A faceless meeting room within ECB Towers. Peter Moores and Alastair Cook are strategising. An ECB laptop-usage manager sits in with them
Cook: What we need to do, uhhm, is work out exactly what's needed to win the Ashes.
Moores: The World Cup, Cooky. It's the World Cup next.
Cook: It's what?
Moores: It's the World Cup next.
Cook: In Australia?
Cook: And that's not the Ashes?
Cook: So when are we playing the Ashes?
Moores: In the summer. Six months later.
Cook: Oh, thank God. I thought we didn't have one this year for a minute. Okay, so the, uhhm, World Cup then. What do we need to do? We're just not, uhhm, competitive right now.
Moores: Yeah, we really need to be competitive at least.
Cook: That's it! Make a note. "Be competitive."
Moores nods at the ECB laptop usage manager who clicks "be competitive" within the ECB's in-house performance-improvement software program.
Cook: What else?
Moores: Well I've run the numbers and it seems that most of the other nations are scoring much more than us. I think we need to score more runs.
Cook: Okay, so, uhhm, how do we score more runs? What are we doing wrong?
Moores: Well, recently we've not been batting out our overs. If we can survive 50 overs, that'll give us a much better chance of putting a competitive total on the board.
Cook: Don't get out - I can do that. At least I used to be able to do that, uhhm, back when, my skillset was being better executed.
Moores: But if you can upskill your skillset, getting out won't be a problem.
Moores nods at the ECB laptop-usage manager, who clicks "upskill skillset" before selecting "Cook, Alastair".
Cook: Okay, great. We're making real progress here. If we can be competitive and I can upskill my skillset, uhhm, we can certainly be competitive as a unit.
Moores: We've got a definite progress pathway here.
Cook: Okay, team selection. Uhhm, are we picking the right players?
Moores: That's a very good point. A very, very good point. We should pick the right players.
Moores nods to the ECB laptop-usage manager, who clicks "pick the right players".
Cook: Okay, so we've got the right team, uhhm, we're competitive, uhhm, and I've upskilled my skillset so that we're making bigger totals. We also need to defend totals.
Moores: Death bowling.
Cook: I'm not sure that's within the laws of the game.
Moores: Bowling at the death.
Cook: Oh, I see, uhhm. You mean at the end of the innings, uhhm. That bit when all the foreign batsmen lose their technique?
Moores: Yes. I think we need to upskill our skillsets when bowling at the death as well.
Moores nods at the ECB laptop-usage manager, who clicks "upskill skillset" before selecting "bowling unit".
Cook: Okay, is that enough? Will we, uhhm, win the Ashes -
Moores: The World Cup.
Cook: The World Cup, uhhm, if we do these things?
Moores: I don't know. The other teams are allowed to play well.
Cook: That's true, uhhm. The opposition is allowed to play well.
Moores: And if they do, they might still beat us.
Moores: But if we improve, we'll definitely be competitive.
Cook: How much do we need to improve?
Moores: Looking at recent results, we need to improve quite a bit.
Moores: But it's okay. We've got a while. We don't need to progress in leaps and bounds.
Moores nods to the ECB laptop usage manager, who highlights "progress in leaps and bounds" and then clicks "delete".
Moores: We just need to improve steadily, but constantly. If we can improve at the rate we need to improve, we've got a chance.
Cook: I'd never thought of it like that, uhhm. It's pretty simple when you think about it.
Moores nods to the ECB laptop-usage manager who clicks "improve" but then accidentally selects "almost imperceptibly" from the drop-down list instead of "at the rate we need to improve".
Cook and Moores nod at each other to acknowledge that proceedings have been concluded, before spending 26 minutes methodically smoothing out their tracksuits.
Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket