Derbyshire 'player power' caused John Morris exit

Luke Sutton
Sutton is in his second spell at Derby after his return from Lancashire

Derbyshire captain Luke Sutton says player power led to the sacking of head of cricket John Morris.

Morris and his assistant Andy Brown , halfway through the club's County Championship game with Essex.

Sutton told BBC Radio Derby: "The feedback from every single player was very, very negative.

"They felt negative about the style of management and the style that was being used in manoeuvring us as a squad."

It has emerged that a committee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday night in which Morris's contract, due to expire on 30 September, was up for renewal.

Prior to the meeting, Derbyshire chairman Chris Grant consulted players to gauge opinion on "how they thought John was in his role".

And according to Sutton, the resoundingly negative response from the players left Morris's position untenable.

"The chairman was in a very difficult position," said Sutton. "He'd made a decision that he wasn't going to extend John's contract because of the reaction of the players.

"That makes it very difficult for John to come into work the next day, both for him and for the players. I'm sure people can understand that.

"I feel for the chairman a little bit because he could be a little bit hung out to dry here."

Derbyshire have enjoyed a steady start to the season after finishing bottom of the County Championship last season.

They currently sit seventh in this year's competition, as well as being top of Group A in the CB40.

But Sutton, who only returned to Derby over the winter after leaving Lancashire, insists that problems with Morris behind the scenes have persisted for some time.

"This may be hard for some people to hear but those feelings were there for a while," he said. "Even with results going well the issue was escalating and it was a major problem.

"The easy decision would have been to extend John's contract and it would have been easy, to the outside world, to gloss over it.

"But he knew internally, that wasn't going to be a very popular decision at all. The players felt very negative with how the squad was being managed."

Sutton will now share the running of the county's first team affairs with academy director Karl Krikken, bowling coach Steffan Jones and committee member Tony Borrington.

John Morris
Morris played three Tests and eight one-day internationals for England

Sutton re-signed for Derbyshire last September, having spent six year with them before moving to Lancashire in 2005.

"I'm new to the group and they were very resonant when I arrived," he explained. "It was clear to me when I arrived.

"I'm being brutally honest because I think it's fair to everyone so they understand where this decision has been made.

"But what I will say is that our spirit is outstanding. We had a meeting and called all the players together and, honestly, we're in great shape. We've got very good players in our dressing room."

Morris spent 11 years as a player with Derbyshire from 1982 to 1993.

He was in his fourth season in charge as coach, having been appointed as the club's head of cricket in August 2007.

"I can understand the shock from outside the cricket club," added Sutton. "But I think within the cricket club and certainly within the group of players we don't share that shock because we knew the order of events.

"When someone leaves you - in this case John Morris and Andy Brown, who have put an enormous amount of effort into the club - there's always shock and an element of sadness around it, but we're professional sportsman and we move on and our spirit is absolutely as strong as ever.

"The situation we're in is being dominated by the players. We carry a responsibility now to look after that and to prepare ourselves, control what we're doing this year and play some very good cricket.

"I want us to progress people as human beings, progress people as cricketers and create a very good environment in which people progress forward.

"I have absolutely no doubt that we will continue to get better and better over the season and the good results at the start of the year are not a surprise to me."

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