More Winning, Moores Losing

Another day, another win. And what a resounding victory it was too. Our limited overs side is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, and I’m not at all surprised that they beat New Zealand in yesterday’s T20.

We batted well, with Joe Root leading the charge yet again, and we bowled extremely well too – something we haven’t always been able to say.

David Willey picked up three wickets, and looks like he could become a permanent fixture in this T20 side, and Mark Wood also impressed.

What a shame that we don’t play more T20 games before the forthcoming world cup. However, the calendar is already pretty congested, so I’m not sure what the solution is. Any ideas?

The other big news yesterday, if you can call is big, was Peter Moores breaking the silence over his recent dismissal. I have to say that I found his interview quite curious.

Although Moores expressed his disappointment at the timing of his exit, he spurned the opportunity to criticise the ECB. Perhaps he has his eye on future job opportunities? Although I’ll be amazed if he gets a third crack of the whip as England coach, there might be a role for him coaching our youngsters one day.

Interestingly, Moores’s ire was mostly directed at the BBC. He claimed they apologised to him for inaccurately reporting his remark “I’ll have to look at the data”. Apparently he said “later” not “data”.

Moores seems to blame this report for either starting or perpetuating the apparent myth that he’s a fan of using statistical analysis. He said he doesn’t mind if people think he’s a bad coach, but he does mind if they think his coaching style is different to what it actually is.

Forgive me, but in a results driven business, I would have thought that the former was more important. What’s more, Moores’s criticism of the BBC is completely undermined by the fact that he very clearly mentioned the data on Sky. I know because I was watching.

Is this a tacit admission from an ex-ECB employee that free-to-air content is far more important, and reaches far more people, than satellite or cable channels? No it isn’t. But it’s interesting (and delightfully mischievous) to speculate that it might.

Overall, I have quite a lot of sympathy for Moores. He seems like a good man, and maybe England’s recent ODI resurgence has occurred simply because the likes of Eoin Morgan have finally found form. However, he does seem to see the world through a warped prism.

For example, he claims that the test team had really turned the corner under his stewardship. I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t correct. If it was true, England would have beaten the West Indies comfortably. They didn’t.

We won in Grenada because Jimmy Anderson bowled a magic spell, and we lost in Barbados, despite Alastair Cook finally finding form, because Jimmy couldn’t repeat the trick.

Although a few new young players emerged under Moores, they were probably going backwards in the Windies. Moores also got just about every single tactical and selection decision wrong – which is why, after all, Andrew Strauss gave him the boot.

Just like his first and second tenures as England head coach, the best way to describe Moores’s interview is ‘unconvincing’. It’s all a bit sad really. Everyone who meets him in person says he’s delightful and insightful. It’s a shame us supporters get such a different impression.

James Morgan



  • Great write Morgs.

    “He spurned the opportunity to criticise the ECB” How refreshing, certainly bucks the trend of discarded England personnel. Even if he wasn’t up to the job he leaves with his dignity intact.

    Good to see the England team entertaining again, win or lose they’re certainly worth watching. The defensive, attritional method was, on the whole, successful under Strauss let’s hope Cook and co. can continue to entertain in the Ashes, win or lose.

    • In Dobell’s Cricinfo piece it says he is line for a job at Loughborough as there is a big upheaval about to take place. Therefore it’s unlikely he would want to speak out against the EXB as they’re about to be his future re-re- employers.

  • He may well be “delightful and insightful”, but when the chips were down, he couldn’t do the job. He may well have helped individual young players, but he couldn’t help the team.

    The moment he left and Farbrace took over as interim coach, the quality of cricket we played skyrocketed. That says it all.

    • Oddly timed and oddly played interview.

      Overal, the impression remains the same as it was back at his announcement as the new coach last spring, clearly a decent hardworking man, who loves the game, but just not up to it coaching the England team, for all the myriad reasons that coaching any England team is very difficult.

      It’s to his credit that he doesn’t wade in on his previous employers, I suppose, but I read his criticism of the BBC over the “data” tag as more of another weird bit of evidence about the bizaare realtionship the ECB has with Sky. He has every reason to be pissed at them given the nature of his dismissal being broadcast live on air by Nick Knight, no less.

