questions remain unanswered - despite the fact the ECB's managing director Hugh Morris was challenged to validate the rather unsatisfactory search for a successor to Peter Moores.

One issue - the questionable strategy of hiring a head-hunting firm - was safely negotiated as Morris said it cost no more than putting an advertisement in a national newspaper.

But why had four men judged to be among the best cricket coaches on the globe - Mickey Arthur, John Buchanan, Tom Moody and Graeme Ford - not even bothered to throw their hats into the ring? In short, what was so unappealing about this role?

Hugh Morris is convinced Andy Flower has the potential to succeed

Morris's answer was thus: "I don't think it's unappealing because we clearly had significant interest in the role. We were very pleased with the level and standard of the people who applied for the role."

But who were the 30 applicants that Morris was so proud of and which of them had got onto the shortlist of interviewed candidates? "For reasons of confidentiality I would like to keep that confidential."

Morris was unable to tout Flower's past achievements as a coach, because the only coaching experience he has had is as Moores' assistant - and in that time England did not exactly worry the rest of the cricketing world.

But he did say he has the "potential to be a world-class coach" at least twice, which is fine so long as the potential is realised. It's pretty darned important that it is realised, mind you. Stick a young rookie county player into the national side, and you can easily drop him two or three matches later if he fails to make the grade - but that's not so easy with your coach.

The other issue is this: the England role has the significant carrot of being a staff job, not a short-term contract - and an attractive salary thought to be in the region of £250,000 a year, possibly more.

And yet we still return, predictably enough, to the stand-in candidate who was waiting in the wings all along, even Flower reminded us that he was not sure he actually wanted the job until halfway through the tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.

You have to go back to 1999, when the ECB had been in existence for barely two years - to find the last (and thus far only) appointment from outside its own "family".

That time, they replaced David Lloyd with Duncan Fletcher - and what a success that was. This time - well, it's not exactly a Fabio Capello moment for English cricket.

Meanwhile, we still don't know what the rest of the coaching structure will be, whether - for instance - bowling coach Ottis Gibson keeps his job or not. Perhaps we will one day soon.

What of Flower himself? It is fair to say he made a quiet appearance at Lord's, and spoke quietly too - so much so that his words were almost lost amid the (not exactly deafening) clicks of camera shutters.

He said nothing that was surprising, memorable or remotely newsworthy, and where he could justifiably avoid answering a question at all he did so.

All of that is barely relevant at this stage of course, and if England's results this summer either meet or surpass expectations then nobody will care if he continues to play the media with caution.

In the meantime, it is only right and proper to let Flower prepare for the detailed strategic work - plus selection and team meetings - that will dominate his diary over the next three weeks.

The first indication of his ideology will come when the squad for the first Test against West Indies is announced on Sunday.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I agree, good luck to Andy Flower, but I still think this is an amazing decision even if not surprising. Basically he's got the job on a hunch that he'll be a good coach, and because he's an easy going guy who won't upset the various cliques in the squad, particularly the one led by Flintoff. I can't help thinking the likelyhood of this being looked back on as a key moment for English cricket is very slim.

  • Comment number 2.

    This is a lousy piece again Ollie, sorry. It's littered with poor English and journalistic inanities, and says nothing of value.

    Mind you, Pranav's is not much better. Why is "bapteme du feu" (sic - there should be a circumflex on the first e) in French? Mind you, "baptism by fire" wouldn't make sense in the sentence either, so... And "...a cogent relationship with England captain Andrew Strauss" - 'cogent'??? Hmm... Still, the piece, at least, displays some cogency.

    On a positive note, of course we all wish Andy Flower well. His appointment is a good one, under the circumstances. Whether the circumstances are as they should be will continue to be debated. However, I'm optimistic :)

  • Comment number 3.

    If Flower is not more open with the media they will have him for breakfast just as soon as England lose two matches in a row. Nice Blog.

  • Comment number 4.

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire for Flower. I do, however, wish him the very best of luck as its not going to be a very easy job.

    On a side note, Ireland have taken one further step towards World Cricketing Domination (just joking) by making it to the World Cup.

  • Comment number 5.

    This is yet another fantastic blunder. Moores was always a bad pick. Andy Flower as batting coach has presided over a period of execrably inconsistent batting performances from almost every member of the England squad. All batters have gone through confidence crises - including Petersen, who had to get himself back on form his own way. Strauss had to leave the side to recover; Collingwood lost form and had to drag himself up by his bootstraps; Cook, Bell you name them, there are no exceptions. We have had record threatening low scores, and displayed an inability to fulfil even the basics (shot selection, occupying the crease positively, adjusting to conditions, pacing an inning, running between the wickets). Strategically barren performances have been supported by technical flaw after technical flaw. To top this there has been no sense of team at the centre of these problems.

    How can you possibly justify employing in the top role somebody who has palpably failed in a supporting one? I am beyond despair in the ECB and English Cricket. We have consigned the team to mediocrity for another 3 years at least, and can reliably count on the Ashes staying in Australia for the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 6.

    Bully for Andy flower and best of luck to the those picked to play for their country.(they will certainly need it) But at the end of the day does it really matter much to the majority of us.
    After all a very small percentage of people will have the chance it see a match. It will only be those that can pay for Sky Sport, and as time goes on and more people lose their jobs, even fewer will be able to afford it. Our Granchildren by-and-large will never see a game played, let alone play themselves. If by any chance they do play it would have at Public schools it would have to be on concret because by then we would have built on every last playing field The only alternative would be to play on football and rugby pitches (at least it would give budding spin bowlers half a chance I suppose) So the rulers of Cricket will sit in their ivory towers presiding over an organization that cannot produce a team worthy of internaional cricket. We have just been defeated by one of the weakest test teams in the world, Yet with our head in the sand we are talking about taking on tha Ausies with some hope of winning. Never mind the reality chaps just keep a stiff upper lip and wave the flag we at least can loose gloriously I guess

  • Comment number 7.

    good luck andy you'll need it.... altho' I agree with cricomaster. can someone tell me how hugh morris has survived the last few months? he was packed off to the windies to keep him out of the firing line i think as he made such a hash of the pieterson sacking episode. after we get stuffed this summer perhaps this "jobs for the boys" culture will be reviewed.

  • Comment number 8.

    Crickomaster;

    It may be just me, but i tought that the batsmen had an excellent tour of the West Indies. I thought that the bowlers were the major dissappointment.

  • Comment number 9.

    What did the head hunting consultants who were going to talk to '34 or more significant thinkers on English Cricket' do for their significant fee. A worse than dull batsman to a monosyllabic coach at a salary that could buy Zimbababwe Cricket is hardly the progress the founders of Cricket should be looking at coming up to a crucial Ashes Summer - 5 - 0 the last time rememdber!

  • Comment number 10.

    Mark my words, Flower will be a success. A combination of the best of Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher. Moores was way too preppy and his tireless optimism a pain - not enough substance to him. England have got themselves the best available man although my first pick would have been Moody. Good luck to the man and if he gets the team firing on all cylinders, then Australia can certainly be beaten.

  • Comment number 11.

