The Seduction of Flower Power

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The ECB knew KP’s book was coming for six months. It was there, lurking in the background like an agitated troll, throughout the entire summer. They must have known it would be explosive so why, given they had months to prepare, has their response been so clumsy?

Whether you love Kevin Pietersen or loathe him – and as someone who regularly tore his hair out watching KP throw his wicket away (apparently it’s the number one cause of baldness amongst England cricket fans) I’m somewhere in the middle – I believe the ECB’s ineffectual response has thus far vindicated KP’s position.

The dossier wasn’t so much dodgy as dastardly. It read like a post-rationalised damp squib full of pedantry. What’s more, many of its claims are simply untrue: KP didn’t break protocol and corrupt a young player in Adelaide; he went clubbing with Stuart Broad. Once we know some of the accusations are untrue, how can we trust any of them?

However, I’m not here to talk about Pietersen. Shock! What I’d like to talk about is the relationship between Paul Downton and Andy Flower, and what recent events reveal about two of the most powerful men in English cricket.

Sometimes in sport one man becomes bigger than his employers. Had the Glazers sacked Sir Alex Ferguson when they bought Man Utd, there would have been revolution in the streets of Trafford (or should that be Cornwall?). The Glazers knew this. The big man was, for all intents and purposes, unsackable. Only a man like Fergie could’ve banished superstars like Beckham, Keane and Van Nistelrooy so assuredly.

I’m not trying to draw exact parallels here. Kevin Pietersen is not David Beckham. Andy Flower is not Ferguson, and cricket certainly isn’t football. However, there are similarities.

In this observer’s opinion, Flower was unsackable at the time of the Ashes. He was (and remains) a significantly bigger fish than Downton. That’s Paul Downton, a man who had been ‘outside cricket’ (I love that term, don’t you?), for several years, and was basically on his first day on the job when he arrived in Sydney.

In these circumstances, Downton was never realistically going to sack Flower. He needed Flower to get him up to speed: having working in the City for yonks, Dowton was unfamiliar with the dressing room culture. He was just feeling his way. Downton was not the strong, informed, ECB managing director England needed at the time.

One wonders whether a different managing director, one who had remained close to the game and knew the players – someone who knew what modern dressing rooms were like – would have made the correct decision and sacked Flower, and perhaps removed Cook as captain too.

Instead, an out of touch Downton arrived in Sydney (after missing a large chunk of the MCG test) and desperately sought a briefing. Obviously the briefing came from the least suitable person: the coach with a vested interest whose team were in decline and whose methods were stale.

In January 2014, when the Ashes had been surrendered and the dressing room was in turmoil, the most powerful man in England cricket was Andy Flower. He had the ear of the primary decision maker who, in cricketing terms, was a pigmy by comparison: Downton’s cricketing CV was nothing compared to Flower – the man who defied Robert Mugabe and averaged fifty for lowly Zimbabwe.

It is unfortunate for English cricket that Flower told Downton, as many in his position would, that England’s problems were not his fault. After all, he’d already decided that his tactics – bowl dry and wait for the batsmen to make a mistake – were still best for the team, even though they hadn’t worked particularly well since the glorious win in India.

Flower was therefore in denial and, as a consequence, when he spoke to the wet behind the ears manager director about England’s woes, Downton naturally developed an erroneous understanding of England’s problems.

Downton didn’t question Flower’s judgement because Flower was the most senior employee at hand. He asked a few of Flower’s closest confidantes (Cook, Prior etc), but he failed to realise the obvious: of course, they were going to back their coach. The last captain who criticised their immediate boss, back in January 2009, was sacked.

And so it came to pass that Downton promoted the coach, retained the captain, and sacked the star batsman who, according to Michael Vaughan – someone who knew KP and was closer to the dressing room – should have been given more responsibility and made vice-captain.

At the current time, as the evidence emerges and the lies are gradually exposed, the decision to ostracise Pietersen and make him a scapegoat for the Ashes disaster looks wrong. It seems unfair and was not based on an accurate assessment of events.

Was Downton therefore seduced by Flower power? Make up your own mind.

James Morgan

52 comments

  • “Was Downton therefore seduced by Flower power?”

    Of course he was James. And many of us said so BTL back in February. Where are they all hiding?

    • Flower power? Ha ha ha. What a thought. Haven’t you heard that Downton has been locked in the Tower and gagged? I mean the walking PR Disaster couldn’t be let lose on the waiting public. He gaffs more than my dog!!

