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'Coaching is seeing in people what they could be rather than what they are'

Peter Moores aims to oversee Nottinghamshire's return to Division One in his first season as head coach Getty Images

Peter Moores does not seem like the kind of person to dwell on the past. So, as the spring sunshine streams through the windows of the players' dining room at Trent Bridge and he talks excitedly about the challenge that is about to begin in earnest for him as Nottinghamshire's new head coach, it possibly does not occur to him that it is two years almost to the day since a defeat to Bangladesh put the mother of all tin lids on England's abject campaign at the 2015 World Cup.

Two years, what's more, since he sat down in front of a microphone at Adelaide Oval after that game to offer his thoughts on England's 15-run defeat and appeared, in one short and infamously misquoted sentence, to write his own epitaph as England coach.

Our meeting is not constrained by time limits and when the discussion moves away from Nottinghamshire's chances of making an immediate return to Division One of the Championship to the impact on his own well-being of his second sacking from the national team, he willingly offers his thoughts. At least up to a point.

That point arrives when I ask about whether it was ever explained to him, by incoming director of England cricket Andrew Strauss, why he was being dismissed, and he firmly but politely calls a halt. "It didn't really happen like that," he says. "And to be honest, I don't really want to rake all that up again. I've moved on. We're here now, there is a new season to tackle and I'm excited about it."

"Coaches don't have to judge a player, the game does that for you. If people get runs, they are good players; if people take wickets, they are good players"

Yet he has said enough for it to be clear that a sense of frustration and injustice is still eating away, just a little, in the background. Particularly when it comes to "Datagate" and the misquote that spawned a misconception of his character that he found hard to stomach.

"We'll have to look at it later" transmuted to "We'll have to look at the data", and so was born the mythical figure of Moores the stats nerd, obsessed with analysis, a decision-maker by numbers.

"People meet me for the first time even now and say, 'Oh, you're nothing like I thought you were going to be,'" he says. "'I thought you were going to be all clipboards and computers.'

"Coaching is a funny thing because people can't always see you doing it. It is like a hidden art. A lot of the work goes on behind the scenes. But the public perception of me as a coach is just wrong. It is different from what it actually is. The players will tell you that.

"That's why it meant a lot that Joe [Root] should come out and say what he did. It is not because it is an ego thing. It just means that, yes, you did make a difference. It is good for your family to hear that too.

"As a coach you become a bit more resilient because you know you're going to be criticised. But you feel for your kids or for your dad or your mum or whatever [who have to listen to the comments] because sometimes the only version that the public have got is the one that is written."

Yet he is not so resilient that he did not feel his own pain.

"The BBC apologised and said it was an accident. But when it came out, that was the story, that we were trying to run the team by clipboard and whatever, which is frustrating because it goes completely against what you do as a coach and how it works.

"You take it on the chin. I'm pretty good at moving on, although it took a few bottles of red wine this time for me to get my head around it.

"Slowly but surely, though, you get there. I love the game and it doesn't owe me anything, so you move on."

As it happens, it was only six weeks before the opportunity arose to become involved at Trent Bridge, less than a half-hour's drive from home. Moores, originally from Cheshire, has lived in rural Leicestershire since he left Sussex to become director of the ECB National Academy in Loughborough in 2005.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the invitation to join the Nottinghamshire coaching staff saved him from falling into some slough of despond but he admits it helped the healing process.

"People meet me for the first time even now and say, 'Oh, you're nothing like I thought you were going to be. I thought you were going to be all clipboards and computers"

"I was just watching my son Tom, who was in the 2nd XI here," he said. "Mick [Newell] put it to me that a fresh voice in the dressing room would be quite good for them at the time and said to come along and try it.

"I hovered a little bit and I wasn't really going to do it at first but he said, 'Let's give it a couple weeks and see how it goes.'

"In fact, it was a good thing to do, a healthy thing. When this sort of thing happens, part of you wants to hide away but it got me back out there.

"I've got loads of mates in the game and loads of people who I've spent a lot of time with in the game, and to talk cricket again with people who know you becomes pretty therapeutic."

What was at first a semi-formal consultancy role for the second half of the 2015 season turned into a contracted position for the 2016 campaign, at the end of which the head coach role became vacant when Newell, who had done the job since 2002, acknowledged that with relegations (three) outnumbering Championships (two) on his record, it was time for a change.