    Oapompy, my 11 year old son has learned to love the game through a local club in Perth (Scotland, not Aus). I have taken him to several matches north and south of the border and hope to see an England game with him this season.
    For those who say we should have gone for someone with experience two things occur to me: first, the age old argument about how does someone get experience - we cannot expect the other test playing nations to train up coaches for us to pinch; second, the chances are that our beloved media put off the likes of Arthur, Buchanan, Moody and Ford.
    Best of luck to Andy Flower.

  • Comment number 12.

    Oliver,

    Did you really think Mickey Arthur would leave South Africa for England? Not a chance. Graeme Ford was never going to get it after being backed by KP (you don’t want a coach tipped by a sacked ex-captain as that could easily look like you’re circumventing the actual captain’s authority), Tom Moody will take over from Tim Nielsen after we win the Ashes this year (boo-ya!) and John Buchanan would be insane (Australian success, Middlesex abject failure).

    When Fletcher came in, he’d been around the county scene for a fair while. If it was therefore a brave move to haul Fletcher into the hot seat, surely it must therefore equally qualify as a brave move to give Flower the coaching slot in the first place? I don’t agree with this notion that you become some ‘old school tie’ boy the minute you touch the England camp. Flower comes from a country with a pretty messed-up past and present (probably future too, sadly enough) and is far enough from the public school ‘Didn’t you use to warm my toilet seat at Eton?’ mentality to bring his own way of doing things to England.


    “He said nothing that was surprising, memorable or remotely newsworthy, and where he could justifiably avoid answering a question at all he did so.”

    …whereas Fletcher used to conduct his press conferences by doing impersonations of journalists whilst wielding a large duck whistle. Right?

  • Comment number 13.

    AndyP - you make a few valid points in your first paragraph, and as I said in my piece on the BBC Sport website yesterday Tom M should have been brought in two years ago when he still had a home in the UK. Boat missed.

    I cannot agree with the rest of what you say though. As others have mentioned in some excellent replies, the only quantifiable gauge to Flower's coaching prowess comes in the high-profile and frequent failures of English batsmen in the past two years.

    Eirebilly - on that very subject, surely you remember the cataclysmic collapse in Jamaica? And the woeful batting in the two 50-over defeats -plus the Twenty20 debacles (in Stanford and Trinidad)?

  • Comment number 14.

    Ollie, where's the piece you did yesterday - I can't find it.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think we should all be grateful - after the hash the ECB made of the last few months that ANYONE should want the job. Flower, don't forget, is one of the greatest cricketers of his generation and has a lot of experience of international cricket to share. We can't blame him for the mess England were in under Moores, nor can the recent batting collapses be wholly laid at his door. The Windies tour was ALWAYS going to be tough, the BBC and the rest of the media were the ones underestimating the challenge for England - it wasn't the players. That Strauss and Flower gelled so quickly, hauled a fractured, perhaps complacent and certainly knackered team out of a pretty big hole and then went on to win a one day series is a testament to both men. Let's get behind them and here's hoping for at least a couple of years of stability. I'm not saying we'll win the Ashes but we've given ourselves a good chance with the right men at the top now. I just hope the bleedin' players step up to the mark!

  • Comment number 16.

    Good luck to Flower. Good earlier point about how Morris has avoided criticism. Can someone explain what credentials this man has to be 'managing director' of a fairly hefty business venture as the ECB? The set-up is crying out for an experienced, proven businessman (a la Lord McClaurin), someone who knows how to manage people, set direction, commercially aware etc. Are these skills which a guy who retired not that long ago after a career in first-class cricket bring to the party? His lack of man management skills was badly exposed in the Moores and Pietersen episode. Yet another 'he's a good chap' appointment. Add to that a chairman of selectors who doubles up as an (unfunny and bufoon like) after dinner speaker and these are the people we have leading the organisation into the second decade of the 21st century. Only in english cricket.......

  • Comment number 17.

    All followers of English cricket (I count myself among that flock) need to face reality. England are no longer a major force - Australia, South Africa and India are the superpowers and comfortably ahead of the rest.

    We might have to wait a long time to see another England team as motivated and well-led as the one which beat Australia in 2005. Michael Vaughan's men had steamrollered a frankly appalling Windies team and done well to see off a pesky Kiwi outfit before a fantastic triumph over South Africa. The Ashes was undoubtedly the zenith of that team.

    The Test team has lost their last three series, the one-day team has looked clueless for as long as I can remember, and even in Twenty20, which we invented and in which got a head-start on other countries, we have looked rank novices.

    The bowling lacks reals menace unless Andrew Flintoff is fully fit and firing. Swann's heroics at the end of the Windies tour notwithstanding, the team is crying out for a genuinely world-class spinner. Monty Panesar could yet be that man but he has fallen away alarmingly in the last 12 months.

    It wasn't the most attractive job if we're being honest, and that was before the available world-class coaches were asked to submit presentations to a recruitment company with no expertise in cricket.

    Duncan Fletcher seems an even better coach with every day that passes.

    So Flower, with his limited coaching experience, has an unenviable task to revive a failing and divided bunch of players. I don't buy the spin from Hugh Morris that all is well within the camp - it cannot be after the rancour earlier in the year. As Flower says, they don't have to be best mates but when faced with a crisis, which England are likely to face this summer against the rejuvenated Aussies, they will need Flintoff, Pietersen (still aggrieved at what happened in January) and co to be singing from the same sheet.

    I'd love to be proved wrong but I can't see it happening.

    Morris was appointed with the goal of regaining the Ashes this summer. He has somehow emerged unscathed from a largely unsuccessful and latterly shambolic first 18 months. Surely he should not enjoy such mercy if the urn is not recaptured?

  • Comment number 18.

    Mediocrity is what we expect from the folks running England's cricket and they keep on delivering. They passed on Troy Cooley. How stupid was that? Geof Miller was an average spinner at best. He's a dull-witted selector. Mediocre managers cannot stand people of strong character; they are threatened by them. Kevin Pietersen a case in point. We need people with balls at the top to select people with balls to play. would you ever, ever see the Australians carry on like this? For shame, no!

  • Comment number 19.

    Any bloke that averages over 50 in tests whilst playing for a mediocre side as well as having the guts to stand up to a questionable regime and thereby sacrificing his test career certainly deserves a shot at this job - and judging by some of the decisions made (the dropping of Belly and Monty for example) he is not afraid to make the hard decisions either.

  • Comment number 20.

    TBH i think we should sack the entire ECB, all managment, selectors and the like and replace them with Ian Botham.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jabsco79 (Post 16) - Hugh Morris is not Managing Director of the ECB. He is not a board director and has little (if anything) to do with the finances of what you rightly say is a hefty organisation.
    He is Managing Director of England Cricket and has responsibility for overseeing the cricket side of the operation (i.e. He has responsibility for the England men's team, women's team, academy and medical staff). As a result it is more his playing experience (which you talk about) which is relevant to hi role.
    David Collier (as ECB Chief Executive) is the man who runs the business and is a director of the board, which is chaired by Giles Clarke.
    As a side issue, Morris does have an MBA and was previously Deputy Chief Executive of the ECB so does have some business experience!