  • I am not sure sure I agree here, James. I said this over on Dmitri’s blog, but I think it bears repeating here. I think that there is a 3rd issue which has been largely ignored in the Pietersen-ECB rift. The 1st two issues are the bullying culture, and the role of the press. However, one of the things Pietersen said in his interview with the Telegraph was that he was upset that he was not allowed to bring his family on tour. This hasn’t been much commented on. It strikes me that one of the things which led to the rift is that KP considers himself, and by extension any cricketer, to be a professional in the sense that they are hired to do a job of work by particular teams. The reward is only in part financial. The employers, in this case the ECB but in other cases Surrey or the Delhi Daredevils, also provide him with a platform to display his art to the widest possible audience. He is quite prepared to be at peak fitness, spend long hours in the nets, do his corporate and charitable work, take part in the team meetings, and support his teammates, because that is what he is being rewarded for doing (and some of it is to his own benefit anyway). He cannot see why that should include the ECB controlling his social life or his family life. As long as he turns up to work in a position to give his best possible performance he has fulfilled his contract. The ECB do not want cricketers who are like that. For them, you have to be a servant of the board. Team England does not get together in the morning and break up again at night. You are meant to be a small part of some greater cause. The happy few, et cetera, et cetera. The ECB wanted him out because they have a different vision of the relationship between player and team. Downton could have asked Andy Flower to resign. He had been coach a long time, the Ashes has been lost 5 – 0. He wanted Pietersen out because KP didn’t share the ethos that the muppets wanted ‘moving forward’. Just like they said at the time.

    • I agree with what you’re saying, but I think Flower was one of the main people enforcing the view KP rebelled against. If you read the book, it’s Flower (plus the ECB too) who denied KP’s requests. I think your broader point that KP didn’t fit the model the ECB want England players to be is true (and I didn’t go into the IPL etc) but I don’t think it invalidates my thesis here. I wouldnt base my whole view of the KP sacking around ‘Flower Power’, I’m merely exploring one particular aspect of a broader story in the piece above.

  • I think they did not prepare because they don’t actually give a shit what outsiders or even some insiders think. The fact Flower is still in a job after this weeks revelations shows that they do what they want to do,and anyone who doesn’t like it can go whistle.

    They are playing the long game. Pat Murphy on 5live just said they can see the public is split on this and both sides are entrenched. Not many more minds will be changed. Also KPs age makes it difficult to come back. If he was 30 it would be difficult for them to play down the clock. So they will just bide their time.

    We have always said this is bigger than just KP. What he has done is expose how rotten to the core the inner workings of the ECB are. It’s now up to the counties to decide if they want this insanity to continue. And if they are happy with this crap,then some of us will turn our backs on the game.

    • Mark, I think some people are actually changing their minds. There are a small number of people sitting on the fence, who don’t have strong opinions either way, and I think the dodgy dossier and the apparent lies are creating more sympathy for KP. Just my inkling.

      • Hmm…I agree with Mark that the ECB will play the long game, because they have to, as the people in possession! On the oft opined “KP is the symptom not the cause” I think that maybe this is the time to relax, draw breath, see where we are, and what’s the way forward?
        As I have said before, the ECB is nothing but a weasels nest, and a weasel can volte face on a sixpence. I find it (slightly) worrying that they have kept their powder dry, notwithstanding they haven’t been able to get their grubby mitts on a copy until publication day, and also that ridiculous “dossier” aside!
        Remember this though…that institution is chock full of City boys, (and they’ve just appointed another one) whom, it would appear, see themselves as members of one of the most exclusive Gentlemen’s clubs in history, and will have absolutely no intention of going down with any dignity whatsoever!!
        I think that we as genuine cricket lovers (don’t forget the cricket as it seems to have been lost in the recent turmoil) have been thoroughly vindicated in our opposition to the ECB and the way it goes about it’s management practices….however,,,there is a danger (I feel) that we may take our eye off the bigger picture as we microanalyse (to our own satisfaction) every nuance in this ever unfolding story…..
        Giles Clarke’s personal intervention to the penalty paid for some onfield verbals by Andrew Gale has deeply upset Yorkshire CCC, and those boys seem pretty incensed and determined to do something about it! The racist charge was completely fatuous, and yet, the process and further penalty was completely vindictive (Where have we heard this before)… The ECB are on the hook again, and shouldn’t be allowed to get off it…..is all I’m saying!!

