Progress? Pull the Other One


And so it came to pass that England lost to the lowest ranked major test nation on earth by six wickets, inside three days, after being bowled out for a pitiful 123 on a pitch that wasn’t so bad after all. It’s beyond pathetic.

Had it not been for an inspired spell by our 32 year old seam bowler on the fifth day of the second test – a bowler who probably won’t be at his peak for much longer – we would’ve lost the series.

And yet some people tell us, with a straight face, that this team is making progress. Pull the other one.

Since Peter Moores took over England’s test and ODIs teams, he has lost four series, won just one, and overseen a disastrous and utterly humiliating world cup campaign. Although I hesitate to use the word ‘campaign’ as a military term like this implies some level of fight.

There will be those who argue that the test team is separate to the ODI team (as if World Cups hardly matter) and that performances in test cricket alone have been encouraging. These people are kidding themselves. If you think beating India at home in test cricket is a major achievement, I suggest you speak to their long suffering fans.

These are the naked, indisputable facts: in test cricket alone, Moores’ new team have played a combined ten matches against the three lowest ranked major nations in the world – Sri Lanka (6th), India (7th) and the West Indies (8th). We’ve failed to beat two of them, and stuttered to an overall record of won four and lost three.

If you think this record is good enough, I politely suggest your expectations are too low. Heaven help us when play the good sides. Recent series were supposed to be warm up exercises for the Ashes and South Africa – instead the side is still in a state of turmoil and transition. Next up we play New Zealand, another side ranked below us in the world rankings. They’ll seem like a veritable juggernaut compared to the bleedin’ West Indies.

I don’t really have the appetite for an autopsy of the third test. I’m more concerned with the broader context. However, I will say a few things …

Firstly, I think it’s something of a red herring to look for specific reasons why England lost in Barbados. You could argue we picked the wrong team and got the tactics wrong, but the bottom line is that we didn’t play well enough. Indeed, I’m actually going to surprise everyone here by sticking up for Moores and Cook for a bit.

Although selecting poor Jonathan Trott as an opener hasn’t worked out, I can understand why they did it. Cook is not a natural leader. He wants to surround himself with other senior players he can rely on. Take the review England wasted yesterday: Cook was unsure whether to challenge the decision until Trott trudged up from the outfield and shouted out ‘it has to be either glove or bat’. Cook immediately called for the third umpire without hesitation. Trott was wrong. Cook looked stupid.

When it comes to the opening partnership, Cook had been in poor form for almost two years. Any other player would have been dropped. Selecting Trott was a comfort blanket for him. Cook has played some of his most productive innings with Trott at the other end – maybe his batting would suddenly ‘click’ if he could rekindle some good memories with his old mate. It was a forlorn hope, but I can understand the logic.

Unfortunately, having selected Trott to play in the first test, they had to give him all three games. Cook had endured poor form for two bloody years. To drop Trott – who has a test record just as good as Cook (in fact, Trott’s average against the best teams is actually better than the skipper’s) – would have been hypocrisy of the highest and most obvious order.

Secondly we come to the Adil Rashid issue. This is the issue that has most people fired up. The truth is that Rashid probably should’ve played in hindsight. But captains and coaches don’t have the benefit of hindsight.

Had they dropped Stokes for Rashid in Barbados there would have been uproar. Meanwhile, Chris Jordan had a good game. His catching kept England in the hunt.

I like Rashid as a cricketer, but they often say you’re a better player when you’re not in the side. I’ve followed Rashid’s career very closely and he’s had a bit of a rollercoaster.

The bottom line is that Rashid has never really fulfilled his potential. He has sometimes been Yorkshire’s second spinner, and was dropped from the first team altogether not so long ago. His first class average is 35 and his economy rate 3.5. These are not good statistics.

I saw Rashid bowl twice last season. The first time he was very good; the second he was absolutely appalling. Given that he bowled terribly in the warm-up game at St Kitts, it’s hardly surprising that England didn’t trust him.

There will be those who say England shouldn’t have picked Rashid in the squad if he wasn’t going to play. This is overlooking an important point. The selectors pick the squad. The captain and coach then choose the final XI from that squad. While the selectors obviously rate Rashid to a certain extent, Moores and Cook do not. And that is up to them.

It’s also worth noting that a key member of England’s brain-trust, Paul Farbrace, has known Rashid for a long time having coached him at Yorkshire. He knows more about the guy than you and I; therefore while I can understand the criticism coming England’s way, I do not think the Rashid issue is as clear cut as some think.

Having said all that, do I believe that Moores and Cook are the men to lead our team forward? Absolutely not. Neither is up to the task. I’ve said all along (since about 2007 in fact) that Peter Moores is out of his depth in international cricket, and that Alastair Cook is far from being the alpha male swooning journalists pretend he is.

My issues with Moores and Cook are long term, not short term, and yet another episode in which they ultimately made the wrong calls (even if they were for the right reasons) doesn’t alter my opinion of them one bit. It simply reaffirms what I’ve always thought: that they’ll make decisions that ultimately prove to be poor ones more often than not. That’s why both should go (not that I expect them to).

From where I’m sitting, neither Cook nor Moores seems to have the charisma, dynamism or cricketing IQ required to lead international cricket teams. When was the last time you heard them say something insightful when interviewed?

Ask yourself this: would you follow Alastair Cook and Peter Moores into battle? I’d certainly fight alongside them – superficially they both seem like decent blokes – but would they inspire you to great deeds? Would you jump out of the trenches and into no-man’s at their behest? Would they fire you up and make you believe in a cause? Vanilla doesn’t have that effect on me I’m afraid. I doubt it fires up England’s players either.

Whilst there is an argument that test matches are won by players – and that a coach is only as good as his players – I think this argument is simplistic. Look at the way Darren Lehmann transformed Australia’s ailing fortunes. Look at the way Tim Sherwood has put the fire back into Aston Villa. It’s a coach’s job to make everyone better. Peter Moores is making everyone worse. It’s happening all over again.

When it comes to Cook, some people will argue that his position is safe. He scored a hundred and therefore everything’s ok. Rubbish.

Cook’s batting and his captaincy are different issues. Cook’s century does nothing more than simply justify his place in the side at long last. As a leader he is failing. Peter Moores says he’s still learning. What?!  He’s 30 years old; he’s played over 100 tests; he’s captained England almost 30 times. How much longer does he bloody need? How much slack are we going to cut this bloke?