  • Comment number 22.

    I've just realised - it is not actually Jabasco who made the error but Oliver Brett! Surely, Oliver, you know what Hugh Morris' job is seeing as you have just written an article largely about him?!

  • Comment number 23.

    I suggest wilo108 gets a life, not sure who he thinks he is !

    The outcome was inevitable once a number of high profile individuals decided not to throw their hat into the ring. The ECB had little choice really and the one crumb of comfort for them is that Flower is a bright and decent bloke who appears to be effective at building key relationships, something Moores never managed to achieve with the likes of Pieterson and Vaughan. I have to say however that I do squirm a little when the ECB reflect on his performance as caretaker in the West Indies. Fact is we lost, and serious mistakes were made by the captain and head coach. To be fair to Flower however, it was refreshing to hear him admit to these failings after the series concluded.

    What I hope is that Flower is tough enough (backed by Strauss, Miller etc) to make a bunch of molly coddled internationals accountable for the results and performances. For instance, we over use the phrase "consistency of selection". Thats fine if we are winning and the odd player has a minor dip in form. But just look at the last three test series (all lost) when the batting unit failed to deliver on several key occasions. But still we see the same faces (Bell being the exception)in the top six because we are afraid of making changes before the Ashes. I hope the heirachy maintain a sensible distance from the players and are not afraid to take decisive action with respect to poor individual and team performance.

    I genuinely wish Andy Flower luck as he does appear to have some very sound attributes - the jury will be out however on whether he will prove to be a leading coach or another costly failure

  • Comment number 24.

    #23 critic2 - of course, that batting failure to deliver on several key occasions was under the oversight of Andy Flower! So you can see why others are pessimistic.

    Good luck to him, he'll really need it.

  • Comment number 25.

    The Englnad coach job is a poisoned chalice which is why no big name coaches wanted it. The public's expectation of the England side far far outweighs the reality of it's ability. To build a decent side will take years and history tells us that a few bad results would see the counrty baying for the coache's blood this is repeated in rugby and football.
    Whilst the game is run by blazered duffers no coach is going to get the support they need or the tools to reform the domestic game which is a pre-requisite to us producing a world beating side.So it is not surprising that anyone with a good c.v and half a brain didnt touch it.
    As for the appointment of Odgers to do the recruitment see comment re blazered duffers! I rest my case.

  • Comment number 26.

    Like others on this blog, I am in a state of disbelief and shock at the selection of Andy Flowers. Is this the very best the ECB can do? Does no-one out there of merit want to manage England? Has respect for English cricket dropped so dramatically since the summer of 2005?

    The choice of Flowers is surely some joke? The ECB are merely repeating the same mistake the FA made after picking McClaren. Will cricket supporters have to endure a similar fate where the end result will be a humiliating defeat by the Australians this summer coupled with a further drop in rank into the twilight zone over the coming months?

    Well, Hugh Morris has put his neck firmly on the line. Why take such a risk? If Flowers doesn't bloom into 'his potential' then goodbye to Morris and good riddance.

    Yet again, English cricket's mediocrity and underachievement shines bright.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't see how the process could have been done any differently. After being criticised for appointing Moores without looking at other options, it was important to be more open this time around. That process could not occur in the middle of a tour while players needed to concentrate on cricket. If other people dropped out, they obviously weren't that bothered about the job. Better to have someone who wants it, as he is more likely to give it his all.
    I am interested to hear what Flower's ideas are on the way forward, and particularly with team selection. He seems to be made of tough stuff, exactly what England need.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re. No.6 Oapompy – Please don’t make the effort to see a match, as I may have the misfortune to sit next to you and be forced to commit suicide before lunch.

    Your dismal appraisal of cricket in this country is not one that I recognise.

    “After all a very small percentage of people will have the chance to see a match.”

    It may be that you were specifically referring to Test matches, and I cannot vouch for the percentage of sport-watching fans who have Sky, but the last time I looked there were 18 counties, minor counties and several hundred club and village teams playing the game. International cricket, like Premiership football, is not the be all and end all.

    As for the hackneyed stuff about our grandchildren not playing the game, if that is the case it will probably be their choice. My 11-year-old (who doesn’t go to public school) plays cricket in the back garden with his Dad, in the street with his friends and at the Colts section of his local club because he loves the game and wants to make the effort. The dedication of the club coaches allow him to participate in summer nets and winter indoor training. His annual county cricket membership costs £12 and allows him to see unlimited first-class and one-day play.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think under the circumstances we're in, and no it wouldn't be a good idea to suddenly have a revolution just at the start of an Ashes season, this is an excellent appointment, albeit fortuitous. You need somebody respected with a recent inside knowledge of the game. I also think England will need a tenacious character when taking on the Australians, and Andy Flower fits the bill on both scores.

    Apart from a few players, I don't think the Aussies are particularly good at the moment particularly on the bowling front, we always over rate them and pay them too much respect, but they'll fight like mad. I think man for man England are definitely a match for them, but they need to play with a bit of backbone and creativity, and hopefully Andy Flower will be the person to instill that from the start.

  • Comment number 30.

    It won't matter who's in charge, the players are not good enough. Don't get me started on the ECB.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hey People,

    Face the facts..

    (1) The gulf between test cricket and county cricket is increasing thus the pool of quality players available is getting smaller and smaller.

    (2) England unfortunately are in the second tier of test cricketing nations and have been here for some time. If you take away the ashes win of 2005, nothing of note has happened consistently to be happy about.

    (3) The objectives of the ECB and the test team are different. The ECB is about generating revenues and exposure through competitions and markerting. The current test team goal is playing in as many of those competitions and NOT primarily winning. If winning was the case, KP would have remained the captain.

    (4) Selection in English sports tends (except footie now) to be about "history" and not present or future thus the likes of Harmison, Flintoff, Vaughan, Sidebottom etc would not have been taken on tour to west indies (exclude Vaughan), why do we keep taking unfit players on tour in the hope that a miracle would happen. we do not needs hero's, we want professionals.

    Reality check......

    Folwer cannot perform miracles with the bunch of average players in the allowed into England setup. Apart from KP, Broad, Swann and Anderson the others are non-pivotal players who cannot help England push for a win or stand to save a test match if such opportinities arise.

    We all need to accept this and get the ECB to make a firm target i.e. Ashes in 2011, England will win this in order to measure how the team is performing. Get Folwer to manage this current ship and get Graham Gooch or a proven star of the past for england to build and supply players for the future.

    If the targets are not met, then sack the coach. It has been a long time since a coach was sacked because the team failed to achieve a goal, rather politics and back-bitting sackings or appointments.

    The ECB should stand down if England fail to win the Ashes in 2011. And should no new stars be brought into the test side, sack the support coach as well. Other countries find players and develop them, why are we not doing the same consistently.

  • Comment number 32.

    eirebilly

    The West Indies batsmen were also fairly good in the recent tour. There was only one majorly bad innings - England.

    No Flower is not the right man to do a coaching job. However, he is the right man to keep the ECB happy.

    And why make such a permanant appointment - reassess after a year! If he is great give him 2 more years. If not, find someone else.