        • Strangely, the relatively minor business involving Gale may be the thing which finally does for Giles (in a beginning of the end sort of way)

          His power is based on the counties propping him up. It’s where the ECB’s authority comes from. Whilst the ECB keeps handing over the readies they can victimize KP all they like, or so it’s seemed. The counties know which side their bread is buttered. However, victimizing a county and picking a fight – especially when contrasted with their attitude towards Anderson/Jadeja – and then picking a fight again when it seemed to be resolved, is really ruffling feathers. The appetite for another spell of Giles chairmanship may be waning in the shires.

          • Indeed yes! I honestly believe that this is a “good week to bury bad news” story, and may very well turn out to be Clarke’s (and the ECB’s Achilles heel) KP may very well be fortuitous, in that “things may change”???

          • THA, I think you’re absolutely right. English cricket is run by and for the counties and until recently Giles Clarke has curried favour by getting profitably into bed with Sky and turning the England national side into a cash cow.
            But I’m sure a lot of county chairmen care deeply about the game and also have a strong sense of their own position within it. They won’t like all the game’s dirty linen being washed at the moment and they very much won’t like the chairman antagonising Yorkshire.

            I so hope Clarke isn’t re-elected. He isn’t the only problem by any means, but seeing the back of him would be a very good start.

      • Taken a short break from the book. Very interesting comments above.

        There was a situation in Australia that needed addressing. Being new to the job Downton was bound to approach Flower and his senior players for an update. Sacking two top men on something like his first day would have taken great character and a very brave, determined and well informed man. Not got too many of those around unfortunately.

        Find it hard to believe ECB leaked the dossier. The way it’s presented makes them look like a possy of nitwits. I suspect the lawyers office.

        Understand the dissatisfaction that lies beneath the written KP dossier nonsense, but apart from that, ECB/Flower management style seems very akin to military procedure. We need to win. A form of that supreme discipline and unaccountability might have been successful in the past but the need to adapt when situations alter is critical. It’s not the modern way. There was bound to be rebellion.

        Asking the team to play to a set formula instead of to the best of their talents must have been as frustrating as hell for them. If that is Flower’s view, knowing he is in charge of coaching and the Lions is deeply worrying. He achieved great things for us in the past and I believe him to be a man of integrity but he seems slow to move with changing times.

        The IPL remains a huge and very difficult issue for the ECB. I hope they have within them the talents to address it successfully. Any ideas from TFT on this?

        As for KP, still enjoying taking well written views from all sides. Book to finish. Fence sitting? Not really. Textgate, although there is much more to this whole saga than that.

        • On the ECB and the IPL three things the former could do:
          1) Stop scheduling series that clash with the IPL. Why are we going to the West Indies when they’ll be without Gayle and Narine (and possibly others like Roach and Taylor).
          2) Change the rule that England players can only retire from whole formats but not make themselves unavailable for individual series (although this may be accompanied by a concession in the other direction e.g. players make themselves available for a set number of games over a longer time frame).
          3) Demonstrate a fundamental change of attitude to the IPL stop vacillating between contempt and fear and accept it as part of the world to be made the most of. Playing with the best players under the best coaches and in front of large crowds – this is a good thing! When England won our only international one-day trophey five of the squad had played in the IPL the preceeding year and I don’t think that this was a coincidence.

          • Thanks for this.
            I don’t have much idea of how cricket is best administered other than in a general way. Hope I have understood this point correctly. Not sure about centrally contracted players making themselves unavailable for certain series. Could we not be left with a team bereft of its star players and possibly a lack of good balance at times. Cherry picking by the squad? If I have missed your point please expand. Looking to learn.

            • The ECB have been happy to let players miss series when it has suited them e.g. Strauss missed Bangladesh. I’d like to move to something like a system where players have to commit for a minimum number of days of international cricket with the balance between different formats negotiated on an individual basis. Zephirine makes the point on a Guardian thread that if he hadn’t broken down injured we’d probably have had similar rows with Flintoff about England vs. IPL and I can see trouble brewing with Morgan (and possibly Hales and Buttler). Any system will have its problems but what we’ve got currently isn’t sustainable – it’s broken and needs fixing.

              I’m not claiming any great expertise on sporting contracts by the way! I was going to ask Chris Gayle but he has better things to do on a Friday evening…..