The problem with sacking Cook, however, is that I don’t trust him to relinquish the captaincy with good grace. Would he really return to the rank and file with goodwill?

Cook has come across as extraordinarily self-entitled in recent months. He believes the side is his – and his by birthright – and he’s incredibly indignant when his role is questioned. By backing him to the hilt, and mollycoddling him through the years, I fear the ECB has created a monster.

Maybe, just maybe, Cook’s presence in the team would hurt whoever takes over as captain. There’s a reason why captains often walk into the sunset when their tenure comes to an end.

Consequently it might, might, be better to retain Cook as captain until he’s a busted flush as a batsman – something that could well happen by the end of the Ashes. One century against a team that predominantly bowled spin at him (Samuels came on in the tenth over) does not prove his ability to play top class fast bowling. The problem is, keeping Cook as captain might damage our Ashes hopes. This England team needs a culture shift – which is why the impending arrival of Andrew Strauss as MD is such utterly depressing news.

When it comes to finding a replacement for Moores, I’m afraid I’m not on the Gillespie bandwagon. I’m sure he’s a good coach; but then again, Yorkshire have some very good players. I might also add that Dizzy’s stint as a summariser on Sky during the Ashes whitewash didn’t reveal a particularly sharp cricketing mind. For what it’s worth, the best points were usually made by Mark Butcher and Marcus Trescothick.

The main reason I’m against Gillespie though is very simple: he’s an Aussie. Would you want Jurgen Klinsmann to be England’s football coach? It just wouldn’t feel right. Asking one of your bitterest rivals to rescue you seems like an admission of cricketing defeat. It’s not a matter of xenophobia for me; it’s a matter of pride.

So where do England go from here? The future is very uncertain. A brief glance at the papers and social media reveals the usual crap: depending on who you read (or listen to) England’s defeat is all down to either Moeen Ali or Colin Graves. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only people who lose their jobs are Trott and Mo.

When it comes to Trott, I’m afraid he just doesn’t look like an opener. Lyth must play against New Zealand or any sense of meritocracy will be lost. As for Mo … well it’s complicated.

Moeen didn’t bowl well. He’s clearly out of form at the minute. But he’s not the first spinner to disappoint on day five of a test match. James Tredwell was just as ineffective Antigua. Monty blew it on a number of occasions too. And Swann wasn’t perfect all of the time either.

What’s more, England aren’t exactly blessed with quality replacements. Four seamers with Root and Mo is probably the best we can do right now. South Africa’s test team has survived without a quality spinner for what … about twenty years now? We need a bowler of genuine pace just as much as we need a quality spinner.

Even though he’s bowled badly in the West Indies, Mo has taken 28 wickets at 29.5 in his first nine test matches. That’s not a bad return. What’s more, he might very well have scored a century in the first innings had he not been run out by his skipper.

Is Moeen the long-term answer for England? Only time will tell. And it would be unfair to deny him this time when others have been granted it in bucketfuls. I was extremely disappointed by Ian Botham’s emotional post-match comments. Someone with his Worcestershire connections should have been more sympathetic.

The final point I’d like to make is this: how on earth is all this Colin Graves’ fault? Some people amaze me. The Windies won the third test, not the first. Were Graves’ comments relevant when the Windies collapsed in a heap in the second test? Thought not. So why are they suddenly relevant now?

The truth is that Graves only said what us fans were thinking. He probably shouldn’t have said what he did – it’s not becoming for a chairman of any cricket board to comment on the opposition – but to blame Graves for the defeat is scraping the barrel somewhat.

The problem is that some journalists have backed Cook and Moores to such an extent – and have so much invested in them after the Pietersen furore – that they simply cannot accept it when their darlings fall flat on their faces. Other scapegoats have to be found.

One wonders whether Cook would be idolised in the same manner had these journalists not crowned him as the new messiah back in 2005 and 2006. Having hyped someone up to the heavens, it doesn’t look good when said talent turns out to be something less than extraordinary. It’s better to keep pretending eh.

It will be interesting to see how long Ian Bell gets if he fails against New Zealand. Although Bell and Trott have more or less identical test records to Cook, it looks like poor Trotty is already out on his arse.

Everyone is assuming that Trott has suffered a recurrence of his mental illness, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It will be interesting to see if Trott goes back to Warwickshire after this game or takes another extended break from the game. For his sake, I hope he’s ok and the problems we’ve witnesses on this tour are technical not mental.

Either way, if Jonathan Trott doesn’t play for England again, then we wish him all the best. He’s been a great servant for England and it’s sad to say goodbye.

And if this really is the end then there’s a broader significance to Trott’s departure. It’s a reminder that times change and people move on – people who were once portrayed as indispensible. Maybe there’s a lesson there for everybody.

James Morgan



      • thats not my article, it was one i came across.made some solid points hence passed it along here. I guess its outside cricket english fans club.

        • Gonthaar thank you for your post, you made quite a few valid points which reflect my own views, therefore I have no objection to you speaking for me. I too am outside cricket so fill your boots!

  • What annoys me most about the treatment of Lyth and Rashid (and I accept that their selection is a matter of debate), is the cackhandedness of taking players away from the start of the English season if you’re fairly sure you’re not going to play them.

    If either make it into the team for the NZ tests, then they will do so with maybe a single first class match in two months under their belts.
    And commentators suggest that the experience will have ‘done them good’ (take a bow Mike Atherton).

    If the selectors, coach and captain can’t co-ordinate their thinking, then again there is a problem with the England setup.

    Also pretty disrespectful to Yorkshire to take so many of their best players and keep them around to carry the drinks tray.

    • Very much agree with this. I can accept that it’s not Moores fault that the selectors picked players he had no intention of using – but it highlights a big problem in the structure then.

      And I don’t think Rashid is that brilliant, but I don’t think flying Ali in helped his injury recovery, you can see it still affecting his bowling action in the last match.

      And if Rashid is inconsistent (which he is) and you aren’t prepared to take the bad with the good and you’ve known him for years (Farbace) then far better to pick someone who you might maybe trust. There are many county spinners ahead of Tredwell in any proper pecking order…

  • Very thorough, James.

    I have a slightly tangential question – although you touched on it in a previous article:

    What is the deal with the English press? What is the pathology that leads them to so endlessly gild the lilly and obfuscate in the face of failure?

    How does Selvey talk himself into writing: “The England Test team are rebuilding and starting to succeed, the phoenix from the Ashes”? That was less than a week ago. He compared England to a phoenix. Because they won a match against the Windies. Seriously.

