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Diligent Moores deserves second chance

Peter Moores made mistakes during his first spell as England coach but the benefit of experience could lead to success this time around

George Dobell

April 19, 2014

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A
'The best coach of his generation'

It was probably fitting that Peter Moores' second coming as England's head coach should come at Easter. While it would be stretching a point to suggest his career has risen from the dead, to have been appointed to this position by the ECB only five years after having been sacked from it represents a remarkable renaissance. Usually these things only happen in Pakistan.

Moores deserves his second chance. It would have been easy for him to sulk after his sacking at the end of 2008. It would have been easy for him to take the money on offer for interviews and book deals and spill the beans on the events that led to his downfall. How tempted he must have been to unleash his frustration at his treatment and his portrayal as an out-of-his-depth control freak.

Instead he went back to work. Diligently, professionally and with more than a touch of class, he maintained a dignified silence and concentrated simply on the job in hand. Leading Lancashire to the elusive County Championship title in 2011 with a relatively modest team was a tremendous achievement. He is now reaping the rewards, not just for his success as a coach, but for his loyalty and his silence.


Paul Downton and Peter Moores will oversee England's fortunes, Lord's, April 19, 2014
Paul Downton and Peter Moores will oversee England's new era © Getty Images
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Those qualities are, rightly or wrongly, highly valued at the ECB. As the example of Kevin Pietersen illustrates, genius is fine, but the ECB prefers predictability. Those that rock the boat will not be tolerated. Whether that means they will ever reach their potential is debatable; most of the great teams found a way to accommodate troubled geniuses. The example of Shane Warne springs to mind.

Moores made mistakes the first time he had this job. Perhaps in a desire to stamp his authority on the team, he pushed too hard, too soon and, managing the side through a transitional phase, ran into resistance from senior players who saw their position threatened. He may well encounter similar problems the second time around. He has not been dealt the strongest of hands and patience will be required if he is to be successful. The 2015 schedule, in particular, looks desperately tough.

He deserved credit for the groundwork that went into contributing to England's success between 2009 and 2012. It was Moores who appointed Andy Flower as his deputy, Moores who brought back Graeme Swann, Moores who brought back Matt Prior and Moores who trusted James Anderson and Stuart Broad to take the new ball. When England attained the No. 1 Test ranking, Flower was, to his credit, keen to share the plaudits with his old friend.

That Flower influence is crucial. Flower remains, naturally enough, a persuasive figure at the ECB. While his relationship with Ashley Giles may well have become strained, the relationship with Moores remained excellent. So while Giles may well have felt some unease about Flower's presence in the background, for Moores it presented no obstacle. Whether any coach can really make the role their own while Flower lingers in the shadows remains to be seen. Moores certainly does not inherit a blank canvas.

He will have learned from some of his mistakes the first time around. While once he hid behind management speak and clich├ęs that sounded as if they were found on the sort of motivational posters that bear pictures of dolphins breaking through waves, he now says he wants to present a more humane, honest face of the England set-up. And where once he felt the need to prove himself to a team full of big characters, he should now feel at ease among fewer extroverts and with his reputation restored. If he behaves as he has with Lancashire, he has nothing to fear. The baggage and pain of the past can be useful experience.

Perhaps his first challenge will be to help his side rediscover the joy of playing cricket and representing their country. While Jonathan Trott is the obvious example of a man who has seen the pressures outweigh the joys, there are others in the Ashes squad who are not so far from Trott's situation. Moores' first priority is to help the side play fearless cricket and avoid repetition of the debut experiences of Boyd Rankin and Simon Kerrigan; talented players who froze on the big occasion. The evidence of Moores' time at both Sussex and Lancashire suggests he is well equipped to do this.

 
 
Moores will work hard, he will be honest and decent and he will benefit from the experience of success and failure that a long career in coaching has given him
 

Ashley Giles can take some comfort in Moores' renaissance. Giles has faced setbacks before - poor media coverage, family illness and a career-ending injury to name but three challenges - and has both the strength and the time to come back from this. He is a decade younger than Moores and will surely not want for work, both in coaching or in the media. Whether he wants to remain in the insecure world of coaching - or in the fickle employment of the ECB - is unclear, though. He is currently weighing up whether to remain an England selector. The ball is in his court.

He has been unfortunate, though. Only a few months ago, he saw his England side come within an ace of winning the first global ODI event in their history and he has never, even then or since, had his first-choice team available to him. Nor has he really had the opportunity to approach the job the way he would have wanted, with Flower retaining overall control for most of his stint as limited-overs coach and his World T20 plans thrown into chaos by the Pietersen situation. The loss against Netherlands, however, made giving him the head coach's job desperately difficult for the ECB in PR terms.

Paul Farbrace's appointment as Moores' deputy remains a work in progress. While Sri Lanka followers may baulk at Farbrace's early departure - he only took up the post in January - the fact is that the pay for the role is simply not competitive. Nor is it especially reliable. Head teachers in London earn more than head coaches of Sri Lanka.