    This is stoopid.

  • Comment number 33.

    All the ecb do is take the easy way out, they will always make jobs for the boys, i mean look at the england team it is harder to get in because no matter how bad you perform you know you will not be dropped because it is a closed shop!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    It's quite amazing! The best England could do was to sign yet another South African-born cricketer.
    Still, I guess that is a great compliment. Andy Flower is a great cricketer, and needs all the luck he can get to get the best out of a moderately-talented team, AND deal with the suits backstage, a difficult press and overwhelming national expectations.
    The English need to get behind him and give him time to work with the side. One gets the feeling, though, that time is not on his side.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ollie Brett - What an idiot. Seriously nothing of any note in the blog, I could have written a better blog myself.

  • Comment number 36.

    Having read most people comments I have to agree with some. I myself find it difficult to understand how we reward failure and whether Flower was a stand-in coach, stand-in manager, stand in director of English cricket, he has failed and therefore rewarded with a double your money deal and promoted! He has nothing new to bring to table having being involved in the set-up previously..does this remind anyone of an ex England football manager. Good coaches do not make good managers and the new position Flower finds himself in is all about managing people and not managing technical issues surrounding someone's game. These players are Internationals as well as fully qualified cricket coaches themselves and therefore should know their own game inside out, its the mental side that needs work, self belief and confidence in ones ability.
    I in no way blame Flower for the position he now finds himself in, after all the ECB were left with very little choice and Flower was the easy option and comes cheaper than those others mentioned.
    He may well have an excellent relationship with captain Strauss but that didn't to the team much good over the past winter. Lets not forget that the only games England won were on the Duckworth Lewis format.
    I am more than happy to be proved wrong but as a betting man my monies on that within 18 months, if not sooner, England will once again be in search of their director of English cricket .

  • Comment number 37.

    TonyParkes1222,

    "Flower cannot perform miracles with the bunch of average players..."

    What football has clearly shown us is that the manager is everything... everything! Under Steve McClaren, England were a bunch of average players. Under Fabio Capello they are an unbeaten team in the World Cup qualifiers and touted as a favourite to win the 2010 competition. An amazing turn-a-round given the similar players involved. Why? The manager.

    Before Fletcher, England were bumbling around in their usual mediocrity and dismal failure. Fletcher comes along and turns a bunch of average players into a team of winners. Supporters had to pinch themselves at the metamorphosis culminating in the 2005 Ashes victory. Why? The manager.

    Kevin Pieterson knows this well and why he believed Moores was not up to the job. Moores wasn't. God alone knows what he must be thinking now, when the ECB shoot themselves yet again in the foot, by choosing the No 2. A man who's sole experience is losing to the West Indies. A team ranked even lower than England. The situation lurches from bad to worse.

    The key to this debacle - the very epi-centre of this demoralising farce is the ECB itself. Just like the FA, the organisation represents the very worst of the English psyche. Where failure and mediocrity is still worshipped as the England way - a psychosis going back to the Victorian era where winning was not gentlemanly but heroic failure was. A group of dull, clueless middle-management types who would be sacked by Sir Alan Sugar in the first few rounds of the 'Apprentice'.

    It took the McClaren saga to brutally kick the FA into finally finding the right man in Capello. Will it need more continual cricket humiliation before Morris and his ECB cronies do the same?

    Unless you sack the ECB hierarchy what is going to change? And only the media have that power. Do the British press care in a country where football dominates all sport? Almost certainly not.

    English cricket supporters, it seems, are doomed to further decades of failure and underachievement - where success is seen as an aberration rather than the norm. We have the players - we have the talent - but without an experienced top manager guiding them to reach their full potential - giving them the self-belief, ruthlessness and confidence that is so direly lacking in English cricket, we might as well believe in heroic failure and pray for a miracle!



  • Comment number 38.

    To say 'what football has shown us is that the manager is everything' is to ignore the fundamental differences between cricket and football.
    In cricket, a respected figure such as Shane Warne argues that a coach is not even required. When was the last time you heard John Terry say that? While I'm not saying I agree with Warne, his reasoning is clear; in cricket the captain plays a more important role than in any other major team sport. In cricket the coach should be a facilitator more than anything. Flower is well qualified in that regard as a thoughtful former player who clearly made the most of his ability and a man of supreme morals who stood up to Mugabe.
    Softandfluffy - who would you rather have in place? This question should be considered against the backgound of the fact that Flower has clearly developed a good working relationship with Andrew Strauss and knows the English game from his time at Essex.
    In my opinion, none of the other candidates offer enough to warrant rocking the boat in an Ashes summer.
    Mickey Arthur is the same age as Flower and doesn't have nearly the same playing experience. He doesn't know the English game and it could well be argued that he is fortunate to have aligned his time as South Africa's coach with Graeme Smith coming into his prime as a captain and Dale Steyn emerging as the world's most potent fast bowler.
    Graham Ford was coach of South Africa for two years almost a decade ago. At Kent he has been responsible for filling his side with Kolpak players to the detriment of the English game.
    John Wright had a good run with India but could be past his prime as a coach and, with everything considered, does not offer enough to warrant removing Flower once settled.
    Tom Moody would have been a strong candidate but is clearly well settled with his family in Western Australia and has his eye on the Australia job. When he was appointed by Sri Lanka, he had been coach at Worcestershire for a year or two without any major success. Flower has more experience than he had at that time doesn't he?
    Let's stop this lazy 'the ECB are all fools' argument and give Flower a chance to show what he's got.
    As a side issue, those who argue the Pietersen and Moores affair represents a failure of Hugh Morris are not thinking things through. Morris was put in an impossible situation. Moores' position had become untenable by Pietersen's thoughts on him becoming public. Was Morris then to continue with a captain who, with three matches of captaincy experience and without the support of his team, demanded a level of autonomous power that no England captain has ever had? Of course not.

  • Comment number 39.

    Oliver,

    Lots of people tipped Tom Moody back in the day but is his CV really that impressive? I quote from his website (http://www.tommoody.com/coaching.htm%29:

    --------------------------------
    “In 2003 Worcestershire won the second-division championship. The team also reached two Lords finals in the C & G Trophy.

    Under Moody, Vikram Solanki, Kabir Ali and Gareth Batty, have played for England in both the One Day Internationals and the Test Match arena

    Tom has achieved the highest level of coaching accreditation in England by completing the level IV certificate which puts him amongst the highest qualified coaches in the game. “
    --------------------------------


    It doesn’t mention the fact that Worcestershire lasted one year in Division One after getting promoted and then Moody left for Sri Lanka. None of those England players mentioned in the quote above ever came close to being permanent fixtures. If you take out Steven Davies, you can’t even say that he did that much to bring players through the youth ranks into the side as much of Worcestershire’s squad over the last few years have been signings from other counties (Gareth Andrew, Chris Whelan, Gareth Batty, the high profile signing of Simon Jones, Arif gaining a British passport, Moeen Ali, Stephen Moore, Ben Smith etc). You can’t say that the youth development is anywhere near as successful as Durham, Yorkshire, Essex etc.