  • I agree that there is no refutation here, but my thought was that had Flower’s agenda not matched the ECB’s Downton would have shown Flower to the exit and sacked KP. It is not a likely scenario as they hired Flower and Moores because they share the ethos. But still, I’m not sure we have evidence of undue influence from Flower. Having said that, Pietersen did suggest that Flower is good at managing up, so….

  • Interesting point Pietersen makes in the book about the ECB wanted a “figurehead captain” which they thought he would be and he wasn’t prepared to play that role. The relegation of the role of the captain to a virtual line-manager in the Flower/Moores model of coaching is one of its worst aspects in my view.

    Pietersen also makes a revealing comment that his first decision as captain was to give the recalled Harmison the first over as bowler. Take a big but brittle talent and show it some love and trust? Pietersen sending a message about how he wished he was treated I think. Strauss has talked about loss of trust but how much trust did he show Pietersen? Pietersen was excluded from decision-making (where he had much to offer) and left to brood, as Scyld Berry has said, like Achilles in his tent. Strauss is often praised for his man-management but Vaughan seems much more astute in his view that the key to managing Pietersen was to give him some responsibility.

    On James’s view that Downton was bedazzled by Flower that rings true but I’d also suggest that Downton would have heard plenty about how great Flower was from those above him so Flower was pushing at a door already half ajar.

    Finally, I’ve just listened to Switch Hit and Mark Butcher made the point that Australia recovered quickly from their own shambles in homeworkgate because they changed the managers and not the players. It seems so obvious…..

    • “The relegation of the role of the captain to a virtual line-manager in the Flower/Moores model of coaching is one of its worst aspects in my view.” Yes. I was struck by this when reading Strauss’s comments today, he said:

      “That idea that the team should come first was central to what we did, and something Andy Flower was very conscious of and protective over. It didn’t matter who fell foul of that – anyone who was testing that would be dealt with accordingly, and rightly so.”

      It’s so clear from the way he expresses that that Flower was the one making the rules and enforcing them. Generally I quite like Strauss (even if he is a Tory), he was a fine cricketer and a pretty good captain, but I think he too was seduced by Flower and, naturally enjoying the success they had early on, possibly didn’t even register how much he was the junior partner.

  • Was Flower really promoted? He stepped down from the head coach role after the Ashes and was moved into his current job. I would argue it isn’t a promotion because surely coach of the England team is the top job in English cricket? Just an observation…..

    Before I get slammed by most TFT readers, I’m not making any comment on the goings on of the last few days apart from the fact that I’m with Bob Willis (never thought I’d say that), Pietersen’s book has shown that they’re mainly a bunch of schoolchildren and the ECB, Downton, Pietersen, Broad and the others all come out of it pretty badly.

    • It’s debatable whether he was strictly promoted, although it seems Moores defers to Flower in his new role, so would seem he’s considered more senior?

      What’s not debatable is that Flower was neither demoted nor punished. His time as team director was coming to an end one way or the other – he had made it clear he could no longer cope with the time and travel commitments – he could have been either sacked or allowed to retire. Instead, he was given a new role which seemed to have been created specifically for him. It seems to be at least a reward, if not necessarily a promotion.

      • Less promoted, Hamish, than getting a job he wanted. He’d made plenty of noises about the time it has taken out of his family life, and he was offered a post that combined his cricket coaching and the ability to stay home.

        I’m still not as down on Flower as many others. I haven’t been all year. On that, I know I’m in the minority on here.

        Anyway, who is getting in touch with Ian Blackwell for his views? Shaun Udal? Tim Ambrose? I mean, the old cricket rolodex is spinning in press offices at the moment.

        • Dmitri, I was not as down on Flower until I saw the dossier. That is some sort of crank who has compiled that. Serious issues, and pathological.

          And then you realise it was all going on in the background for years. It’s a madness.

    • Have you read Pietersen’s book, or just the headlines ?
      And has Bob Willis ?

      The book (which I picked up today and am half way through) gives quite a different impression.

    • Totally agree re: the childishness Hamish. Remember the jelly beans etc. And please don’t think I believe KP should be immune from criticism. Whilst I think he wasn’t managed well, it can’t be ignored that he’s a difficult character by his own admission.

