England news May 2, 2014

Farbrace has no cause for guilt - Moores

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Peter Moores has dismissed suggestions that his new assistant, Paul Farbrace, should feel morally bound to sit out the Sri Lanka tour this summer because England poached him from their opponents so soon after he took charge.

Farbrace had been in charge of Sri Lanka for barely three months, a period in which they won the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, before England persuaded him to abandon a job he had only just begun and join Moores in a new-look England coaching structure.

Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lanka captain, conceded that the circumstances were "not nice" when he joined Durham this week for a brief stint ahead of the Sri Lanka tour but stopped short of criticising Farbrace, who he maintained was "a top guy and a wonderful coach".

Moores also waved aside suggestions that England should make a moral gesture, pointing out that Farbrace was English and that there was a patriotic lure in his new role.

"I don't think he should miss the Sri Lanka tour," Moores said. "Paul has made his decision and he has come in. One of the key things was for him to be in at the start of something new.

"Of course I understand why some people are uncomfortable, but the key message - and I am sure Paul won't mind me saying - is that he loved his time in Sri Lanka. He has been there twice and he went back because he loved the people, he loved the way they played their cricket and some of those senior players he has a great relationship with.

"I can understand why people aren't happy with him because he went there and was very successful. But there was a draw to come and do something in his home country and for anybody who is a patriotic bloke, as Paul is, it becomes something he wants to do. I think over time the players will understand that - they are playing for their country after all.

"We go back a long way with so I know his philosophies about coaching and they are similar to mine which I think is really important. That is about trying to create a situation where people feel free to go and play - and that is quite challenging in an international environment but I think he fits. I think the players will enjoy having him. He is an all-round coach, he covers a lot of bases, and has got great knowledge of one day cricket in particular."

Sangakkara was also reluctant to be too critical. "Paul is a big loss for us," he said. "He could understand how Sri Lanka works and his impact was really important for us in those three months. The circumstances surrounding how he left were unfortunate, it was probably not nice, but England will gain hugely from Paul.

"He's a top guy and a wonderful coach. He's very good with people and sometimes that's more important than having all the knowledge in the world."

Moores dismissed fears that Ben Stokes could miss the entire summer after his contretemps with a locker during a one-day match in Barbados in March. Stokes fractured his right hand when he lashed out after being dismissed for a golden duck. He issued an emotional apology to the team in the dressing room as he realised that he would miss World Twenty20

"I don't think he will miss the entire season. They are very confident about how he's progressing. The impression I have is that they are not saying his recovery isn't going to plan. It is going in stages as everything does so we have to just go with it.

"He's still got a bit of work to do yet - he isn't on the coaches' radar yet. I don't know with him. It was a complicated injury so it takes a bit more time. If he is not ready to play in the first Test then he isn't."

Moores has inherited other injury concerns. Stuart Broad is likely to miss the limited-overs section of Sri Lanka's tour and play Championship cricket in an attempt to be fit for the first Test at Lord's in June after seeking a rest cure for tendonitis in his knee.

"Obviously Broady is having a break to recharge and get his niggles sorted with a view to him playing a couple of rounds of county cricket but he is struggling for the one day series," he said. "With all these things we will have to monitor how it progresses, but at the moment, we are looking at the Tests for Broad. As with all key players you are desperate to pick them if you can but you have to be realistic we need to make sure he is fully fit."

Sussex are also hopeful that Matt Prior will return as a batsman against Lancashire at Old Trafford on Sunday as he seeks to rid himself of persistent Achilles trouble, but Moores was unable to commit himself to when Prior might return.

"We are upping his volume to see when he can get some cricket in, but realistically with Matt it is about preparing to compete for the Test matches so we have a bit more time. I wouldn't put a timescale on his return. We want to see him play cricket, Test matches don't start for a while and he has to show he can get through a game without it flaring up."

Steve Finn's form is also heartening, but does not yet warrant a return in one-day cricket. Here is another player being targeted at the Tests. Moores plans chats with Angus Fraser, Middlesex's director of cricket. and judging by Fraser's comments on ESPNcricinfo's County Show he will receive a positive but cautious assessment: progress is being made, but there remains work to be done.

"There is a general perception we should give him long enough in county cricket to really get to where he wants to be before he goes and plays for England again," Moores said. "I would accept that if that is the general view - that doesn't mean I wouldn't want him in my team but I think the key here is that you have to take some advice on where a player is at.

"We don't have to cross the bridge of the first Test yet and what I do like is him taking wickets in county cricket. Having not watched him yet live but have watched the video clips, he looks like he's bowling the sort of balls you want to see a fast bowler bowling. That is exciting for us because he was missed in the winter."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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