Peter Moores has been confirmed as England's new head coach five years after he was sacked from the same position. He returns after being identified as the "outstanding coach of his generation" by Paul Downton, the ECB's managing director, during a three-month recruitment process to find Andy Flower's successor.
There was no immediate announcement on whether Paul Farbrace, currently under contract as coach of Sri Lanka, would come in as Moores' assistant, although Downton said the ECB was in "advanced negotiations" over the role. Moores' reappointment means that Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach since the start of 2013 and the early favourite to succeed Flower, is out of a job.
Downton said that the ECB had interviewed five candidates - Moores, Giles, Mick Newell, Mark Robinson and Trevor Bayliss - and that "one person stood out". He described Moores and Alastair Cook, England's Test and ODI captain who was present at the Lord's unveiling, as "the future of English cricket". Moores, who previously coached England between 2007 and 2009, once again begins his tenure in the aftermath of a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia. "I think this is his time," Downton said.
Moores admitted it was "great to be back", expressing pride at being given another opportunity in the job. Since being removed from the England position, after a breakdown in his relationship with the captain at the time, Kevin Pietersen, Moores has rebuilt his reputation with Lancashire, guiding the county to their first Championship in 77 years in 2011.
"I think you've got to earn the right to have the job," Moores said, in response to being asked whether he deserved a second chance. "Since being England coach first time I've had five years at Lancashire, which I've loved - a great club and a great chance for me to reflect and move on and develop. I think I've managed to do that and I'm looking forward to bringing that back, working with Alastair over the coming months.
"I'd like to be involved with a team that's connected to the public, that's connected to the media, it's open, it commits totally and it's a team that everybody's proud of ... You do learn from your mistakes, you evolve. I'm proud of some of the things that happened last time as well."
Moores will take charge in all three formats on the recommendation of Flower, who stepped down after England's disastrous tour of Australia. Pietersen has also been discarded by England since then and there are few certainties about team selection for the summer. England suffered further humiliation at the World T20 in Bangladesh, where they lost to Netherlands, and Moores has a significant restoration job on his hands.
"I am very excited about the prospect of returning to a role I have done before and to building a strong relationship with Alastair Cook and the rest of the players and staff," Moores said. "In any time of change there comes opportunity and this is one I can't wait to get stuck into."
England's heavy workload and the experience of splitting the Test and limited-overs coaching roles between Flower and Giles seems to have persuaded the ECB to appoint a senior assistant who is able to step in and deputise for Moores. Robinson, who worked with Moores during their successful period at Sussex, had been tipped for the position but Farbrace is now the favoured candidate - despite SLC expressing its surprise and disappointment at the possibility of losing the man who has been Sri Lanka's coach for less than three months.
Moores' return, which became more likely after he publicly stated his interest in the job at the start of the month, completes a full-scale restructuring at the ECB, with Downton replacing Hugh Morris and James Whitaker becoming the new National Selector. Downton dismissed the idea that Pietersen's exclusion was in any way related to the appointment, underlining that it had been the "unanimous conclusion" of the England hierarchy after the disintegration of the Test team in Australia.
Cook said it was a relief to "finally get to a day where we've got a new coach and we can start planning for the future". He and Moores will begin to plot the way forward immediately, with less than three weeks until England's first ODI of the summer, before Test series against Sri Lanka and India. Moores also gave a hint that he may attempt to overhaul the pragmatic approach favoured by England under Flower by referring to the team playing "a style of cricket that's really worth watching".
Downton said the opportunity had come too early for Giles, who was brought in as part of a split coaching brief at the end of 2012. Giles, who rarely had a first-choice squad to work with, guided England to the final of the Champions Trophy but experienced defeat in seven limited-overs series before the disappointment of their World T20 campaign.
"In all honesty, I think it has just come slightly too early for Ashley," Downton said. "He's been a coach since 2007 and you compare that to Peter, who has coached for 16 years. What I said to Ashley is that this is by no means the end, he and the other guys that applied for the job are the spine and backbone of English cricket coaches going forward. I'd be surprised if Ashley doesn't come back and maybe in the future he will be England coach."
David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, added: "Paul Downton conducted a thorough and far-reaching recruitment process. He has canvassed opinion worldwide resulting in the recommendation of Peter Moores. The board unanimously endorsed the recommendation and have every confidence in the choice of Peter. We wish him every success in the future. I would like to thank all the other candidates who made up what was an extremely impressive shortlist and in particular I would like to acknowledge the work of Ashley Giles, who has made a major contribution to cricket in England and Wales."
The manner in which Moores' stint ended is what it is largely remembered for the rupture with Pietersen but he laid the foundations for several years of success under Flower and has continued to enhance his standing in the county game. Having led Sussex to the Championship title in 2003, Moores won his second pennant with Lancashire and although relegation followed a season later they were promoted straight back in 2013. Before discharging his duties with Lancashire, he will oversee their Division One fixture against Warwickshire, which begins at Old Trafford on Sunday.