But this will be Moores' England. He inherits a team at a low ebb and with the vultures already sensing vulnerability. But he will work hard, he will be honest and decent and he will benefit from the experience of success and failure that a long career in coaching has given him. There is much to admire in such characteristics. Given patience, Moores can make a success of this second chance.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 23, 2014, 22:40 GMT)

Cook and Moores? Haha, the slide continues.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (April 21, 2014, 23:18 GMT)

Paul Downton, needs to working on his acting skills ... he is totally incapable of hiding his disdain for Kevin Peiterson !

The whole fiasco is obvious as day now....

Mr. Downton , wanted Moore 5 years ago, and has been on a campaign for 5 years to get him back and conversely get rid of KP ...

Mr.Paul Downton should consider a career in politics .. He has the necessary requirements to succeed

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 21, 2014, 13:22 GMT)

Sadly this appointment feels more with no more enthusiasm that if Giles would have been picked. The fact PM has had some success with Lancs should not qualify him for another bite at this cherry. When he was binned by the ECB in 09 I don't remember anyone being unhappy with the decision. It brought to an end a miserable 2 yr period where we only managed series wins against WI & NZL, the 7th & 8th ranked sides. The only way PM should have been considered for the role again is if he would have coached another int team & had success. The truth is that countless int jobs have come up over the past 5 yrs & to my mind no other association has ever should any remote interest in Moores. PM only real achievement last time was to give an opportunity to a county tweaker pushing 30 by the name of Swann. As for others like Prior & Broad who got their first opportunity under him would have got a chance at a similar time by most coaches. I hope PM proves me wrong but I have grave doubts he will.

Posted by Le_Jeu on (April 21, 2014, 10:21 GMT)

Well, it seems the shadow of Andy Flower will never spare English cricket. Moores having had Flower appointed as asst coach back in 2009 probably means a similarity in coaching styles. Don't hold your breath for any sort of change in England's style of play or in the character of the players. More of "Yes Sir! Truly Sir, you are always right, Sir!" to follow.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (April 21, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

@dunger.bob, I'm thinking what you're thinking. Everything went pear shaped on Flower's watch and yet he is still largely calling the shots? I guess the next 3-4 Ashes results are sorted then, 5-0 to Australia every time until the ECB get their act together.

Posted by southstoke49 on (April 21, 2014, 6:49 GMT)

Should there be a second chance? In my observation of teams, people either seem to take to a role or they do not and I am worried that the previous outing was so calamitous. Other coaches and players around the world have succeeded with far less experience than Moores (16yrs) or Giles (7). I think he is very fortunate there were no better candidates.

Posted by dunger.bob on (April 21, 2014, 3:40 GMT)

@ steve48: Fully agree with you re. @ WBoy's comment. David Gower was and still is my favourite Pom of all time. It's not the number of runs he made, it's the way he made them. He was unorthodox, eccentric even. He was flair personified and I can still remember certain innings of his even after all these years. Where are the modern day Gower's? Surely they must be out there somewhere but will they ever get an opportunity in a 'top heavy' system.

I don't normally like to do this but this time I think it's relevant. Look at our great side of 93-05. Who was the coach? Anyone know. .. Well, it was John Buchanan, an odd an individual as you're likely to find in any cricket setup. Some say he barely knew one end of a cricket bat from the other. He was cerebral to the max and even tried to get Warne to read Sun Tzu !! .. This may be wrong, but I heard the players used to run the show on the field. They made their own plans with their own ideas and did it their way. The coach was irrelevant.

Posted by dunger.bob on (April 21, 2014, 2:51 GMT)

Lots of good posts so far. Some pro PM, some against, but all making good points. As an outsider, I don't quite get why Flower has been given so much influence despite stepping aside from the coaching role. It seems that he has been given the go ahead to coach by proxy as it were. Cook is a Flower man. Moores is a Flower man. The most prominent anti-Flower man (KP) has been removed from the equation... It begs the question who is actually in charge here? .. Is Moores a strong enough individual to bring his own ideas to the table, even if they conflict with former coaches modus operandi? What about Cook. Does he have the agility to make changes to the game plan on the fly or will he be looking to the coach every single time for guidance?

To me, it all gets down to what the ECB actually wants. Rigidity or flair. A rigid system brings consistency but that's hardly good if it's consistently mediocre. Encouraging flair is high risk, but it can bring massive rewards. Or spectacular failure.

Posted by pestonji on (April 20, 2014, 21:42 GMT)

Moore's represents a return to a failed past. England once again is choosing so called specialists for each format rather than a core team. How can they leave out Ian bell their best bat out of the t 20s. This strategy will fail.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 20:13 GMT)

Really unenthusiastic about this appointment - indeed the whole of the selection process. If the five names that we came up with are he best that we can do I see a long struggle ahead. Sadly I have little faith in the captaincy either. Cook is an excellent batsman but he has shown no flair for captaincy and has no real experience of it. The move to central contracts might be a good thing from a batting point of view but it does mean that there is no opportunity to develop captaincy experience

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