    And I have to say that is part of the problem. The mediocrity is buttressed by the press, apparently too tame to be blunt about the team’s shortcomings.

    Australia had a lean spell as well – but the Australian press is decidedly more feral. When Australia were shit, they shouted it loudly. It was actually pretty ugly. I certainly don’t recall the same retreat to unending platitudes and mollycoddling as we see over and over with England.

    So what it is about the English press (apart from Boycott) that makes them think it’s reasonable to pee on your leg and tell you it’s raining?

    • I really have no idea. Maybe it’s because they see the players regularly and know some of them personally (some are ex-players etc) so they’re reluctant to put the boot in. Or maybe they just have a different opinion to us? Perhaps we’re the mad ones :-)

    • “Australia had a lean spell as well – but the Australian press is decidedly more feral. When Australia were shit, they shouted it loudly. It was actually pretty ugly. I certainly don’t recall the same retreat to unending platitudes and mollycoddling as we see over and over with England.”

      This. This cultural difference between Aus and Eng is what makes the Aussies better than us. No tolerance for mediocrity and amateurism.

      • I dont think its a cultural thing. I’m old enough to remember what the English media was like in the 1980s. Then its was ultra vicious and guys like Gooch, Gatting, Botham and Gower had to put up with heaps of criticism. What has happened since then?

        • Are there more ex-players in the media now? I remember Frances Edmonds wrote in one of her books (the one covering the England tour of the Windies?) that most of the journalists covering the tour weren’t even sports journalists – hence the number of non-sports related stories.

    • ‘How does Selvey talk himself into writing: “The England Test team are rebuilding and starting to succeed, the phoenix from the Ashes”? ‘

      And how does that sentence make it into print without being edited? Perhaps at this stage they’re just resigned to publishing whatever jumble of words Selvey phones in.

      I think my favourite line from that article :

      “England have battered away and now that Anderson has forced the door open, it is hard to see it being shut again.”

      He was so nearly right. He just needed “see” edited to “watch”.

  • Very good. 9/10. I, too, was incredulous with Botham’s comments about Moeen Ali at the end….apparently, as you state, it’s OK for Cook to still be learning the role as Captain after thirty tests but not for Moeen after 9 tests, when, let’s face it, he probably has exceeded expectations from a year ago. Another thought, why do England ‘freeze’ in certain tight situations? Crawling to 39/5 was excruciating (but exciting to watch)… it seems that nothing has been learned since Adelaide in 2007!

    • Question: if Moeen has exceeded expectations, doesn’t that mean the expectations were too low? And if not, then why was he picked as England’s no. 1 spinner in the first place?

      • Well, I don’t think that anyone really expected him to take 19 wickets last summer, I felt that he was a rather speculative choice in the absence of any outstanding candidate post-Swann.

  • “Chris Jordan had a good game. His catching kept England in the hunt”.

    I agree with much of what you’ve written here James but I’ve got to differ here. Jordan made 55 runs (av: 13.8) and took 6 wickets (av: 42.7) in three Tests. That just isn’t good enough. England aren’t a strong enough team to include a specialist slip catcher. England need a third seamer with some penetration.

    I see Jordan’s future as mainly in the ODI side. Unfortunately I think they’ll keep picking him until Woakes is fit and then include him for Jordan. Woakes is very much a Cook/Moores type of cricketer.

    (Obviously I’m not saying Jordan is the only problem or trying to make him a scapegoat – there are plenty of other issues as well).

    • I’m by no means a Jordan fan. But I do think he played well in this game. Yes we shouldn’t pick a specialist fielder, but those catches were extremely valuable and put him a couple of wickets in credit.

  • “The main reason I’m against Gillespie though is very simple: he’s an Aussie. Would you want Jurgen Klinsmann to be England’s football coach? It just wouldn’t feel right. Asking one of your bitterest rivals to rescue you seems like an admission of cricketing defeat. It’s not a matter of xenophobia for me; it’s a matter of pride.”

    James, you’re a fantastic cricket writer and thinker, but you couldn’t be more wrong on this point. The number one reason England have under-performed so spectacularly in recent years has been the sheer insularity – and, yes, xenophobia – of the ECB. They refuse point blank to learn from the rest of the world; they refuse to adapt to any of the shifting paradigms in world cricket, and then they wonder why England have falling behind everyone else. They genuinely seem to believe that being the birthplace of cricket means that England is simply entitled to be the best in the world without actually having to do anything to earn that title.

    I say go in the opposite direction: make sure that the new DoC and the new coach are foreigners. Make sure they come from outside English cricket. Bring in people who aren’t infected by its toxic, insular conservatism. Give the England players the opportunity to learn from people who care about results more than not rocking the boat. The England boat is in severe need of a rocking, after all.

    As every addict knows, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Asking our (former) rivals for help is EXACTLY what we need to do.

    • I certainly don’t mind having a foreign coach, but please not an Aussie. They wouldn’t have Pom :-)

      • Graem HIck is working for Cricket Australia, though of course he is not really a pom.

        • I don’t mind having an Aussie coach (the nationality of Troy Cooley and Saker didn’t bother me), but I feel head coach is different.

          • The ECB have created a situation where England have a very coach-dominated leadership model but have a system that is hopeless at producing outstanding coaches.

            It takes a peculiar type of ECB-genius to produce that combination!

      • You are being shamefully coachist James.

        And why would you want to deny me the opportunity to have a little dig now and then?

      • Given that the Aussies are better than us, importing an Aussie coach seems like a logical move to me.

        But I see logic isn’t going to persuade you.

        • I accept your view has some validity but I politely disagree. It’s a personal thing. There’s no right on wrong on this one. Just personal taste. There are plenty of other nationalities who can teach us a thing or two about cricket. Rahul Dravid for example.

          • We Aussies had a Sth African coach for a while but it didn’t turn out well – He’s gone of to run cricket at a school presumably they wanted him on the basis of his experience at setting homework.

            I for one can understand your reluctance to appoint an Aussie coach, yes it would be a hard pill to swallow accepting a Pom coach.

          • As an NZer I would humbly suggest John Wright, John Bracewell or Stephen Fleming. Shane Bond as bowling coach as well.

          • I never said the coach HAD to be an Aussie; I said that your point-blank refusal to contemplate an Aussie coach even if he was the best guy for the job is illogical and prejudicial – which it is.