    You say that the gauge to Flower’s coaching prowess is in the failures of England’s batsmen. Well, when Flower came into test cricket, we saw several big scores racked up against the West Indies in 2007. We came close to matching the Indians when they came here and indeed beat them in the ODI series. We had Donald and Flower coaching with ball and bat and things did seem to improve.

    The failures after that to me speak less of Flower’s failure and more of problems at the top. Look at the evidence. Against South Africa over here, we rack up serious runs at Lords. When we went to Headingley, we collapsed amid scenes of selectorial and captain disagreement over Pattinson, with the decided good bet being that Moores was involved at some point. In Jamaica when we collapsed in the First test, you could palpably see the level of discomfort within the team. It didn’t look unified. It was a team full of disharmony from the KP-Moores affair and that is the team Flower inherited.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, Flower took a team to the West Indies that was damaged by the fallout from KP’s removal as captain. He lost his star all-rounder, one of the major unifying forces in that side. His premier batsman was feeling decidedly hurt (and rightly so). His senior bowlers in Harmison, Flintoff and Sidebottom all pretty much failed to contribute. That we came so close to winning two tests in such circumstances shows there is some backbone to England. No coach comes in instantly and gets a team performing. Capello didn’t with England in the football. Martin Johnson didn’t with England in the rugby. Now you’ve got people talking him up a great deal after England went from dismal against Italy to beating the French. I’d agree that our collapses in the ODI format were disappointing. It was clear that England weren’t a team full of confidence. Again though, those collapses came at a time when there was clear unhappiness going about with KP talking about flying home, doing a Robinho and wanting his missus. We then saw Flintoff return and perform heroically and Strauss leading from the front as he did all throughout the winter. I mean, jeez, if you want to see someone who Flower’s batting tips has helped then it is Strauss. The rest got his mind working and the way he and Cook played the Indian spinners over there showed Flower’s influence.


    Now you’re an Essex supporter so how can you come out with stuff like ‘The only quantifiable gauge to Flower’s coaching prowess comes in the high-profile and frequent failures of English batsmen in the past two years?’ Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara have both acknowledged his influence at Essex. You’ve had Graham Gooch praise Flower’s influence. Nasser Hussain has said it’s a great appointment and this article says it perfectly.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-1170329/NASSER-HUSSAIN-Flower-England-right-pick-job.html

    We tried Moores as coach, a man with an impressive county CV and a list of qualifications to his name. It failed. In Flower, we’re trying someone without that list of qualifications and the aura of the ECB star coach. He’s a cricketing man with a cricketing brain and I believe that will be a good thing for England. There is talk of KP regarding him as an offshoot of Moores. That is rubbish. Flower is his own man and I’ll go with Nasser in saying that he is the right man for England.

  • Comment number 40.

    Englandcricket81,

    "a respected figure such as Shane Warne argues that a coach is not even required."

    Umm, this is a man who fell out with more managers and people of authority than he did women's beds. :o)

    "in cricket the captain plays a more important role than in any other major team sport. In cricket the coach should be a facilitator more than anything."

    What English cricket requires is a successful working partnership between a strong manager and captain. Hussain and Fletcher initially pulled England out of its dreadful mire of dismal failure. What Vaughan and Fletcher did was build on this and create a run of success culminating in the '05 Ashes victory. Therefore, the manager is as important as the captain and unlike other international sides, the England manager is more crucial. He is the psychological mentor to instil confidence and self belief.

    When Capello took over from McClaren he specified the biggest problem with the England football side was confidence - not ability or talent. English cricket has a similar problem. It is a part of the British psyche - a fragility going back to the Victorian era and the belief that winning was not gentlemanly.

    "who would you rather have in place? "

    The most experienced, most successful and most respected manager available. At international level you do not take a gamble as the ECB has done with Flowers - especially in an Ashes year. At county club level perhaps, as Surrey have done with Chris Adams; but certainly not at international level. It usually ends in tears.

    "In my opinion, none of the other candidates offer enough to warrant rocking the boat in an Ashes summer."

    That is precisely what needs to be done - the boat desperately requires rocking to halt the dismal failure path the English cricket side are once more heading down under the feeble auspices of the present ECB. Pieterson knew this but his attempts failed due to poor political and social skills. Pieterson knew that England required the best international manager available to kick the team out of their growing demise. Not yet another 'job for the boys' type that the ECB believe in.

    Since 2005, English international cricket has fallen off a cliff. Look at the rankings. We require another Fletcher to come along and pull us out of the mire before it becomes terminal. English cricket revels in mediocrity and underachievement. And the ECBs function is to merely play host to that dysfunctional desire and belief.

    It is so sad to watch it all unravel... again!



  • Comment number 41.

    AndyP

    You'd kind of expect Gooch and Hussain to sing Flower's praises highly wouldn't you? I am - as your rightly observe - an Essex supporter, but why should that prevent me from questioning Flower in any way? I would be an extremely disingenuous journalist if I could find no flaw in anything Essex-related!

    As for Tom Moody, any doubts you had about him as a Worcestershire coach should be dispelled when you consider the vast strides he made with a very young and inexperienced Sri Lankan side, taking them to a World Cup final and some significant Test series wins

  • Comment number 42.

    AndyPlowright wrote that Flower is from a country in trouble (Zimbabwe) maybe a bit of research will also tell you that Duncan Fletcher is from the same country.

  • Comment number 43.

    Englandcricket81,

    "As a side issue, those who argue the Pietersen and Moores affair represents a failure of Hugh Morris are not thinking things through..."

    Let us quickly look at Hugh Morris and his credentials to be one of the most influential and powerful people in English cricket.

    He played just 3 Test Matches for England and while captaining Glamorgan for 6 seasons, achieved nothing for the club. Ironically, Glamorgan won their first championship two years after Morris left the club. A typical mediocre, underachieving county club player. Therefore, why on earth is he the managing director of the England team? Surely, Mike Gatting would have been a far better selection?

    The Schofield report recommended after the recent Ashes fiasco, "The establishment of a new management structure within the ECB with full accountability and responsibility for the selection and performance of the England cricket team."

    Now, who was directly responsible for choosing that management structure? David Collier, the ECB chief executive. Which beggars the question, why did Collier choose Morris for the job? Surely, there were far better choices available.

    Perhaps, rather like John Major, Morris was in the right place at the right time - more a political appointment rather than one based on merit. For Morris is completely out of his depth and should never have been chosen. Therefore, the blame must rest on Collier's shoulders.

    But wait! Morris was also a member of the seven-man Schofield committee who made the recommendation in the first place. Now that makes more sense. 'Jobs for the Boys' rings ever more loudly.

  • Comment number 44.

