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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

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, 23:40 GMT)

Cook and Moores? Haha, the slide continues.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (April 22, 2014, 0:18 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, 14:22 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, 11:21 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, 9:18 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, 7:49 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, 4:40 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, 3:51 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, 22:42 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, 21:13 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

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 20:22 GMT)

This is an interesting choice and dependent on what Moores has learned over the last 4 years and how much his original experience of England will formulate his approach. It is good to see the ECB go English and best wishes.

Posted by 200ondebut on (April 20, 2014, 19:46 GMT)

Moores is not the right man for our side - we deserve the best but we have someone who is average. His results last time say it all - only beating NZ and WI. Whilst he may have had success with Lancashire - he then got them relegated the next year. We also need to place this in context - Lancs didnt have players away on Eng duty. It is a sad day when a side which has recently been No 1 in test, odi and T20 rankings - a side with a strong financial backing - cannot attract the best coaches in the world to apply for the job. I put this down to the politics in the ECB. If they just accepted the IPL and made space for it things would be so much better. The fact is they have just appointed a person they sacked before - their choices were clearly limited.

Posted by DesPlatt on (April 20, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

Can my earlier response to Nutcutlet please on" Moores England return confirmed " be considered for publication on the this thread please? I spent a lot of time putting that together and if you take the first words of responding to Nutcutlet out, it is relevant on there. None of Moores many fans have been able to answer my post on the Lancashire Forum as it deals in facts.

Posted by steve48 on (April 20, 2014, 17:43 GMT)

Wboy makes an excellent point. I have long thought that we have gone from one extreme to another. Finding out you are playing for England 4 days before a test was obviously not applicable any more, and central contracts went a long way to recent success through cohesion, security and coaching. However, like anything, the system has taken on a life of its own, and the past few years has seen the national side turn into a club, with all the over familiarity and personality clashes that brings. Natural friendship turns into cliques, and an army of coaches spend too much time with players no longer playing enough competitive cricket. I have no doubt that this has been a factor in KP going from individual to intolerable and also the rash of players overcome by nerves; I would add Compton and Carberry, maybe Bairstow ,to Kerrigan and Rankin as players too uncomfortable to play their natural game.

Posted by WBoy on (April 20, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

Warren Smith: " I do think though that Australia are brilliant at managing mavericks. They have always been able to accommodate them, while they simply don't exist in England and are the antithesis of the English way."

Really? Boycott? Botham? Jack Russell? Gower even? There was never a problem with mavericks in the pre-ECB days when there was no coherent management. The team was always a loose collection of individuals who had little to do with each other or the national administrators except when they were playing tests. It was only after the revolution in management that this became much more difficult.

Posted by nlpdave on (April 20, 2014, 16:29 GMT)

The message always sent out by the English Cricketing authorities has always been more to do with doffing one's cap rather than exploiting extreme talent that might be difficult to handle. Perhaps one reason why we haven't had a half decent fast bowler since Willis/Botham and not a great one since Trueman. Sacking the best player and re-appointing an already failed coach is, sadly, quite the norm. Coaching is all about getting the best from players so empathy, rapport and respect are essential, all qualities Moores seems short of.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 20, 2014, 13:59 GMT)

@Paul Rone-Clarke on (April 20, 2014, 10:16 GMT) re 2 poor test series in 4 years - I guess it depends on where you put the benchmark down as to how you define poor.

The draw in SL wasn't great and neither were the home series vs SA and away series in NZ which we were lucky not to lose. The 3-0 home win vs Aus was probably a flattering scoreline too

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

The next 3 series will show if England are competitive. Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. However, it's the two after that and the Word Cup that will see if they are contenders. England have had 2 poor test series in 4 years. The second Ashes and the away series against Pakistan. Their weaknesses are not a mystery. A solid opening partner for Cooke, a flexible number 4, an in form keeper and a decent spinner. Most of the young batsmen coming through seem cut from different cloth, all capable of hard hitting and every shot in the book - this I probably because they grew up with T20 cricket and have played I since their formative years. Hales, Buttler, Robson, Taylor and possibly Vince are the front runners with Root already in the side. Bowling is the problem Anderson will likely last another 2 years or so. Finn might recover, Broad is not reliably fit to play and I see little past that. Stokes, Mills? So much leg-side junk and wide long hops. Spinners? I see none worth a place

Posted by amitgarg78 on (April 20, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

Moores may still turn out to be a good choice but will it really be him calling the shots?Just can't shake the feeling away that it's still going to be AF running the show behind the scenes and it's just the establishment closing ranks to keep KP out. If they are serious about building a team, then it needs to show. Can't start by picking the skipper. Pick the team first and then pick the right guy to lead them. Pick the players based on their ability to deliver and not by the ability to get along with each other. I don't think this is how ECB are going to go about it though. Actions will speak louder than words..

