April 24, 2014

What Moores will do

A Lancashire supporter knows exactly how the tenure of the new-old England coach will go

A considerately provided picture of Kevin Pietersen, since this article shockingly has no mention of him © Getty Images

With Peter Moores returning as England coach, many are wondering what to expect from round two. As a Lancashire supporter, I have followed Moores' recent work closely. I have every expectation that he will stick closely to the same template, so here's what's in store.

England will win the County Championship
Some might suggest that England should be aiming higher than to win a first-class competition - they are an international side, after all. Then again, is that actually at all realistic right now? There's little point running before you can walk, and little point launching into a spirited saunter before you've learned how to stand. Moores will bring about a revolution that will finally see England perpendicular to the floor and only then will he set about the difficult task of beating Northamptonshire et al.

England will play in new locations
Lancashire's County Championship-winning season was notable for the fact that they didn't play a single match at their home ground of Old Trafford. Instead, Moores' team made new homes for themselves here, there and everywhere. This kind of innovative thinking could see England playing in France and the Benelux countries, for example. A major advantage of this would be the ability to conceal the locations of all Test matches to prevent any journalists from attending. The resultant lack of pressure will allow the players to perform with the kind of freedom they'd ordinarily reserve for an early season warm-up match against Cambridge University. In fact, given the "walk before you can run" philosophy, Cambridge University may well prove to be England's first opponents.

Will only select non-internationals
The Lancashire team that secured the Championship had one international cap between them. Glen Chapple played one match against Ireland, injured himself while fielding, and didn't bowl. Moores is clearly distrustful of international experience, so expect players to be dropped the minute they establish themselves in the side.

Will somehow secure relegation
The ECB are keen to establish a highly competitive promotion-relegation structure in Test cricket where England can never be relegated. Peter Moores won't like that. He won't like that one bit. His championship-winning encore was to oversee relegation. Relegation's great, because a year later you get to add "earned promotion" to your CV.

Will make full use of a middle-aged allrounder
For as long as anyone cares to remember, Chapple has been about to retire. At the age of 40, he is still Lancashire's best player. He bats, he bowls, he leads the side. It is clear that Peter Moores' sides are built around strawberry blond allrounders who have reached an age where getting out of an armchair isn't something they commit to without a good deal of preparation and a viable Plan B should things not go quite as anticipated. But who could fulfil this role for England? Shaun Pollock's the wrong nationality. Chapple himself has half a chance of taking over as Lancashire coach, which would rule him out. That pretty much leaves Paul Collingwood.

Will build a side that fails to score any runs
Whether winning the championship, subsiding to division two or striving for promotion, Moores' Lancashire sides have retained one defining quality - they simply cannot bat. Despite a whole slew of allrounders in the lower order (or occasionally opening), the county still struggles to cobble together an innings of over 200. It is clearly part of the master plan, and the great news as far as Moores' new job is concerned is that he already has just such a batting line-up poised and ready to go.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

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