    • WHY NOT? Not Strauss. I’d have Kirsten any day of the week. Gillespie would be a damn sight better than Strauss any day of any week. Bring em on I say. If Strauss gets this job then we all know that the ECB has learned sweet FA.

  • This is a strong response. I agree with most of what you say but I would rather we dealt with this from within. Where is our pride if we are reduced to employing an Australian to show us how to win the Ashes?

    I understand the ideological point that we should appoint the best person for the job, irrespective of nationality, but there is something about bringing in an Australian in particular, that does feel not good. Our attitude and approach needs radical change but I would hope that we can effect this change without help from down under.

    Maybe there is no other way forward and I would bite that bullet if it came to it, but I hope we can find a different solution. Surely there is a British Bulldog out there somewhere?

      • As I say above, a coach in a team of coaches is different from the main man. I don’t think the head coach should be Australian. Are we really that desperate?

        • What is the difference between having an Australian bowling coach vs an Australia head coach?

          If you’re going to offer a principled objection, why bail halfway?

          As for whether England are desperate enough, you tell me. I actually think England will put up a decent show on their own turf and the Ashes will be closer than some of the doomsayers predict.

          Hopefully, we’ll get the full spectrum of false bravado, to doomed hope, all the way back to giddy optimism again. After all, isn’t that what English cricket is all about?

        • You could always get Mickey Arthur. Not only is he not Australian but he comes from Englands favourite head hunting ground, South Africa.

          Don’t be put off by the fact he’s an Australian discard.

        • “Are we really that desperate?”

          We probably are to be honest, but I completely get where you’re coming from and fully agree! It just doesn’t sit right does it? There definitely is a difference between having an Aussie head coach compared to a fast bowling one, but I don’t know why. Or at least, I can’t quite articulate it. Think I know what you mean though, it’s a curious one…

          Hope Mo does get an extended run and that they don’t bin him off like you fear. He’s a work in progress and it can’t be easy to come in after an injury lay off to play two tests in quick succession. He’s probably not played in those conditions before either. But it does feel a bit speculative to mention that he could have had a 100 if he wasn’t run out, he was on 58 not 98! I’m all for what ifs, but he could also have had scored a century (or at least half-century) in Grenada if he hadn’t been run out for a duck… where do you draw the line? :-D

          In sadder news, thanks for the memories Trotty. And thanks for having the guts to come back. Hope this hero finds some happiness.

    • There probably is a British Bulldog out there somewhere but I’m guessing he’s had his balls bitten off by an Australian Blue Heeler. Rod Marsh was heavily involved in English cricket back in 2005 and I don’t recall too many complaints about that. Forget pride and appoint the best men for the job regardless of where they are from.

    • Australian sportsmen tend to be winners. They also tend to not like bullshit and say things how they are. I can see why the ECB are reluctant to employ one.

      Honestly if the best candidate is English, employ them. If the best candidate is Australian, employ them. If its another nationality, who cares as long as they turn things around.

      • Excuse me for repeating myself but I so remember Rodney Marsh infamous quote. He asked the players at the Aussie Academy: What would you do for your country? And someone said, he’d die for his country. Marsh said: NO! I want you to kill for your country!!!

        We need that kind of aggression and spirit and determination to win. It just isn’t there at the moment. If Moores can say that there were “positives” from this tour, then something is very seriously wrong.

    • “Dealing with things from within” is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place.

      Appointing the best person for the job isn’t ideological; it’s empirical. Meritocracy works: the evidence proves it.

  • Time for another open letter, this time to Tim Harrison and Colin Graves, before the latter takes up office? We must tell them what we think about the idea of Andrew Strauss becoming director of cricket. Imagine if Alex Douglas-Home had won the general election in 1964. That’s what it would be like.

  • Moores definitely has to go – it goes without saying he should never have been reappointed. Gillespie would be an excellent choice as coach, especially as he’s already familiar with many of the players from his Yorkshire days. I don’t give a monkey’s that he’s Australian, we need to get the best man for the job. The England football manager is an interesting analogy: after Sven’s time in the job ended, the media made a “we must have an Englishman” hue and cry – and we ended up with Steve McLaren.

    As for the captaincy, I hate going back to the TINA argument, but who do you choose instead of Cook? The more obvious candidates seem to be ruled out – Bell seemingly doesn’t want it, and Root isn’t ready for it. I would go for Broad, but the selectors just won’t consider a fast bowler as Test captain.

    • Why isn’t Root ‘ready for it’ ?
      If he’s not ready now, he never will be.

      Would certainly gee up the team ( though Cook might go into a long term sulk ).
      And he has a clue about using spinners.

      • I don’t understand the logic of that first line, why will he never be ready if he isn’t ready now??

        • He’s a smart lad, not lacking in self confidence, and he’s played enough Test cricket by now to work it out for himself.

          If you think he’s going to learn much more at the feet of Cook, then….

          • Yes… of course he is going to learn more, No… it doesn’t necessarily have to be from Cook. I’m sure he’ll pick up more tips and tactics about the game from playing it more, he’ll find out more about leading men as he matures personally, maybe he’ll even be able to get some more experience at county level.

            If you think it’s now or never and that he’s got nothing else to learn at 24 years and 24 tests, then…

      • If he sulks, (which he will, thus giving the lie to his patriotism) drop him. From all accounts Root will thrive. Some players do. Its forgotten in the collective fugue provoked by those defending a captain who doesn’t thrive and is unable to inspire.

        • Reasons not to appoint Root:
          1) This happened on his f/c captaincy debut:

          Since then, how much more experience has he had? A couple of matches at most I believe. Australia didn’t select Steve Smith in ODIs for a while so he could captain in the Sheffield Shield and be more ready for the Test captaincy. That sort of strategic thinking appears beyond England.
          It appears in that game against Middlesex that Root bowled himself ahead of Rashid so I’m not too sure about his handling of spinners either.
          2) Root was not made v/c at the WC and there were stories about his immaturity and lack of work ethic.
          3) The effect on his batting – no England captain since Atherton has averaged more as captain than in the rank-and-file.
          4) Root’s behaviour on the pitch – I wouldn’t make too much of this as the same point was made about Greig and Hussain who turned out to be excellent captains but Root’s conduct is not good. The latest was his role in a group sledging Brathwaite at the the start of WI’s second innings in Bridgetown.

          • May I kindly suggest that his county coach is likely to know a little more about Joe Root’s potential than you or I?

  • Something should be done!

