March 17, 2014

ECB appoints confessional interview coach

Key new role will aim to monetise growth area in England team performance

To think that if the ECB had acted earlier, the world would have been spared the horrors of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here... Now! © Getty Images

The ECB today announced the appointment of a new specialist to help coach and prepare players for an increasingly important facet of international cricket: the soul-baring interview.

Professor Guy Areas, chair of Mental Health, Positivity and Good Areas at Loughborough Polytechnic (Online) will work closely with England's under-pressure coaching and playing staff in a bid to make England's carefully stage-managed yet apparently casual interviews the envy of the cricketing world.

ECB officials have accepted that some aspects of the team's performance, such as batting, bowling and fielding, are probably beyond the skill of the current regime to improve, and are focusing instead on "giving world-class interviews by the year 2019".

The feeling in the ECB is that Team England could be doing more to maximise media revenue and exposure from the seemingly endless array of interpersonal disputes, career crises and personality problems that bedevil the cricket team.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an insider said:

"Frankly, we're sitting on a goldmine here. We've got any number of troubled souls ready to sit down in an unnecessarily modish living room with Wardy and let it all hang out."

And the ECB is already thinking global.

"We feel that this is a big growth area for England. The other two countries that play cricket are, of course, India and Australia, but they're miles behind on this.

"In India, what with the cricketers earning tens of million a year but most of the country still sadly being poor - or under-financed potential stakeholder-consumers, to give them their correct title - there's less appetite for hearing sportsmen complain about their feelings.

"And in Australia, obviously, they still think that depression is something that happens to make it a bit cloudy when you're trying to have a barbie.

"We in Britain have the ideal mixture of comfortable post-industrial living (among Sky viewers, that is) and ghoulish fascination with celebrities' private lives to make the confessional cricket interview a big earner in years to come."

Eyebrows have already been raised among fans and media about the size of the England cricket team's support staff, but an England assistant deputy spokesman defended the hire, saying:

"The appointment of Professor Areas means that there are still up to 75 adults in Britain who are not currently involved in an active role with Team England.

"Obviously we are working on reducing that number over time going forward, obviously."

The ECB is confident that cricketers talking about their personal problems could "be the new T20."

"Books, TV shows, movie deals, maybe something with Simon Cowell if we play our cards right. We've got tons of lads ready to share the burden at a moment's notice.

"The next cab off the rank is a useful middle-order batsman who's as mad as a red balloon.

"Can I still say that? Well, he is, anyway," the spokesman confided.

There is a clear vision for the traumatic-interview future.

"The important thing is for the ECB to get in on the ground floor, and play a full part in this exciting new sports-media growth area. I mean, play a full part in helping our players grow not just as useful cricketers but as useful human beings, with the end goal being very much a Gilo type."

"When you look at what can go wrong when a player is left to do his own confessional interview - like KP with that terrible Youtube effort - you realise just how important this part of the game has become.

"It's no exaggeration to say that if Kevin had been prepared to work with the ECB in-house and do an interview with a Wardy, a Knighty, or a Davina McCally, then that whole unpleasantness could have been averted."

All quotes and "facts" here are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
Further non-revelations in CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries at