England cricket April 4, 2014

England cricket at crossroads

ESPNcricinfo staff

England are in the process of appointing a new head coach, a task complicated further by their woeful campaign in the World T20. Not to mention the compelling saga of Kevin Pietersen's ouster. Ted Corbett, in his column for the Hindu, believes the side is ripe for the picking unless some brave decisions are made.

Throughout the tournament in Bangladesh I kept watching Paul Collingwood who looks as though he wants to offer someone out to fight every minute of the day -- but he can also be affable -- and wondering if he might not be just what is needed. Make Collingwood the coach; make Kevin Pietersen the captain. Instead we will shortly hear just why it was necessary to sack Pietersen. Where will that get us?

In a piece for the Guardian, Jon Hotten remarks that the England team would perhaps do well to find a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson, who moulded a winning team through steadfast control, without losing the loyalty and respect of his players. He writes how Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower managed to exercise some of that control as coaches before their eras ended in a decline.

Ferguson's notion of control was partly psychological. Being aggressive and dictatorial was only a temporary fix. His real authority came from the ongoing success of his methods, which he was clever enough to adapt to changing circumstance. Often - as with the cough in the corridor - his presence was enough.

Similarly, Duncan Fletcher's legend was neatly coined by the title of his book, Behind The Shades. He understood the value of silence, of being enigmatic. Many England players tell of the strange sensation that would overcome them when they felt his presence behind the net in which they were batting.