    I do actually agree with you, softandfluffy, that when Morris was appointed I was not sure it was the best appointment that could have been made. I had a think to myself then, and have done since, about who would have been a better appointment. This is a role that seems to require a mix of cricket experience and wider management experience.
    Mike Gatting did spring to mind. One problem with Gatting is that he has no real management experience at all (other than captaining Middlesex and England - in the case of England to two test wins in 23 matches). The major problem with Gatting, I believe, is that without meaning to sound too harsh he as never struck me as the sharpest tool in the box. Graham Gooch comes into the same category. Unfortunately I can't believe that either would have been much good in a situation like the one that presented itself in India following the Mumbai attacks last year.
    Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain are two intelligent men who articulate their thoughts on the game clearly. It is unfortunate that their talents seem wasted (good as they both are) in the commentary box and that they seem unwilling to go into the management side of the game.
    Morris is one of the few people who I can think of who does have the required experience. Even abroad there are not that many, although someone like Dave Gilbert, who was a success as a coach at Surrey and Chief Executive at Sussex and now is Chief Executive at New South Wales, could have been an interesting candidate.
    As a far as the coach goes if you're looking for the most experienced, most succesful and most respected manager available that would be one of the candidates I discussed above. John Buchanan would be the most experienced and successful but I'm not sure how respected he is. He failed at Middlesex and then ran an Australian team that would have been the best in the world with anyone who knew the first thing about cricket at the helm! The last thing England need is someone trying to reinvent the wheel with ideas like his recent 'multiple captains' theory.
    I enjoyed your views, softandfluffy, but please back them with some names of people you'd rather have. As I have, I think, demonstrated it's not that easy.
    In the meantime, let's get behind Flower, who I belive will prove to be entirely his own man and not one of the ECB's 'boys' as has been said.

  • Comment number 45.

    englandcricket81,

    The primary problem I have with Hugh Morris is... he's not a winner. From my research, Morris did not win a single thing in his entire county club career. A fair batsman, agreed, but that's it. Glamorgan were your typical mediocre, underachieving club during the '80s and early '90s, who simply made up the county numbers. And as stated before, ironically, won the County Championship two years after Morris left.

    Why is someone with an insipid and mediocre county record; who only played three Tests; who has not experienced winning a single trophy; been made managing director of English cricket? It utterly baffles me. Given all the past winners England have, from the Boycotts and Bothams to the Goochs and Gowers, surely there was someone else better qualified? While I agree, Gatting is short of a few marbles, at least he is a winner. Don't forget he was the last captain to have won the Ashes before Vaughan.

    Sadly, the intelligent, articulate and imaginative cricket winners, usually end up in the cushy job called "the media". Generally stress-free, where you can be critical and finger-wagging with little fear of recrimination while enjoying celebrity status. It seems the more difficult jobs are left to the underachievers and losers.

    As for other England managers, you have mentioned them. As Oliver Brett hints at in his blog, hiring a head-hunting firm is a rather odd way of finding a suitable candidate. Surely, you have contacts in the cricket world - you might even know the strong contenders personally? At least, you have met them. But no, Morris goes to a cold, clinical and impersonal head-hunting firm - bizarre! Is this yet another sign of how out of his depth Morris is?

    This then leads to the obvious question: why did all the strongest contenders turn England down and even worse, in the case of Mickey Arthur, John Buchanan, Tom Moody and Graeme Ford, not even bother to apply? Is English cricket that terrible and unattractive now or were their issues which we the public are not aware of?

    Perhaps, they didn't like the ECB set-up; Perhaps, the money and general contract offered wasn't good enough? At least, the FA have realised that if you want the top people, you need to offer them top money. A salary of £250,000, in my book, is not enough, given the increasing number of international cricket matches and general media pressures. And who were these 30 applicants and why the secrecy? Are the ECB too embarrassed to tell us?

    We have no choice but to get behind Flowers. It will either be the most inspired choice the ECB will ever perform or, as expected, all end in tears; and in 18 months time another head-hunting firm will be employed.

    At times like this, you hanker for the return of Fletcher. Who would have believed that 2 years ago!




  • Comment number 46.

    It is unclear to me that ability on the field is a requisite, or even particularly relevent, for what is a management post. Experience in cricket probably is, but I just don't see why past ability with the bat or ball is relevent?

    And some of the 'winners' you mention presided as captains over shambolic series, which speaks more of their suitability than the fact that they were handy on the field in the ranks.

  • Comment number 47.

    RedRedRobin,

    "I just don't see why past ability with the bat or ball is relevent?"

    Sir Alan Sugar keeps banging the drum about looking for winners in his potential apprentices. I would suggest in today's ruthless business world, if it's not 'passion' then winning is everything.

    That desire, ambition, need 'to win' is usually inbred in an individual - call it genetic, a side-effect of childhood abuse, whatever, the desire to prove yourself is behind every winner. Just as sport requires winners so does management and business.

    Now, if Morris never experienced 'winning' in his cricket career, it tells me, perhaps, that the desire, ambition etc.. isn't with him. If he wanted to win, he would have left Glamorgan and found a more successful county to join.

    Dominic Cork is a classic winner. So is Botham, Pieterson, a majority of the Australian cricket teams during the last 25 years etc.. In my view, to be in Morris's position, it is essential. That mentality influences the decisions you make; the people you choose; the future outcomes; and the ensuing success.

    To be blunt, Morris is not a winner and therefore may influence the English cricket team to remain in its mediocre and underachieving state.

    But here's the catch 22. The cricket winners usually have no desire to join a regimented, hierarchical, small-minded organisation like the ECB. They simply wouldn't fit in. They prefer the cushy media jobs where flare and thinking out of the box is acceptable and even encouraged.

    And that is the downfall of English cricket. The best people - those with the successful and winning mindset - rarely end up in the ECB-type managerial jobs. And why England continue to wallow in their mediocrity where success is an aberration and not the norm.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Dominic Cork is a classic winner"

    Apart the actual winning stuff part. So far as I am aware his trophy cabinet only exceeds Hugh Morris' to the tune of one one-day cup.

    And I seem to recall that the application Sugar's business knowledge to sports culminated in one League cup and the appointment of well known 'winner' Christian Gross.

    The idea that picking a winner, based on their performances on the pitch and apparently ignoring their failures as leaders, rather than looking for someone who actually has some skills and experience related to the job in hand jsut seems to be prioritising the wrong thing.

    I'm not sure that Morris is the best man for the job, but if he isn't it isn't because he played for Glamorgan and 'only' scored 20,000 or so first class runs at 40.

  • Comment number 49.

    "From my research, Morris did not win a single thing in his entire county club career."

    Juts to clarify, he captained Glamorgan to the Sunday league title in 1993.

  • Comment number 50.

    Speaking as spmeone who played club cricket with Andy Flower, & known him & his family for 20 odd years, one thing i can tell you all about the man , is that he is a very tough cookie.! he's a winner, a grafter, & a man whos no respector of reputations. He certainly won't be an ECB yes man as one person suggested. And he won't shrink from telling the more " confident " members of the team what he expects from them. Neither will he be frieghtened to drop any player, if he thinks it will improve the peformence of the team or team spirit.!! You'll see a different coach over the next few weeks from the caretaker coach it the west Indies. Even then, when England lost the first one dayer in Barbados, Flower had them in the nets at 8am the following morning.
    The one thing he has to offer this England team who are full of men who think they are better than they are, is that in cricketing terms, he's better than any of them. I'm sure he already has their respect because of this, & together they might just surprise a few of you vicars of doom out there.
    Oh... & lets not forget that not only was he the only one who wanted this so called cricketing poisoned chalice, but he was the only one who fancied taking it on a part time basis in the West Indies.
    Come on Andy..!!
    Come on England.!!!
    Come on England fans..!!!
    And beware KP...The coach is a better batsman than you are!!!!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    RedRedRobin,

    Yep, my research let me down. Morris did indeed captain Glamorgan to winning the Sunday League in 1993. My mistake. I did say Morris was a fair bat. He scored 18,520 runs for the County. The fifth highest total in Glamorgan's history.

