Lords, the home of English cricket, was the scene of another pitiful cricketing performance from an increasingly rudderless English team. Whilst much will be made of Alistair Cook's captaincy, which I have previously criticised, fingers should be pointed at the ECB, who are currently sitting in their ivory towers not commenting on the shambles which is going on before us.
The ECB in their infinite judgement, re-employed a coach who has previously shown that he was not up to the task of coaching international class cricketers. With all due respect to the Lancashire team he coached, there is a huge gulf between coaching and motivating honest county players, and high class international cricketers. What cannot be denied about Peter Moores, is his ability to pluck players from county cricket who adapt to Test Cricket immediately, for example Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann in 2007. However does he have the respect of international players, and do they listen and take on his tactical ideas...recent results would suggest they do not necessarily buy into the Moores philosophy.
In my opinion when Andy Flower decided to walk away from coaching the English team, the ECB should have been more forward thinking in the appointment of new coach, and looked at candidates who had excellent track records in coaching international sides. The likes of Tom Moody, Gary Kirsten and Micky Arthur should have, at the very least, been interviewed for the job.
However the ECB appointed a man, who not only failed at his previous attempt, but could not get on or manage England's most talented batsman of the last 20 years (Kevin Pietersen), thereby instantly making the English team weaker than the one he inherited. Baffling decision making on every level.
It would be highly naive of a supporter of any sporting side, to believe that every single player gets on with everyone. However, the role of a coach/manager is to manage a team of individuals, understanding what each person needs to perform to the best of their ability, ie a kick up the backside, or a massaging of their ego. If this is done to an expert level, think Man Utd in their treble season when Sheringham and Cole did not talk to each other, then these things are put to one side for the benefit of the team as a whole.
In all this sorry mess, David Saker's role should be under scrutiny. Some of the English bowling tactics have been mystifying in the last 12 months to say the least. The barrage of short pitched bowling, by bowlers who average about 85mph, is nonsensical, and at times laughable. We have seen one of English cricket's best young bowling prospect's Steven Finn, completely destroyed by the ineptitude of David Saker. Watching Finn bowl towards the end of his spell in the England side, was dispiriting, here was a bowler who could bowl 90mph, taking wickets by bowling short, or pitching it up. But under Saker, they shortened his run-up, the poor guy lost confidence, and will he ever find his way back, it's doubtful.
Finishing with Alistair Cook, now is the time for him to step down. He re-iterates that he is a strong man, however the sign of a strong man would be to admit that he is not cut out for the job, and step down. However, while the ECB bury their heads in the sand and employ a band of yes-men, I cannot see this happening. Cook was all set to break English batting records at Test level, and we must not forget that he is an excellent batsman, but this captaincy spell is seriously damaging his reputation, which he may never recover.
Who can take over the English captaincy if Cook does relinquish it? Analysts say there is a dearth of good candidates, but until they are given the responsibility, you can't know for sure. For years we were told that Cook would be an excellent captain, but he isn't. For me their is an argument for giving the captaincy to any of the following; Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson.
English cricket is in a sorry state at present, and whilst the decision makers insist that all will be ok in the future, I just cannot see it without the people in charge, senior management, coach and captain being replaced.
Chris Clark © 2014 @