    What exactly? Well we outside cricket have said all along what the problems are with Cooks captaincy. But for some reason it gets some people on here very upset. So I won’t bother going over it all again.

    But as long as Cook is tied in with the KP issue too many people in the media are not going to judge England or his captaincy honestly for fear of losing Cook, and letting back in KP. We keep an inept captain for only one reason, to keep out another player. That is not the criteria for the job.

    • The truth always hurts Mark. Indeed the problems lies with Cooky and the whole culture that has been built around him by Flower, Moores, Downton, Clarke and the press insiders. Rumour has it that Flower had a hand in drawing up the job and choice of man? Who knows. It has also been alleged that Cook had a go at Agnew for he said about Cook and the teams failure. Who knows about that one. Van said, the source is not always reliable. I can imagine these things being true tho. Imagine Flower giving it large that Strauss is the only one who can do the job — because he has said KP will never play for England again. Whereas, both Vaughan & Stewart would have played the people in form! Moreover, we know (or do we) that when Vaughan tried to pour oil over troubled waters ala Cook, Blue Eyed Boy told Vaughan to Foxtrot Oscar? Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he had a go at anyone who had the temerity to criticise his very poor captaincy. Cook appears to think he can blame the new boss for his abject failure whilst Moores expects more time and totally blind to his failure.

      Meanwhile the wagons are being circled and Gus Frazer already saying that Strauss is a wonderful man and so right for the job. Yeah, well, the infamous words of the infamous Ms Rice- Davis: “Well he would say that wouldn’t he? Wants to keep his selectors job. He’s a damn moron, along with the rest of the Selectors. Selvey trying to beef up Cook. Hells bells. Has Selvey got something going with Cook? No, don’t answer that one!!! Paul Newman’s been at it as well.

      I’m reminded of a line in “A Very British Coup” where Harry Perkins meets the establishment (MI5) man who tells Harry that the establishment has always ruled everything: “Yay, even unto the Middle Ages!” Yay, the Establishment really do rule everything, even cricket!!!

  • 5 is the magic number:

    Number of opening batsmen who Cook has now seen off as an opener.

    Number of captains to lose their job under Moores ( its 4 at the moment but I fear Morgan will be 5. Vaughan Kp Collingwood and Cook(odi) being the others.

    Once is unfortunate, twice is carelessness …. what is 5 times?

  • Whilst I agree wit George D on cricinfo that there are signs of progress, there are certain issues which needs to be addressed.

    1) The main one for me is the run rate we score at. This stems back from the 2013 Ashes. On the Friday at Lords we bowled out Oz to lead by 200. We had 21 overs till the close. Ended 30-3. For some reason we have decided to return to the days of scoring at 2rp. Look at Saturday, 39-5 off 21. No intent to score. Therefore the bowlers are all over the batters. Cook is one of the worst for this. Although he got his ton it took all day which meant Eng were never on top. We need someone in the top 3 capable of scoring quickly.

    2) We need to find proper back up bowling. Stokes and Jordan have bright futures and have already been dropped enough. I fear Moeen will pay the price even though his average is better than Broad’s. I wonder if his place ever comes under scrutiny.

    3) Finally we need to pick our best team regardless of age. Forget this myth of 4 year planning etc and pick your best 11. Lehman did it when he came in and in 2 years they have won an Ashes, away in Sa and a world cup. Most of their squad are the wrong side of 30. Therefore pick KP even though he is 34. Youngsters, as we have seen, will be inconsistent.

    Finally MOORES OUT

    • We need to find proper back up bowling. Stokes and Jordan have bright futures and have already been dropped enough…

      This is slightly self contradictory.
      While I agree that the two have potential, I’m not sure either is quite good enough to justify his place on the strength of his bowling (and certainly not on batting).
      There is perhaps room for one all rounder who isn’t quite good enough to hold down a place for one or other discipline alone, but not two, as their presence in the team prevents the selection of (for instance) a Wood or a Plunkett.
      How then are we to find ‘proper back up bowling’?

      I’m not quite sure what category I’d put Moeen in, as there have been times when his batting or bowling on its own has appeared pretty strong.

      • Hi Nigel,

        I feel both Stokes and Jordan will go on to be fantastic cricketers but at the moment are raw. Hence I believe only one of the two should be picked. If you add in players like Woakes and Bairstow, these are players who have been dropped 3 or 4 times already and it must be very difficult to play in those circumstances. Selectors need to think carefully about which player fits each role and back them.

        • I agree entirely.
          One of the selectors problems is that England have a number of promising all rounders, none of whom is (thus far) outstanding.

          If we had a more secure opening pair, then experimentation would be less problematic (a radical plan might be to drop Bell, move Root up one, and put Stokes or Buttler in after him…), but unfortunately we’re back to the drawing board there, and I can’t see the selectors abandoning our packed middle order.

    • Where does KP fit into this top 5? Unless he comes in as an opener (which he isn’t), we are looking at dropping Ballance, Bell or Root. Root could potentially move up to open but that wasn’t a roaring success last time, he looks comfortable in the middle order and it feels like neutering a strength to cover a weakness… We haven’t got a strong enough bowling line-up to go in with just four of them i.e. no all-rounder at 6…

      • Pietersen might only get a chance if (when) things go pear shaped against NZ/Australia, and someone like Bell has an extended run of very low scores.

        So long as it’s not Cook England are not averse to dumping a batter in those circumstances.

  • Uncharacteristic honesty from Aggers on the BBC website:

    “Before the series, the incoming England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves suggested that West Indies were “mediocre” and England should beat them comfortably – well this setback demonstrates that England are every bit as mediocre as their opponents.”

  • Mr Graves, how can you be so obtuse after having the ability to build such a successful business and CC Club, to install Strauss as Director. This is not so much an appointment but a bloody coup!!. Once he is in that door, there is no going back or forward. He is here to stay same as his mate Flower. There will be no getting rid of Cook. Both he and Moores should go now if the team is going to improve. Why do you think Cook has the temerity to blame you, it’s because he knows whatever he does or in his case, doesn’t do, he will still be selected and still be Captain. Those two are sucking the confidence, talent, bravery, vitality and hope from the rest of the team. You are not in situ yet and you have already let the team and fans down by using courageous words that will prove to be as vacuous as your predecessor Clarke.

    • As Graves is still to take over – next week? – Strauss will be appointed in a power vacuum. Graves promised KP the world last month but next month it’s sorry pal, things have changed, hands are tied, etc. And, therefore, Graves will be a figurehead, neutered. Cook is untouchable. Moores may go, they might pick a foreign coach, but it’s all futile. The cult must be preserved. Hello mid-table obscurity, at best.