      On the T20, good win. Nice to see both teams playing hard attacking cricket with smiles on their faces. Lot’s to be mildly optimistic about in white ball cricket, we’ll lose some horribly every now and then but you feel this could become a team that could beat anyone on a given day, occassionally quite specatacularly and when have you ever been able to say that about us in the short stuff, really? Credit to all the players and the captain.

      I can’t remember if it was BTL on the Guardian or over at Outside Cricket, but one poster made the excellent point about both teams playing in a way that was true to themselves. The Kiwis play a type of cricket, attacking and energetic because that’s the character of the team and that’s what’s seen them improve over the last 3 years or so.

      For too long we’ve tried to ape, the Aussie way. Being aggressive and in your face on the pitch, and it just doesn’t ring true for the players we have. That works for Australia as they always seem to have an abundance of players who play aggressively and that mindset gets the best out of them.

      That is not hte type of players they are and they just come across as boorish, with a misplaced arrogance that is seemingly at odds with many of their playing styles and personalities. This has been especially true during both stints Moores has been in charge.

      With the young and exuberant players we have, surely having fun should be at the heart of any way we play as it would seemingly get the best out of them. Let’s just hope, those not involved with the ODI squad have sat back and watched the team and want to be part of it, rather than try and impose their old way of doing things…

      • I don’t think coaching the England team is as difficult as coaching lesser teams. I like Michael Vaughan’s take on it : the players are the elite, so there isn’t much you can do as a coach to improve them – just give them some help, tips, thoughts and guidance when they’re struggling or when they ask. The role is really about managing different personalities and making them gel as a team – man management, where you adapt your approach depending on the individual. This is what Darren Lehmann did so effectively for Australia on their last visit here, turning a rabble into a team that, with a bit more luck and belief at key moments could easily have nicked the series. Farbrace seems to have done the same trick, and given how well he works with Bayliss, I’m confident this will continue. My main worry is the effect plodder Cook will have on morale when he walks back into the dressing room. The next few weeks will tell…

      • “For too long we’ve tried to ape, the Aussie way. Being aggressive and in your face on the pitch, and it just doesn’t ring true for the players we have.” Great point

      • surely having fun should be at the heart of any way we play as it would seemingly get the best out of them

        I agree with this wholeheartedly.

        The other unintended side effect is that an England team visibly enjoying themselves is likely to get up Australia’s noses far more than our usual pitiful attempts to sledge.
        And they won’t even be able to complain about it.

  • The point about the ‘data’ – which has been made many times but apparently needs to be made again – is not that Moores looked at the data (all teams do) but that he hid behind it and was unwilling or unable to give open and honest answers about England’s lack of success at the WC.

    • And that he was unable to draw sensible conclusions from it.

      For anyone seriously interested in cricket to complain about using data is ridiculous. Statistics are part of the enduring appeal of the game.

  • The last WC was “four years in the planning”…the current F50 and T20 players were all available to Moores. They haven’t just sprung out of the woodwork the minute he was sacked have they? The timing of the interview is not coincidental is it? Maybe he was subtley trying to make the point that this team and the way they play is his “legacy” All I can say to that is bollocks! The wasting of Rashid in the Windies was disgraceful!

    • erm…..I’ll retract that bit about them all being available, as I wrote it in the heat of the moment, as the selectors were hidebound to pick Cook, Bell, Anderson and Broad!

  • My suggestion to fit more 20/20 in is to play some double-headers. 1 – 4.30, 90 minute break then 6 – 9.30. You sell tickets for each match and offer a “whole day” discount for people who want to watch 2 matches between the same sides on the same day. You manage potential problems with people trying to come into the ground at the same time as people leave by using different entrances and exits, and by letting people wander around and picnic on the outfield during the interval. There are challenges about what to do when it rains but it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to devise something. Thoughts…?