      Re: the Flower promotion, it’s a personal conviction that he still holds enormous influence. In some ways Moores is Flower-light. At the moment Flower is basically in charge of coaching the coaches, and I think it’s fair (albeit sonewhat subjectively) to portray his new job as a promotion. It’s a bit like a football manager being moved upstairs to become director of football, where he’s closer to decision makers.

      Good to have you back by the way Hamish. It’s always good to have contrasting views. Otherwise there’s no debate.

    • Hamish – I hope you don’t seriously feel unable to express your views here, because I’d hope that in general all commenters are treated with reasonable respect. You and I usually disagree, yet I always welcome your contributions here. If nothing else, it’s healthy to have one’s opinions challenged.

      • I’m sorry if I came across as abrasive.

        The question about having read the book was genuine – I am getting a significantly different impression of Pietersen from the book than from the excerpts in the press.

        Pietersen is not without faults, but “schoolchildren” seems far too pat a condemnation to me.

        • My copy has just arrived. Alas, although I’m off work today, I’ve been assigned divers shopping and DIY chores which have inconveniently halted the real work of reading it…

    • So Miserable Old Git – as we call him in our house – Bob Willis said that? Well done that man. I do think that has truth in it. The ECB certainly acting like dipsticks. After the leak of the dossier made them look a bunch of tossers. Shame you don’t feel able to speak yer mind. This has always been the one place I have found where one could speak ones mind. Then of course there is Dmitri Old’s blog and that is very good. And Paddy Briggs is good also. Go on speak yer mind, you know it makes sense!!!

  • Regarding Flower – I’ve noted that many of his defenders have been using the “he coached England through 3 Ashes wins and a number 1 ranking” argument to try and maintain his reputation. Obviously some people are already eyeing the history books and how Flower will be remembered.

    What I have yet to hear is anybody willing to point out that while Flower may have coached England to being the number 1 ranked cricket team in the world, he also coached the number 1 ranked cricket team in the world to a 5-0 Ashes humiliation and a number 4 ranking. Somebody needs to take a hard look at just what happened to take England from the pinnacle of international cricket to the embarrassment that was a 90 over loss at Sydney in 2014.

    And that’s before we get to “textgate” or “KP genius” or allegations of cliques and bullying. Flower’s performance as a cricket coach as well as a manager needs to be assessed fully and honestly.

    • Culex,

      Loads of us on the Guardian comment boards have been saying this, and other things, about Flower for at least two and a half years. In short, you get this kind of analysis from BTL commenters and bloggers, but never from the print correspondents.

      I have said several times that in 33 years following English cricket I cannot recall anyone (player or coach) whose record has been presented with such an unrelentingly positive spin. Any ATL precis of his career always includes “3 Ashes wins, no.1 in all formats, win in India”. It never includes “worst ever result against Pakistan, worst result against South Africa since re-admission, first failure to win a Test in New Zealand since 1988”. All of which preceded the second Ashes whitewash in seven years.

      His period in charge splits neatly into two: 2009-11, during which his W-L-D record is exactly the same as Fletcher’s from Jul 2003 – Sep 2005 (but for three additional draws); and 2012-14, during which his W-L-D record is exactly the same as Fletcher/Moores from Nov 2005 – Mar 2008 (but for one additional draw). Sorry, but that doesn’t look like “unprecedented success” to me. While no-one sane looks upon November 2005 – March 2008 as a golden era, somehow January 2012 – January 2014 was written up as an extension of former glories which only came to a sudden end with the 13/14 Ashes. It is a total myth, caused by two things:

      1. The lag effect of the world Test rankings, which allowed everyone to say we were no.1 in all formats in summer 2012, even though we’d lost 4 Tests out of 5 in the winter and ended up with a W-L-D record of 3-6-2 while no.1.
      2. The win in India.

      Even after the Ashes whitewash, no blame was attached to him. He left with the hagiographies still ringing in his ears. During “textgate” there was more concern for Flower’s health than what might actually be going on with the KPgenius account. I have to be brutally honest: the real test of the book’s impact for me is whether the press stops treating Flower as some kind of saint to whom English cricket owes all its recent success. I don’t hold out much hope, I’m afraid.

        • This is what pisses me off about coaches who try to live in the glory of players deeds. How many runs did Flower score in those 3 ashes wins? How many wickets did he take? How many catches did he take? NONE. ZERO. ZIP NADA.