    • In fairness, the executive head of the ECB is Tom Harrison, and the job seems to be in his gift, not Graves’s (although one would imagine he would have significant input).

  • Moores quoted in the Guardian – does anyone think this makes any kind of sense at all ?
    “Coaches always want time,” Moores said on the morning after the match. “I think we’re moving the right way. I think this has been a really good trip in many, many ways internally within that group. Watching us develop, the way people are sort of getting how you have to go about being successful at international cricket, the intensity it needs. Some people are starting to get to the point, I think they’re feeling a bit more relaxed with an England shirt on, which is important. It doesn’t mean you’re not proud and you’re not up for it, but it’s about being able to play the game and still relax and do your skill.

    “So I think that’s happening. It helps having a bit of stability around the team as well. Whether I get to carry on I don’t know. That’s not my choice. It’s not within my control. What is important to me is to totally commit to it. I get frustrated though when people say things about me that aren’t true. When people say about laptops … it couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. But it’s not fact and it’s not right. It’s not how I operate as a coach. If you ask any player I deal with, they’ll tell you that. A coach’s CV is his players.

    “If the players think you can coach, you can coach. If the players think you can’t, then you can’t. Of course results count. But the emergence of teams and players – and I’ve built teams at Sussex and Lancashire, I’ve been through this three or four times at county and international level – is never a straightforward curve. It goes up and down. You invest in people you feel can go on and become special players…

  • I hate this England set up. Trott retires but the delusional duo of Moores and Cook remain. Just how many more will go before the ECB takes bloody notice?

    • No one if Strauss takes over. If they do formerly appoint him then the ECB has learned nothing from this past 18 months. We will be exactly the same as we have been under Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

      Strauss couldn’t deal with Twitter Account fiasco – by his own admission – so how the hell can he deal with the complex management of the whole caboosh!

      ECB has completely and utterly lost the plot.

  • Apart from the thought of going to a work meeting tomorrow with a guy I cordially detest at the moment – what Cook has said about Graves, his future boss has made me almost as apoplectic and depressed as Annie et al at the thought of Straussy giving the Cookie Monster a virtual job for life – I mean – who does AC think he is – David Cameron!!

    • Did he really say ‘so far up his own arse’ ? *

      Geoffrey, we salute you.

      (* Fortunately omitting any mention of the stick of rubarb….)

    • Geoffrey Boycott annoys the hell out of me. I can’t take that man seriously at all…as he was in his cricketing career (totally selfish) so he is in his commentating and journalistic career. (Mind you, he’s right about Strauss!)

      • I enjoy listening to him as a bizarre mix of credible analyst and comic buffoon, but he is the world’s biggest hypocrite. How he has the gall to criticise anyone for being too cautious and unimaginative in the way they play or captain is beyond me.

        • I share your thoughts on this. I never miss Boycs. He can be repetitive but usually always worth a listen. A very difficult and selfish customer in his day. Mellowed a bit but can still be awkward.

  • Wow Geoffrey Boycott pulling absolutely no punches in the Telegraph. He put a similar message on Twitter criticising Cook earlier today. I think he’s upset that Cook said people from Yorkshire ‘like to talk a good game’ haha.

    The headline in the DT ‘Arrogant Cook is so up his own arse he thinks he’s untouchable as captain.’ Fantastic.

  • We have endured a total debacle in the West Indies. The team was the team that would most be the safest to win and therefore to protect protect Cook and Moores. There was no thought on trying new talent to find a good team for the tough games ahead. This was evident in the totally selfish way Cook got his desperate century, running out Ali when he was batting fluently. Ali could have taken the score to a higher first innings total and maybe changed the final result. We were also treated to a sycophantic rant about Cook’s great batting. We will now get a new opener for the NZ game in two weeks at the very least. Ridiculous.
    The after match interviews were insulting to cricketing fans but please check out Geoffrey Boycottt instead:

  • If Andrew Strauss is the answer as Director of Cricket one has to wonder what the question was supposed to be. We’ve not seen the person specification or job role yet, but how on earth he has acquired the necessary experience for such a role since retiring as a player is a total mystery.

    I also think Vaughan would likely be a disaster because while he has the cricket IQ he’s not put the work in to keep his knowledge up to date. Does he really have the appetite to pass up on some of the celeb lifestyle to go and put his nose to the grindstone on the county circuit? Evidently not.

    The whole idea that if you were England captain or player then you are automatically suited for this role is the problem. Pro cricket marches on and if you’ve been out of a dressing room for 2 or 3 years it’s another world tactically – especially in short form cricket. Darren Lehmann was never captain and Cricket Australia didn’t choose him for profile – they selected him based on character, contrast with the previous failed regime and the fact he got his hands dirty and found success with Queensland.

    So I suppose the question I should answer is who I do think should get the job. Instead I have another question. If Enlgand sacked Flower, Whittaker, Cook and Moores and made the right hires to replace them, do we need a director of cricket at all?

    For me, many of the functions of this role are all subsumed within other current roles – our dissatisfaction lies with the encumbents rather than the structure. A director of cricket to me seems a curiously English way of avoiding the tough, direct and obvious solution.

    • Lehmann had not only coached Queensland but an IPL franchise and Australia A.

      The contrast with Strauss and Vaughan who both appear to think they can walk into the job at national level without putting in any hard yards at a lower level is a stark one.

  • So, Trott has gone.

    To be honest, I was surprised that he ever came back after leaving the Ashes tour after just one Test in 2013. It looked like a career-ending moment to me.

    Even so, once he came back (which meant that he wanted to play again and the selectors wanted him to play again) did he get a fair shake? I’ve read, in many places, that moving him from number 3 to opening was a bad idea. Was this a case of a recovering player being undone by bad selecting?

    • There was no other position available. In his first 11 games, Ballance has averaged double what Trott averaged over the past three years in the no.3 slot. So it was open or nothing.

      The problem this time was one of technique, not mental. Ever since bowlers figured out that the way to unsettle Trott was to bowl fast at him, because he gets forward to every ball (and Nasser Hussain had been asking for years why more bowlers didn’t do this), he has had no answer. His trigger movement takes him forward. In fact, it’s got worse, because now he actually walks into the ball.