    As for Moores, however decent a chap he is or isn’t, evidence shows he’s a poor international coach. He creates completely the wrong environment for players to thrive – “flair” players, in particular, feel oppressed and underperform. He’s cricket’s Steve McClaren.

    • I quite like the idea of two games per day. I’ve not thought it through, but my initial reaction is why not?

      • If you really wanted to innovate you could try 2 innings 20/20, maybe even with a second toss before the 3rd innings. Just try stuff and see what works…

        • Like the idea – but I’d introduce the follow on instead, to avoid dead fourth innings.
          What lead might be suitable to allow enforcement ?

          • Not sure that works…might lead to no fourth innings at all, or a v short one. But then again, I’m not now sober enough to think straight. Sorry.

        • Why not have nine inning and instead of take ten wickets just do three with players interchanging once they get 20 runs.

  • Surely the big question regarding the ODI side and its failure at the World Cup surrounds the selection.

    For example, who thought it was a good idea to pick Ballance at No.3? He struggled for runs and has subsequently been dropped – so clearly a mistake.

    Who thought it was a good idea to go with a makeshift opening partnership after axing Cook at the last minute? A completely different approach has since been adopted so it seems this has also been acknowledged as a mistake.

    Obviously hindsight is an advantage but these decisions were questionable at the time. Failure was forseeable. And the ECB had plenty of time to plan so really there are no excuses for getting it so disastrously wrong.

    So on the point of selection, Moores is clearly culpable but he’s not alone – James Whitaker contributed to that clusterfuck but has kept his job, hasn’t he?

    • Good points Tom. I think Moores carries the can for most of it because the selectors only pick the squad. It’s up to Moores to decide the XI on the day; therefore the Ballance issues etc in the world cup were presumably his fault? However, you’re right to point out that the selectors should be blamed too, especially when it comes to Cook. I’m amazed Whitaker is still in a job.

      • Even allowing for the fact the selectors only pick the squad (rather than the XI that plays), I think the complete change of direction since the World Cup indicates they were on the wrong track.

  • Interesting piece James, the most salient point being the reflection on how the supporters impression of Moores differed from the reality. It’s something that so easily happens. Might Cook also be a victim of this?

    Moores’s preoccupation with the data issue is understandable. As a result he became the butt of endless jokes and telling criticisms. Together with the lack of results it defined his tenure as the England coach.

    The timing was poor for Moores. He took on two struggling teams and was never favoured by luck or the players hitting form as a unit.

    Everything is very good now. It’s been a great series, an inspiring approach and the team selection has been excellent. All due credit should be given to Farbrace and Morgan but I have a lingering sympathy for Moores.

    • Agreed. I think the data thing is a bit of a red herring really. I doubt anybody would care if ‘the data’ was winning us games. Nobody cared when data helped us to win the Ashes in 2010/11. At the end of the day it’s all about winning. You win, and people won’t take the piss. You lose and social media will have a field day. C’est la vie.

  • For all that, I don’t see much of an explanation for why WC was a disaster or why we didn’t crush the “mediocre” side in the Windies. Moores just says the players didn’t play very well.

  • I do feel for Moores. He got his dream job, it all went wrong, he got it again and then got found out.
    Can’t blame him at all for now attacking the ECB in the interview. We’ve seen enough evidence recently that if you nuke your bridges there is no going back

  • Bayliss was also asked, probably not for the last time, about his stance on Kevin Pietersen.
    The divisive batsman is currently on duty in the Caribbean Premier League and his ECB-enforced exile seems more permanent than ever, but Bayliss was still pressed for an opinion.
    “Apparently he’s unavailable for selection, so that’s all I know at this stage,” he said.
    “He is a good batter, but at this stage he’s unavailable. That’s all I know.”

    • “He’s a good batter”. Well, “good” as in the most successful England batsman in the history of the game…

  • just can’t make this stuff up!

    D/T: Stuart Lancaster: I want England to play attacking brand at Rugby World Cup similar to our cricketers against NZ

  • “Attacking brand of cricket” = actually trying to win.

    “Attritional cricket” = not really caring whether you win or lose, just as long as no one can accuse you of reckless aggression.


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