England's captain-coach controversy January 12, 2009

Key backs Ford for England role

Cricinfo staff


Robert Key believes Graham Ford is an ideal person to take over the England coaching job © Getty Images
 
The momentum behind Graham Ford, the Kent director of cricket, as a successor to Peter Moores as England coach is growing after Kent's captain Robert Key said there would be "no way he could turn it down" if the offer came his way.

The ECB are not going to rush into appointing a replacement for Moores, who was sacked last week at the height of the drama that resulted in him and Kevin Pietersen losing their jobs, and have instead installed an interim coaching structure - headed by Andy Flower - for the tour of West Indies. The board will officially advertise the head role later this week and Ford is expected to be one of the names applying.

Key said that Ford, who turned down the India job in 2007, would be able to bring the best out of the England team which hasn't gelled as a unit in recent times.

"At Kent he has been fantastic," Key told Sky Sports News. "I've never really heard anyone say a bad word about the bloke. It's not just that he's liked by everyone but he's highly respected for what he does for people.

"When he got the job here I was on tour in South Africa and Shaun Pollock spoke very highly of him and thought we were lucky to get a coach of his quality," he added. "To work with a bunch of talented cricketers like the England team have at the minute, Graham Ford would be the perfect man for that. He has a way of getting the best out of everyone.

"I think in the back of his mind he's looking forward to the challenge of possibly trying to do it and get involved with England. He's had India after him and they offered the job but he turned it down for family reasons. If England did offer him the job, there's no way he could turn it down."

"It's good for Kent cricket that our director of cricket is in the frame like this," Paul Millman, Kent's chief executive, told Sky Sports. "Graham is quiet, assertive and efficient, and if an opportunity arose to work with England we would be supportive."

Key, himself, was also touted in some quarters as a possible solution to England's captaincy issues with Shane Warne saying he would have made an ideal choice. But Key, who hasn't played Tests since 2005, isn't taking such ideas too seriously and said that Andrew Strauss was the right way to go.

"I'll settle for that," Key said of Warne's suggestion. "The one thing they [the ECB] are not going to do is make big decisions at the minute. They are going to see how Andrew Strauss does but for me, his record as captain has been fantastic.

"Personally, what an honour it would be to even be asked to do that job. But realistically it's going to be tough for someone to get the job when you're not in the team."

Key will captain the England Lions on their tour of New Zealand next month so is clearly still in the selectors' thoughts and is just focussing on earning another chance at the top level.

"No matter how good a captain you are, you've got to have the respect of your players," he said. "It's going to be tough, as much as I have a few friends in that side, as I've got to prove to people I can play international cricket."