      Pietersen started doing the same thing (walking into the ball) a few years ago, but he has always been good at working on his flaws, and he managed to eradicate it. With Trott, it’s so ingrained, he cannot help himself. We can say that he had a good run for an extended period in spite of a serious technical fault, which has now been found out, meaning he will never be the same batsman as before.

  • “So don’t hold your breath for the promised changes, as we will be swapping one nice lad – Paul Downton – for another in Strauss.”

    Gold from boycott, i mean downton atleast had a lot of entertainment value, may be we should trend #bringbackPaul to let know ECB how bad a choice strauss is despite all his contribution as cap.

    Cook is certainly not ned flanders, the guy is becoming absorbed in his ego i mean apart from his charms and batting leading prowess we were sold this version of guy who was a team man and not one to speak ill of others but that’s fast disappearing…i guess he wouldn’t have said those comments if he hadn’t got that hundred.

  • A point about Rashid, James…
    His bowling average was around 26 last season, and batting around 38.
    Assessing a spinner on career averages, just as he seems to be breaking through is neither fair nor sensible.

    • Fully accept that Rashid finished the season very strongly in 2014. My point is that he’s had his ups (and downs!) before. The fact he bowled so badly at St Kitts (I’ve heard that England thought he was unselectable, like Finn) after that game suggested he’s still not consistent enough. I appreciate that all spinners can have a bad game, but Rashid has previous. I like him as a cricketer though, and o sincerely hope he can put it all together. There’s a lot to like about him.

      • I think the major problem with Rashid is that selecting him means viewing a spinner in a fundamentally different light to how England are used to looking at a spinner. Spinners are seen as drying up the runs and giving the seamers a rest – if they can take wickets then that’s a bonus.

        Rashid is a wicket-taker but also goes for runs. The whole ‘bowling dry’ strategy has to be discarded and they are so totally wedded to that I can’t see it happening.

      • Until he’s given a run at international level, we won’t know.
        More than seamers, spinners have to learn their trade, and this would have been a pretty good opportunity to try him out – rather than (say) halfway through the Ashes.

        Whether Cook has the nous to manage a debutant legspinner is another matter.

      • I’ve become very cynical about the reports we get from practice games.

        By the figures, Rashid bowled to a similar level to Tredwell – and neither actually got many overs as we game most of the bowling time to the seamers. Tredwell took a couple more wickets, but given the small number of overs, that’s more about luck with batsmen hitting out than a definitive statement.

        I’ll add once again that it’s not just Rashid, there’s the oddity around Tredwell too. Don’t pick him for the WC, but play him in the longer form?

        • Of course, Selvey et al default to “Tredwell bowled better in the nets” – but we’ve seen what net performance adds up to recently…

          I have no faith in England’s ability to actually assess people in the nets.

  • You had me up until the Klinsman comment… of course we want the best coaches and I don’t give a rat’s arse where they come from.

  • James,
    I’m going to get crucified for this on here, but here goes.
    By the time the Ashes starts, England will have half a side with 18 months or less test experience. Opener (Lyth?), Balance, Moeen, Buttler, Stokes and Jordan/Wood. Replacing half a side isn’t done overnight. Where was Mitchell Starc after 18 months? Steve Smith? Nathan Lyon? Being crucified by the “feral” Australian media is where – and now that same media are all rolling over having their tummies tickled.
    Building a side takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. But there is evidence to suggest that Moores is having some good effects. Root and Ballance have both blossomed. Moeen had an excellent start. Buttler will be a mainstay for a decade. The jury is still out on Jordan.
    Of course there have been mistakes. Trott was a poor selection, as was Tredwell. Sam Robson doesn’t look good enough quite yet, and the World Cup was a disaster for which Moores is clearly culpable.
    Obviously the Barbados loss was bitterly disappointing, but let’s not forget that this West Indies side took a game off NZ a year ago – an NZ side that most of your commenters seem to think will beat us. They’re an abysmal side on the road the West Indies, but they’re not that easy to beat at home.
    Your point about Darren Lehmann and Tim Sherwood is well made, and pertinent to me as a fellow Villa fan. But I would argue that Lehmann in particular had a better set of players to call on than Moores does.
    Moores’ scorecard is mixed, I’ll not deny that – but there’s enough good in it for me to argue that the jury is still out on him. More patience is required. As he says himself, his legacy will be in his players. If the players that he blooded are all making a substantial contribution for England in 3 years time, and we’re back up to 1 or 2 in the world, Peter Moores will deserve a massive amount of credit for that success, regardless of whether he’s in the job to enjoy the fruits of it.

    • Hi Kev. James here. I understand that it takes time to build a winning team, but the spine was already in place. Cook, Bell and Root isn’t a bad start for any batting line-up and the opening bowlers (Anderson & Broad) were also well established. What England needed was a few junior players to emerge. What’s more the Aussies have/had just as many new players in their side. Of the team that beat us 5-3 on aggregate in the Ashes, Rogers, Smith, Bailey, Lyon and Starc were all new unproven guys. Then there’s the likes of Pattinson and Agar who also made contributions. What’s more, Lehmann also got considerably more out of the established players – just look at Mitchell Johnson and probably David Warner too.

      However, I don’t want to get hung up on direct comparisons. I can tolerate defeats along the way if the team is improving and on an upward curve. But England simply are not improving. Moores said they’ve just had a good tour, and players have developed, but who exactly is he referring to? The guys that carried the drinks?

      The fact is that England have just come off an appalling World Cup, and just suffered a shocking defeat to the 8th best side in the world. The defeat in Barbados was the worst performance of the second Moores era, so how can there be improvement?

      Moores would be given more time if he hadn’t failed the first time round. Yes, that’s harsh, but it’s the way of the world. There is a body of evidence behind Moores that suggests he doesn’t get the most out of his players at international level. With the exception of Anderson, all our senior players have gone backwards: Bell, Cook (except the last game) and Broad, whereas his record with the new guys is mixed. Ballance has succeeded, Root was already a good player, but Ali and Buttler have not been consistent, while Finn, Stokes and Jordan have shown no improvement at all.

      It’s just my view, and you are perfectly entitled to disagree. If we had just been beaten by a good side – a better side than us – then there should be patience shown. However, we’ve been playing the worst 3 test sides in the world and results have been very mixed. Incidentally, the Windies have only beaten Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in test matches since 2011. The only exception was that one, solitary win against NZ you mentioned.

      • Very interesting from you and Kev. I think both points of view are equally valid and equally well made. After all, that’s what these blogs are about.

