So the applications are in. The runners and riders have been announced. The race to be England’s new head coach in all formats of the game is on.
As the ECB are incredibly wealthy – with the power to attract almost any coach in the world – you’d expect a start-studded shortlist full of big names with CV’s longer than Ryan Sidebottom’s hair.
It makes sense too, right. Because the ECB are about as popular with the English cricketing public as dysentery at Glastonbury, surely they’ll appease us all by appointing a head coach with wow factor; a guy with a pedigree so impressive we’ll all be saying “Kevin who?” by the time England play Scotland in May.
Well, err, not quite I’m afraid. The shortlist of five for the England head coach’s position is about as inspiring as overcooked cabbage.
The two favourites for the job are coaches who have already failed miserably at international level (Giles and Peter Moores), then there’s the unsung and modest Mick Newell, and Mark Robinson, who speaks like he’s just come out of an ECB media-training session … which of course being the England Lions coach, he has.
The fifth man on the list, Trevor Bayliss, is the only candidate of genuine proven quality – which obviously means he’s the outsider for the position. Bayliss is a superb candidate with an excellent record at both international and domestic level. All things being equal he should be offered the job on a silver platter, but there’s just one problem: he’s Australian.
I find it incredible that the ECB have had weeks to compile a shortlist, have paid consultants handsomely for helping with the search, and this motley crew is the best they can do.
I suppose the elephant in the room is that none of the best coaches in the world want to work for such a terrible employer. Gary Kirsten’s decision to appoint Pietersen as captain of his IPL franchise just about sums the situation up. It tells us all we need to know about how the rest of the world view our cricket board and its eccentric decisions.
The fact that Ashley Giles is still the favourite, despite his pitiful record as England’s limited overs coach, speaks volumes too. The bookies know what the ECB’s agenda is, and they realise that Giles ticks all the boxes: team man (check) says all the right things (check) as loyal as a lapdog (check) an inspirational leader with an brilliant cricket mind, (no, but since when does that matter).
Following our woeful defeat to Holland, some experts believe Moores is in pole position. Indeed, Michael Atherton has speculated as much.
Moores ticks an important box because there’s no chance he’d ever ask for Pietersen to be recalled. He also smiles nicely and would make a brilliant uncle – which means he’d complement the selection panel brilliantly.
The fact he’s already been England coach, and was absolutely rubbish at it, seems irrelevant. And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t just KP who criticised Moores’ methods. A host of players, including Andrew Strauss, criticised him for failing to appreciate the differences between county cricket and the international game.
According to Moores, however, we should fear not. Apparently he’s gone away and learned a lot over the last few years – including, presumably, how to get the defending country champions relegated.
We’re all meant to believe there’s no way he’d make the same mistakes again – mistakes like being crap and being out of his depth are obviously one’s he’ll want to avoid second time around.
Perhaps I’m being cynical. Maybe Moores would do a good job. After all, he’s got to be slightly preferably to Giles, right? Well, that might be the case, but if you think appointing Moores would be a good idea then consider this:
Do you think Steve McLaren should manage the England football team again, just because he claims he’s learned a good deal since being sacked? I hear that Graham Taylor has learned a hell of a lot too. Maybe he should be given another crack?
The circus continues …
You’re not being cynical, you’re being downright rude and negative.
This is a man who had a very short opportunity at coaching England, got pushed out and none of us know the whole truth about that, got himself a new job and won the championship.
Giles won the championship and the other two English candidates have done well at domestic level.
And that’s where we should be looking. Why are we obsessed with looking at foreign coaches?
And yes I would consider Steve Mclaren for England. if you look at the bare facts he failed as England manager, but if you look behind that you’ll see how much bad luck he had. He got the sack, went and got himself another job and ooh guess what won a title.
Because of snobbery he can’t get a premier league job so has gone to the championship and is doing very well.
This blog is quickly becoming very sour.
Graham Taylor had bad luck too – that fluke Norway goal in and Koeman’s cheating in the World Cup 94 qualifiers. But Taylor and Mclaren were both awful England managers with bizarre team selections.
Whichever ECB stooge is chosen we will find out if they are any good in the next 18 months with a world cup and Ashes series on the way.
We know a fair bit of the truth. Moores was an excellent domestic coach who found disfavour in the England set-up because he didn’t seem to appreciate the differences between county and international cricket. Whilst KP got the blame for it, a number of the contemporary players have said they agreed with him and, crucially, so did the ECB.
Coaching domestic teams is a very different job from coaching internationally and the examples of Moores and McLaren (and even Taylor) reinforce that.
Take the bold option and go for Bayliss. I don’t give a toss he’s Australian, he’s got proper international experience and being an outsider he would provide a fresh approach rather than yet more ECB management speak. Of course, they won’t – a jobbing ex-county coach who’s already failed at international level and will kow-tow to the committees will fit the bill perfectly.