Posted by george204 on (April 20, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

I'm happy to see Peter Moores back in charge. Let's not forget that the Strauss/Flower era was built upon the foundations he laid. Moores made some very good calls on player selection when last in charge: Sidebottom, Swann, Prior, giving Anderson the new ball etc. He was also quite correct to insist on high levels of player fitness. Peter Moores is a much better choice than Ashley Giles.

Posted by Coastaltown on (April 20, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

@Warren Smith. Not sure I agree that England hasn't had a fair share of mavericks. Gower? Botham?Jack Russell? Even players of a more recent vintage, I struggle to square the concept of all England players being robots with the reality of, say, Graeme Swann.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

@LeeHallam on (April 19, 2014, 18:36 GMT). Its an interesting thought that Warne may have to some extent controlled his behaviour. Or he may just have been more charismatic than Pietersen - certainly more charismatic than Pietersen thought himself - which allowed him to get away with more than he otherwise would have.. Of course Warne was an Aussie playing for Australia (which makes things far less complicated), while Pietersen could only ever be a South African mercenary that England had to rely on. I do think though that Australia are brilliant at managing mavericks. They have always been able to accommodate them, while they simply don't exist in England and are the antithesis of the English way.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

I still cannot see how Peter Moores would have changed all that much in the intervening few years since his sacking. Essentially he's the same man with the same ideas and alongside Alastair Cook it is a partnership that is far too dogged, far too negative and too reactive rather than proactive. England are in for some poor results in the next few series.

Posted by phermon on (April 20, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

Doesn't answer the question - does he have the skills, personality and sense of humour? The article seems to be full of special pleading - AND after all this - we still have to have patience?

Posted by kensohatter on (April 20, 2014, 1:39 GMT)

Hang on... Didnt I just hear Downton say he wants a fresh start focussing on youngsters in a post KP era... Doesnt bring back a previous coach fly in the face of that ethos? Have no issue with the Moores selection just get the message right. The message being that KP was sacked because nobody in the ENglish set up has the skill to manage him. Imagine if Australia werent able to manage Warne? or if the West Indies couldnt control Lara. Cricket would have been deprived on two modern greats. Luckily Australia had S.Waugh, Taylor + senior players and a coaching staff to control and harness the weapon that he was. Same goes for WI they had a group of senior players that pulled the ego of lara into line and focussed him. Sad to say Cook, Anderson, Bell and co just dont have that respect within the team to harness KP so the cricketing public will have to go without seeing his talents on display.

Posted by cloudmess on (April 19, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

A typically fair-minded article by its author. But as much as there is plenty to admire about Moores, I just don't see how he'll be different second time around. His coaching style will always veer on the 2-dimensional, and lack that bit of vision and unorthodoxy which you need to be get ahead at international level (and it's notable that no other national side has shown interest in him over the past 5 years). There must also remain doubt over the ECB's motives for appointing him - a sense that the KP sacking grew to a vendetta-type determination not to engage any coach who'd want KP in their team. The KP issue is a separate matter, of course, but it is certainly wrong that it was allowed to seriously restrict England's future coaching options. It would be a great shame if it turned out English cricket has been condemned to a mediocre few years just for the sake of satisfying honour among a few ECB men.

Posted by DALILBH on (April 19, 2014, 22:00 GMT)

i think Diligent Moores deserves second chance

Posted by   on (April 19, 2014, 20:49 GMT)

George, your articles are always excellent and a refreshingly rational change from all of the Piers Morgan-esque angry bluster that follows English cricket these days. I certainly wasn't Moores' biggest fan during his first coaching spell, but I'd love him to prove me wrong by winning a few Tests - I'd like to think he learnt from his mistakes before, and most of the players left from his reign were the ones who got on well with him anyway. Best of luck to him, and keep up the good work yourself.

Posted by M.Usman-Sharif on (April 19, 2014, 19:53 GMT)

It is a sad news for me. It means KP cant come back now

Posted by LeeHallam on (April 19, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

George makes a comparison between Kevin and Shane Warne, not for the first time, to suggest that KP could have been managed better by England. KP has left most teams he has been a part of under a cloud, where he hasn't left he has cost captains or coaches their jobs. Warne may have been a big character who argued with captains and coaches, but which teams did he leave under a cloud?, which captains and coaches did he force out? He knew the limits (mostly) of what is acceptable in a team. That is the difference, it is not that Hampshire, Victoria and Australia had wonderful management systems, and that Natal, Nottingham, Hampshire and England were run by incompetents, the difference is in the two men.

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (April 19, 2014, 18:17 GMT)

The example of Shane Warne springs to mind...... and er...................

Posted by   on (April 19, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

"Head teachers in London earn more than head coaches of Sri Lanka." Yes they are! But do not forget without Sri Lanka, Paul Farbrace simply does not exist. First Sri Lanka appointed him as their assistant coach in 2007 & later as their head coach in this year. Without them he would be still coaching a second level county team. And ECB would not be even care.

Posted by   on (April 19, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

What price Giles to takeover as head coach at Lancs?

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