          He glories in the win in India. But a major part was played by KP and that innings on a pitch where even Sachin struggled. Yet Flower is given all the credit. Even though we now know he was doing everything he could to get KP out of the team. Had Flower had his way KP would not have even been on the India tour. Swann told us in his talk with Agnew …..”he (flower) didn’t want to bring him back.”

          It’s one thing to take credit for a team, but quite another to glory in a teams success when a part of that success is being created by someone you are trying to get rid of. Takes a particular type of delusion.

          • James here. Cook was also absolutely fantastic on that India tour, and deserves as much credit as anyone. I think everyone knows I have doubts about his abilities against top class pace bowling (and believe he’s somewhat overrated as a result), but he is an excellent player of spin. He really did ‘lead from the front’ (even though I hate that phrase) on that tour. He was the glue that held the batting together.

            • James, there were 4 players on that tour who played the lions share of creating that win. Cook, KP, Swann, and Monty.

              The first 2 for their batting, and the second 2 for bowling out India on their home spinning pitches.

              Yet because we are English,and we have an obsession with hierarchy, and the officer class all the credit went to Flower for his coaching and Cook for his captaincy. ITS BULLS**T!

              • Mark

                You’ll like this stat. The four players you mention are still the only ones to score a hundred or take even a four-for in an England away win since Sydney in January 2011. Partly because we’ve won only three out of 17 since then (though we do like to laugh at India’s away record). Two of them aren’t playing any more, one of them is treated like dirt and the other is in the worst form of his life. And next time we play an away Test it’ll be more than four years since anyone else stood up and won one.

              • That is an amazing stat Arron. But it kind of backs up my point about players above coaches. Great or good players trump coaches. And when you haven’t got many players of that kind you struggle.

  • James here. Please don’t take this article as criticism of Flower’s entire stint in charge. He was an excellent England coach, who rescued the mess left behind my Moores, and created a very disciplined side that was strong and consistent in all departments.

    Where I take issue with Flower, and the ECB as a result, is not identifying that these methods were becoming stale. The fantastic result in India aside, the team had been in decline since Sept 2011. The bowling dry (and 4 bowler) strategy was not working against top class players like Amla and Kallis, tail-enders like Tino Best, Sammy etc were flaying us for fun, whilst all our top batsmen saw their averages decline from pushing 50 (and over) to mid-40s. Basically, the wins against the weaker sides were becoming less convincing, and the defeats against the best teams started mounting up.

    A fresh approach was desperately needed, but the warning signs were ignored … leading to the Ashes whitewash. I really believe that Flower and Strauss should have gone at the same time. It was the end of that particular cycle. However, Flower was so powerful that he ignored these signs, intransigently pursued the same methods, and I doubt anyone at the ECB challenged him.

    • “I really believe that Flower and Strauss should have gone at the same time. It was the end of that particular cycle.”

      Very good point, James. I’ve always thought that Strauss and Flower were united by the humiliation of 51 all out in the West Indies and a shared determination never to let it happen again. Then someone (Flower?) decided they were going to push for no 1 in the world, and they achieved that despite not really having a no 1 standard side. Some pretty heavy-handed leadership was probably necessary to get there.

      Strauss had the sense to know when to go, of course he wasn’t making runs but he could still have hung on. But he’d achieved what he’d set out to do and he knew he’d had enough. If Flower had had the insight to see that he too was out of fuel, he and his teamwork with Strauss would still be remembered as a success.

      To be fair, Flower may have asked to go at that point and been requested to stay. We know he was unhappy about not getting any time with his family. But it now looks more likely that he’d built a power base and was on good money and wasn’t going to let it go.

    • James,I have a cynical view about coaches. I think bad ones can do a lot more harm than good ones can do good. Great teams have great players period! Who was the coach of the Windies in the 70s? Most people have no idea. Warne was no lover of Aussie coaches. I’m deeply suspicious of Svengali coaches like Moores.

      Napoleon said of generals …..”give me a lucky one over a good one any day.” I share that sentiment about coaches. Take the famous Ashes series in Aus in 2010. It has gone down in history as Flower, Strauss and Cooks finest hour. But it was probably the worst Australian bowling attack in history. Johnson could hardly hit the cut strip, and 2 of the test matches England won Ryan Harris missed because of injury.

      Interestingly the one test match in Perth where Johnson got his act together England lost the match in about 3 days. That test match was exactly like all the other 5 we had in this winters test series.When Johnson fired, England could not deal with it. Didn’t matter who the coach was.

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