So what are we saying here. There’s no way you can progress from domstic to international. As they are chalk and cheese.
If Moores was everything you say, what’s to say he hasn’t learned from all these failings, and worked on them and can come back as an absolutely brilliant coach?
Neil, I’m slightly offended by the description ‘sour’. We just call it as we see it. You’re perfectly entitled to disagree.
But I think you’re in the minority re: Moores. He has been criticised by a number of former players, including Strauss (a man who rarely says anything bad about anyone) and presumably he was sacked for a reason.
I’m also not sure where you’re coming from re: Steve McLaren. After leaving his post as England manager he’s been sacked by both Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest, after producing extremely poor results. The only place he has found success is Twente (where he won the title you’re referring to). After failing everywhere else he went back to Twente, but was soon sacked by them too. He’s currently doing well with Derby I understand, but this is an isolated success within the context of many, many failures. I don’t think ‘prejudice’ is the season why Premier League clubs are snubbing him. Why would they be prejudiced? It’s his track record that’s the problem.
Re: foreign coaches, I would much prefer an Englishman in charge but only if he’s the best man for the job. The bottom line is that England could be starting this summer with Gary Kirsten as coach and Kevin Pietersen batting at 4. Instead we’ll have Peter Moores (or Giles) and someone like James Taylor at 4. There’s simply no comparison. I think we’re quite entitled to be cynical about the ECB.
Lancashire were also relegated the season after winning the Championship, so it’s not as if Moores has an outstanding record there. We need a coach of PROVEN international quality, not sporadic success at county level.
Kirsten is the outstanding candidate, but he’ll never take the job when the ECB are sacking players under his nose.
Apologies. McLaren resigned when he left Twente the second time. However, his decision was due to poor results.
I’ve read this blog for a long time, and have noticed over the last couple of months a cynical, negative narrative.
It’s the same from many people on Twitter, thinking they know better than the people in charge, even a sense of superiority.
Whilst I was aghast at the “sacking” of KP, i wouldn’t have been against him being dropped and giving this reigime a chance. If it didn’t work then you could always go back.
But I don’t believe in opposing every single thing the ECB do just because that seems to be the fashion.
Another blog recently criticising the fixture list, despite this being what the fans want (after being polled), the blogger not accepting any reason why.
And several more examples.
The patriotic englishman in me wants Moores to get the job, be successfull and stick two fingers up to the keyboard warriors who clearly know better than the people who are paid to make the decisions.
As for Mclaren, we’ll agree to disagree on that, his performance at Twente was brilliant, it’s hard to succeed in the Bundesliga and as for Forest I’m not sure any sane sports fan can use that as a solid example.
Neil. Thanks for articulating your thoughts. You’re right, we have got very cynical in recent weeks. But we’re not just criticising the ECB for the sake of it. We’re criticising every decision because, individually, they are bad (in our opinion). If they make a good decision we will applaud it. There’s no agenda – just honest opinion. Had they appointed Gary Kirsten, for example, we would’ve have been in favour of the move, and wouldn’t have opposed it simply because it was the ECB making the decision.
I think the difference here is that you have trust in the men making the decisions. I do not. I believe that sporting bodies in this country in general (the FA, RFU and ECB) generally get a lot more wrong than they do right. We are a wealthy country, with a big population, and we should be a lot more successful than we are. Look at the LTA. All that money and zip to show for it. As for the FA, we’re having the same debate now about the technique (or lack of) of English footballers for 25 years. Nothing has changed. Had the FA taken proper action all those years ago, we might not be going to the World Cup simply to make up the numbers. Every other major European country with resources similar to us (Spain, Germany, Italy) has had far, far more success.
Coming back to the ECB, I do not believe they make decisions objectively. Politics, arrogance and intransigence constantly get in the way. This is why they get so much wrong. I don’t think they’re considering Giles and Moores simply on cricketing grounds. You obviously do, and I accept that, but I cannot agree I’m afraid. Please don’t give up on us though. We will support whoever gets the job, even if we disagree with the decision to appoint him at the time, because we’re England fans first and foremost. Besides, what’s the alternative? Supporting the Aussies?! ;-)
“Whilst I was aghast at the “sacking” of KP, i wouldn’t have been against him being dropped and giving this reigime a chance. If it didn’t work then you could always go back.”
This regime’s had a chance. We just got whitewashed in the Ashes, thrashed in the one-day series, and knocked out of the T20 WC at the first hurdle after being beaten by the Netherlands.
Well I for one think they have made a good decision on the fixture list ;-)
You have to hope that is the only grounds they are considering them on. Don’t you?
The alternative is staying away, don’t give the ECB your money, don’t attend the international matches, don’t support their product.
The alternative certainly isn’t supporting Australia :-)