In a wide-ranging shake-up, Newell became director of cricket - in which capacity he was operating anyway as well as being senior coach - with Notts stalwart Paul Franks promoted from 2nd XI duties to assistant head coach and Ant Botha, the South African-born former Adelaide Cricket Club coach and Derbyshire assistant coach, hired to look after the 2nd XI and Academy teams. James Pipe, meanwhile, has arrived from Derbyshire as first-team physio.

Moores will focus solely on the first team, which will free him to devote his energies to the skills that he employed in helping both Sussex (2003) and Lancashire (2011) win the Championship, a unique achievement in that no other coach has won the title with two different counties, and one that doubtless escaped the knowledge of some of those critics lining up to trash his reputation two years ago.

A big part of those successes was his talent, universally acknowledged within the game, for working one-to-one with individual players to bring out their best, in which the only analysis he draws on is instinctive, the product of years of accumulated knowledge about how to tap into a player's character and help make the most of their ability to play.

"I love that part of coaching," he said. "For me, the role of the coach is to try to see in people what they could be rather than what they are.

"It is all about building relationships with people to help them try to understand the best version of themselves and how they are going to get there. You can't do it for them but you can sometimes help raise their awareness about what they are doing at the moment and whether it works or not for them.

"When people learn to make the right connections [between doing something and achieving their goal], then you don't have to tell them to do it because it makes sense to them.

"Lots of things have given me lots of satisfaction as a coach but helping a player become the best player they can be is especially fulfilling."

"I've got loads of mates in the game, and to talk cricket again with people who know you becomes pretty therapeutic"

The example he quotes is that of Matt Prior, the former England wicketkeeper and his protégé at Sussex.

"I was coaching Matt when he was 12 and you could see even at that time that he could go on to play for Sussex or even England.

"At 12 or 13 a player might dream about those things but once he begins to see the reality of that and then starts doing it and the dream starts to become real, then that's really exciting."

Those with the potential to excite Moores in that way at Trent Bridge include Jake Libby and Billy Root - Joe's brother - among the younger batsmen, and the pacy Ben Kitt, who took 100 2nd XI wickets last year, among the bowlers, inspired by the rapid progress of Jake Ball.

And then there is Tom, his 20-year-old son, like him a wicketkeeper-batsman, who impressed on loan with Lancashire last season and had broken into the Nottinghamshire team by the end of the season. He has since signed his first full professional contract.

"Tom is doing well," he said. "He had an ankle operation three weeks ago and he is coming back from that. He and Ben are both trying to find the consistency to put a bit more pressure on the players in the team. Tom is an aggressive player with an exciting style as a batter and as a keeper."

Moores admits that coaching his own son presents a challenge. They are both learning about their relationship as coach and player as well as father and son.

"The hard thing in some ways is not to be too hard on your own," Moores said. "You want to be fair.

"What was good for Tom was that he went to Lancashire on loan last year and under his own steam got into the T20 side and then the Championship side, which was good experience for him."

Both Tom and his older sister live at home still; 23-year-old Natalie works for a PR and marketing company on the southern outskirts of Nottingham.

"She is loving it and putting up with the cricket," he said. "Tom loves the game, loves talking about the game. We don't have any special rules [about not taking cricket home]. If he wants to have a conversation about cricket, I will talk to him about cricket. If he doesn't want to talk about it, that's fine. I'm led by him.

"He is a good player but I would say to him, like anybody else, that coaches don't have to judge a player, the game does that for you. If people get runs they are good players, if people take wickets they are good players."

"Moores helped both Sussex (2003) and Lancashire (2011) win the Championship, a unique achievement in that no other coach has won the title with two different counties"

If Moores is proud of Tom, you sense there is an almost paternal pride, too, in seeing Joe Root elevated to the England captaincy, given Moores' role in restoring the young Yorkshireman's confidence after the battering he and others took on the 2013-14 Ashes tour.

"It's the right time for him," he said. "He is a natural, very open, has a good cricket brain and always gives everything. He has that right level of humility, I think, and I think the players will have the utmost respect for him."

If there is a pang of regret, of jealousy even, that he is not in the England dressing room to see Root realise his potential, he hides it well.

"I'm excited about the challenge here," he said. "I am always confident I can build something better. How long it takes, you never quite know. We didn't play well enough last year and we need to step up.

"It is not simple but to me the goal is absolutely clear, to get back into the First Division and do it this year and to win a one-day trophy. In my head it is pretty clear. Then you get stuck in and try to do it."