    I rather flinched mentioning Dominic Cork after publishing my response. Perhaps, not the best example. I meant he's a winner in mind rather than in actual trophies. He is an underachiever in that respect and deserves more success. Cork was close with Lancashire a few times. He may be best remembered for his hatrick against the West Indies.

    "The idea that picking a winner, based on their performances on the pitch and apparently ignoring their failures as leaders, rather than looking for someone who actually has some skills and experience related to the job in hand jsut seems to be prioritising the wrong thing."

    That is where we disagree.

    I see that a slew of pundits are now coming out and supporting Flowers. The latest is David Lloyd. While a lovely man, perhaps one of the worst England managers to date. Rather ironic given that the first job the ECB had to do after being formed in 1997 was to sack him. And then they pulled out a magic rabbit by appointing Fletcher.

    Look, like many cricket supporters, I feel frustrated that after all the success leading up to 2005 and then the cherry on the cake - the Ashes - we now see England back in the doldrums once more. I really hope Flowers is another magic rabbit, I really do.

  • Comment number 52.

    I have three teams I follow,England cricket, Manchester City and any team playing cricket against Australia and the events of the last week and the appointment of Andy Flower as England manager link the three.
    As a Man City fan I have suffered (and suspect I will still continue to suffer for years to come despite the pot loads of money we now have) continual disappointments-namely in the transfer market and the manager market. Remember if you will transfer windows and times before that when City would be linked with every player available from Marco van Basten to Geoff Thomas and every time the media speculation was way off the mark and instead we signed what I could generally call "lesser players".
    The same feeling comes in the form of the managers we have appointed over the years-I remember listening to the radio and hearing chairmen and chief operating officers uttering the immortal words "The board of Manchester City are pleased to announce the appointment of our new manager...Jimmy Frizzel...Mel Machin...Brian Horton". There are others I could mention(most City fans have their own favourites) but in each instance there was a massive feeling of being let down, that we could have done better, got someone who was more well known and who would give the team what was required.
    Now we have Andy Flower as the England cricket team manager and it's like City in the 80's(and 90's and so far this decade) we have been linked with coaches who have a proven track record of success, Tom Moody, Mickey Arthur, John Buchanan and Graeme Ford are not what you could call a bad bunch.
    We lost Ford because we didn't get him sat down quick enough, we lost Moody because we were too busy appointing Moores. Mickey Arthur dropped hints which we ignored and did we even try for Buchanan,and if we didn't we should have as we might have got him to convince a certain Australian bowling coach to come back to us and clarify the mystery of bowling straight and taking wickets.
    I have nothing against Andy Flower and will support England just like I supported and still support City but I fear for this summer against the Australians and think we should take on coaches for better reasons, just because he was once the number one batsman in the world and just because he gets on with Strauss are not good enough reasons-if he had been the best qualified coach with a proven track record of success then that would have been a good reason.

  • Comment number 53.

    I have a gut feeling that this hard fighting, down to earth Zimbawean is going to bring England some happiness.

  • Comment number 54.

    Withnail_19,

    You accept your years of disappointments with grace and stoicism.

    To be an England supporter is usually an act of self martyrdom and punishment - briefly broken by an aberration of success - before it's cruelly taken away and replaced once more by the same underachievement and mediocrity. The British are so used to it now, we accept it as the norm. My question is, why should we?

    I would argue Britain has some of the most talented and able people in the world. The creative arts is a good example - yet, in sport, that talent is wasted. When encouragement, money and media backing is offered eg. today's athletics, Britain not only dramatically improves but shines ie. The Chinese olympics.

    English sport is generally mismanaged. Add the often absurd expectations heaped on by the media, and the ensuing mauling after the usual "The Nation Expects" failure, you have professional sportsmen lacking in confidence and self-belief. Football, cricket, rugby... they all follow the same pattern.

    I am a lifelong Sussex supporter. The extraordinary success we enjoyed between 2003 and 2008 can be largely attributed to one man. A former county fast bowler Tony Pigott. By the end of the '90s, Sussex had become so dormant; lacking any faint ambition or desire to succeed, that like an alcoholic we hit rock bottom. The shining white knight Pigott not only gained enough support to sack the entire Sussex committee but set in place an ambitious and courageous future goal - "Success!" Money was no object. The plan was to attract the best people to the club to attain that success. A top captain, management, overseas players etc..

    Whether the ECB have pulled a magic rabbit out of the hat with Flowers is incidental. The primary bone of contention is the process of choosing that new manager.

    I think a majority agree, John Buchanan was the first choice. But when an opportunity arrived after Fletcher's sacking, Buchanan wasn't even approached! Instead 'jobs for the boys' Moores had already been lined up. And believe me, having watched Moores manage at Sussex, Pieterson is correct. He isn't up to the top job. So, where is the ECB ambition?

    Second time around, apart from Morris heaping praise on the Australian via the media, the ECB did not even contact the man! Now, if you were serious about getting the top man for the job, wouldn't you at least speak to him on the phone. And while I accept Buchanan showed little interest (the ECB had already blown their chances 18 months previously), wouldn't you fly out to meet him; put across your future ambitions and woo the guy? And as for money, forget the paltry £250k but offer a far more substantial amount - a sum the Australian couldn't turn down? That is what ambitious people do. They don't give up until they attain their man. Again, the second choice, Tom Moody, suffered a similar fate.

    Therefore, I don't see any ambition within the ECB. And while the likes of Ian Botham could rant about this subject for hours, we, the supporter, must stoically accept the situation.




  • Comment number 55.

    I can't get over how they justify strange decisions like this with comments such as "Flower has been getting on very well with Andrew Strauss and they feel they can work together." What has that got to do with anything? But for Dyson's Irish mathematics, the Strauss/Flower "togetherness" would have failed in all forms of the game. Whether Strauss likes Flower or not is completely irrelevant. In fact, there is a strong argument that sporting history shows the most successful managers/coaches have been tyrannical, terrifying men such as Clough, Ferguson etc who don't get on with anybody but put the fear of God into their players and drive them on to great achievements. The bottom line is that the ECB should have been chasing the best candidate, a proven coach, who could have taken England to new heights. Instead, they go for a novice with no track record and go into their "spin" overdrive about potential. I am prepared to give anyone a chance, but I'd be totally amazed if this turns out to be a successful appointment.

  • Comment number 56.

    Ok, Lordtruthcanhurt....... So which terrifying, proven coach with a proven track record, Who was available & wanted the job, would you have employed?????

  • Comment number 57.

    Andy Flower was part of a regime which failed; he was the batting coach to a team of batters who failed; and he will preside over a team which ultimately fails.