        I do think it’s best to give Moores a bit more time. I like your idea of Rahul Dravid as a replacement if nothing chances for the better, but reading between the lines it seems like Gillespie is firmly in the frame.

        We have very interesting times ahead of us. Wait and see being my current motto!

        Hoping for the long term best and trusting we will find some gain with the seemingly inevitable pain. :-(

  • Farbrace coached Yorkshire’s second team for two seasons. He won’t have seen that much of Adil Rashid during that time when it comes to actual game time, given that Adil was playing in the first team.

    Adil has had consistency problems, but these past two seasons the good has very, very much outweighed the bad. He’s coming into his prime age as a spinner. Had Greame Swann been under so much scrutiny in his early and mid-20s (I know he got that England call-up but then spent seven or so years totally off the radar) then he might not have had the impact he did when called up. If, indeed, he’d been called up at all. To take Adil and treat him how they did was a hugely retrogressive move. Whatever the reason behind it, action should be taken to prevent it happening again. If that is the coach becoming the head of selection, then so be it.

    • To take Adil and treat him how they did was a hugely retrogressive move

      I agree.
      I can’t believe a smart ex cricketer like Atherton argues, as he has, that the experience of carrying the drinks will have been totally beneficial for him.

      Time in the middle back in county cricket has to be better than an extended period on the international boundary – while you are labelled as ‘unpickable’ in the press.

      • If drinks carrying is such a valuable experience, then why do we send a squad’s 12th and 13th man back to their counties to play during home test matches?

        And where Adil is concerned, I rather fancy that Jason Gillespie forgets more about cricket in the average day than Moores will ever know. And in Gale, Adil has a captain who accepts he might go for a few, but will still use him as an attacking bowler and not panic the second he gets swept for four. Of course Adil would have been better off going back to Yorkshire…

  • Very interesting Tweet from Sangakkara about England’s “overly intense team environment”:

    That’s quite a profound insight I think. Moores always talks about working harder when things aren’t going well. I’d like to hear more about the wisdom of what they’re working at.

    Those who are defending Moores say the young players feel he is making them better. Perhaps – but what points of comparison do they have? I’m worried about what a joyless cricketer Jos Buttler seems to be becoming, for example. I know I keep making the point but I wish our players were going to the IPL or BBL and experiencing different coaching styles – and that some our coaches were there as well (I’d like to see Moores trying his methods with Warner or Steyn or McCullum). This is the kind of interchange that other sides now experience as routine and it is killing England that we are missing out on it.

    • haha ever since he met KP he has talked for KP recall twice and now this.. can literally imagine KP bugging sanga to put out a few words for him..that sanga does it to just get Kp of his back :p

      But regardless of why, what he says is true..but right now straussy appointment seems to be the real threat. cause it will make sure that graves hope was a false dawn just dont want that to happen

    • I’ve yet to hear any young cricketers actually criticising an incumbent coach. It would be career suicide. It’s what comes out when said coach has departed that tells the story.

    • What those defending him forget to mention is that playing under Flower was far worse. That’s the only comparison they have: a martinet and a woodpecker, or, in less emotive terms, two overweanng coaches.

      • According to who Paul? According to KP, who we can safely say had something of an axe to grind.

        Cook, Bell, Trott, Prior, Swann, Bresnan, Broad, Anderson would probably disagree that playing under Flower was as terrible as some here seem to make out, just because they read it in a disgruntled ex-player’s book.

        • So ‘this is our team’ rings no bells? Or Compton’s reports from the front, or Trott’s breakdown, or Swann’s leaving mid-tour? Goodness me!

  • Moorespeak – “…. how you have to go about being successful at international cricket, the intensity it needs. Some people are starting to get to the point, I think they’re feeling a bit more relaxed with an England shirt on…”

    Now we know what is the problem – they are feeling relaxed when they should have intensity! (I think he is decribing Broad)

  • On the other hand, we have Brenkley abandoning hope for the Ashes two months in advance:

    Between ‘Bluster’ Brenkley and Mike ‘Phoenix’ Selvey, you’ve got a wonderful thumbnail sketch of English cricket’s dichotomous neuroses.

    ‘We’re good, everything improving, ra ra ra, take the positives.’

    ‘Oh, we’re shit. Let’s give up now so if we end up losing we can pretend we never cared anyway.’

  • George Dobell sells out – wondered how long it would take – new switch hit at cricinfo

    • Jeez, Ron, it’s not selling out. It’s just called having a different opinion to you. I’d have thought you’d be used to it.

  • “Look at the way Darren Lehmann transformed Australia’s ailing fortunes.”

    It should not be underestimated that, at least according to George Dobell, the players both like and want Moores as the coach. Lehmann didn’t “transform” Australia by bringing in new talent. He did it by getting the best out of guys who were already playing test cricket and didn’t respect their old coach. (I would argue that he had more talent to work with – especially with regard to fast bowling). Sacking a popular coach may not, in the short term, lead to any improvement. I hate to say it but perhaps we should give Moores a bit longer in the job.

    • Moores should never have got the job in the first place, but that’s water under the bridge now.

      /Of course/ the players are saying they are happy under Moores. The last player to complain the coach wasn’t any good got sacked for it. Twice!

      The only issue that needs resolving re: Moores is whether there’s a better coach out there available. I’d give Flemming, Gillespie or Kirsten the job in a heartbeat and push Moores off the Loughborough. But I doubt any of them want to work under Strauss.

      So it’s more a case of sticking with the desperately underwhelming Moores because he’s the only man who wants the job.

    • DLP,
      Totally agree with this. Australia was at a totally different point in its’ development cycle when Lehmann took over than England were/are under Moores.
      Lehmann took over a side with a core of established players (like Moores) – but one where the emerging players (Warner, Smith, Johnson, Starc, Lyon) had already played 2 or 3 years of test cricket – and, for the record, had the same inconsistencies that England’s new players are having now. Luckily for Lehmann, he wasn’t in charge when that was going on. Moores on the other hand, has to carry the can while those new players are on their training wheels.
      Now clearly Lehmann has accelerated the development of those players, and created an atmosphere where players are playing for each other and thriving. No one can deny that and he deserves plaudits for doing so. And it may well be that someone else (Gillespie?) will be better at galvanising our new players and accelerating their development than Moores is. But I’m not convinced yet.
      This insane year of 17 tests will be a true (if brutal) test of where Moores’ England are – and whether they are progressing. I’m inclined to let him see the year out.


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