    When England chose Pietersen as captain, Hugh Morris proudly announced to the world that the ECB had picked a winner. That was the last accurate statement he made and it was the last accurate judgement to be made by the ECB. The disgraceful way KP was subsequently treated can almost certainly be put down to the fact that the powers-that-be were afraid that the new captain would be seen as the driver of a sad and tired old vehicle. At least the old guard took note of Kevin's opinion that Moores was not up to scratch and sacked him too. What a shambles - no wonder all the top coaching names decided to give this one a miss!

    Now I'm afraid, we are all to witness a period of English mediocrity on the international stage. It is high time that Messrs. Lloyd, Hussain and Botham were listened to. We play too much cricket in too many competitions, and there are too many Kolpak players here. If our outdated system remains, England will sink lower and lower in the world pecking order....no matter who is coach.

  • Comment number 58.

    mr_roscoe,

    Like you, I am a supporter of Pietersen and was appalled by the way the ECB treated him. He simply said Moores wasn't up to the England job. Being a Sussex supporter and having watched Moores at work, I agree. Sussex's success under his stewardship primarily stemmed from signing Mushtaq along with Adam's ambition and leadership. Moores is a typical county manager. He lacks the necessary all-round qualities to be a top international manager. It will be interesting to see how he fairs at Lancashire.

    The amusing counterpoint to last year's debacle is Pietersen is now Captain of the 'Bangalore Royal Challengers'. What happens if they win the IPL competition? That really would rub salt in the ECB wounds - particularly if Strauss and England have a poor summer.

    I only wish Nigel Clarke was managing director of English cricket and not Morris. Clarke is a business maverick and winner. I believe he would have stood behind Pietersen. Also, Clarke has the ambition and dynamism to have found a top coach. The kind of guy who would have flown out; met up with Buchananan or Moody; wooed them; and offered enough money, so they couldn't refuse the job. Rather like the film 'Sliding Doors', pity you can't time travel back and take that alternative path, to see the outcome. :o)

  • Comment number 59.

    You miss my point, fussystroppy. I'm not saying they have to find a coach who is terrifying. What I'm saying is that it doesn't matter whether he's nice, horrible or somewhere in the middle - all that matters is that he's able to make the England players perform.
    For Morris to attach such importance to the fact that Strauss has got on well with Flower during his interim tenureship shows he is out of touch on 2 fronts: FIRSTLY, the bottom line is that despite their claimed good relationship England lost the Test Series in the Windies and, but for Dyson, would also have lost the one dayers. Thus the fact that the captain and the coach are cosy doesn't really help the team win. SECONDLY, of course Strauss is going to say that he supports and gets on with the coach. Look what happened to the last captain who was honest and said he didn't think the coach was up to it! KP's demise is a lesson to all future England captains that the ECB do not appreciate criticism of their appointments and Strauss is smart enough to realise that. All future comments from the England captain regarding the value and merit of the coach will now need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
    My point is that Morris should have been justifying whichever appointment he made by talking about the new coach's record in a similar role and his specific skills, not appearing to make his most valuable quality that he's a nice bloke. Think of it in business terms - would someone with Flower's CV have got anywhere near a top job with a huge company? You know that's a no.

  • Comment number 60.

    Lordtruthcanhurt...... All your points are prefectly valid, & i myself agree with many of them. However, to come on were & say the new coach & the man who appointed him, are basicly not up to the job, you have to stand up & say who you would have appointed instead..!! Otherwise you simply can't expect the rest of us to take your comments seriously.
    Moving on to matters that have happened in the last 36 hours regarding Andrew Flintoff. World cricket governing bodies realy do have to get to gether with the independent companies running ( or planning to run ) 20/20 competitions around the world. to formulate a way forward. the fact that an English centraly contracted player can waltz off to earn 5 years wages in 6 weeks in the IPL, & pick up an injury that rules him out of playing for his employers for the forseeable futre (without any sort of compensation being due) is ludicrous.! No professional cricket anywhere in the world, should be able to take place without it falling under the control of the ICC. The IPL is no mare than a rebel, Packeresque circus, & due to the enormous sums of money they are prepared to pay the players, the ICC are running scared instead of standing firm, & saying to the players....Fine.. You want to play IPL, then your banned from test cricket for 3 years! Do you think in this an ashes summer, Pieterson, Flintoff, & Bopara would have taken the ban rather than playing against Australia?? Individual boards & the ICC must stand up & be counted. Who has lost out due to Flintoffs injury?? Not Flintoff, not realy the IPL, certainly not Englands opponents this summer..No.... Englang cricket fans like us...!! Think about it !!

  • Comment number 61.

    fussystroppy,

    Re: Flintoff, the player is injury-prone. Some cricketers are - his physique, style of bowling etc.. makes him what he is. If he hadn't picked this injury up via the IPL, then almost certainly, it would have occurred while playing for Lancashire. The positives of the IPL:

    It allows English players like Pietersen, Bopara etc.. hone their 20/20 skills. They are playing against the world's best. Bopara is presently doing very well in the IPL. This will have a positive knock-on effect for England.

    Not allowing the top UK cricketers to join the IPL would be a disaster. Given the amount of money at hand, the cream could simply give two-fingers to the ECB and live very comfortably on their Asian proceeds.

  • Comment number 62.

    Fine....!! let them work full time for the IPL. Are they bigger than English cricket??? Why should we pander to thier wishes?? Are you telling me that the likes of Flintoff, Bopara & Peiterson would be happy only playing in India or where ever the organisers feel is's SAFE to play? What if they have a bad run,& their value drops, Who will pay them then ?? Like Mike Atherton writes in the times today, these players are already very well paid, & whilst a accept that Flintoffs injury could have happened anytime, it didn't..!! It happened when aa a centraly contracted player was playing rebel circus cricket that is meaningless to most of the cricket watching world, & it's a very embarassing PR nightmare for the ECB. A nightmare of their own making ..!
    If, television companies, & cricket boards are determined that 20/20 is so important to them that they have to be playing it every week, then do it under the umbrella of the ICC, surely they are capable of negotiating the same contracts that the IPL have, in order to pay the players so well if that what is required? Inthe mean time, like i said earlier, Cnglish cricket fans are denied the chance to see the England team at full strenghth once again.

  • Comment number 63.

    fussystroppy,

    "Cnglish cricket fans are denied the chance to see the England team at full strenghth once again."

    I reckon the last time England were at full strength was the Ashes '05. It's difficult to comprehend the ensuing carnage and injuries. Players dropped like flies - Vaughan, Giles, Flintoff, Simon Jones... what the hell happened? And not just physical either - a short time later Trescothick has a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, Harmison goes off the boil, loses all confidence and has never recovered. what the 'F' occurred?

    When the team are at full strength, they can beat anyone. Now Bell has lost confidence; Monty is simply not the full English after much early fanfare; even Pietersen complains of 'burn-out'. Get a psychiatrist... even better, a hypnotherapist laying into the team.

    "You deserve to win - You deserve to win!"

  • Comment number 64.

    Can anyone explain why Hoggard has been excluded for so long?

 

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