Matthew Mott is England's new men's white-ball head coach after seven record-breaking years with Australia women. Rob Key, the ECB's managing director of men's cricket, said Mott's "mentality and philosophy is completely aligned" with England's vision for the white-ball sides - what might that look like?
Pushing boundaries, hitting boundaries
England's white-ball revolution has been defined by aggressive batting and Mott has encouraged positivity throughout his coaching career. In the 50-over World Cup earlier this year, his Australia side made three of the four 300-plus totals, including a tournament-high 356 for 5 in the final against England. Before Mott's appointment, they had never made 200 in a T20I; between March 2018 and October 2019, they did so four times.
"I thrived under him," Mark Wallace, who captained Glamorgan during two of Mott's three seasons as coach, tells ESPNcricinfo. "I was a very standard county keeper who would bat at No. 7 but Motty came over and saw my strength was to play in a certain way: basically, to try and whack anything wide through the off side.
"He told me to keep doing that and that if you get out a few times, that's fine, but don't put your strength aside because you might nick a few to the keeper or slash a few to gully. I ended up having some of my best seasons under Motty. He was brilliant for me as a cricketer."
Mott took a similar approach when working as Ireland's assistant coach at the 2015 World Cup. "We had myself, [Ed] Joyce, [William] Porterfield, [Paul] Stirling, Kev [O'Brien], [Gary] Wilson - experienced players who knew what we were capable of," recalls Niall O'Brien. "But he instilled confidence in that line-up to go out and play shots.
"He challenged us to think big. We knew that playing in Australia, getting 260 wasn't going to be good enough so he challenged us to get 300; we were definitely more aggressive as a batting unit in that tournament."
Against West Indies in Nelson, Ireland chased down 305 with 4.1 overs to spare, with O'Brien scoring 79 not out at nearly double his ODI career strike rate. "It was very evident that the boys were trusting their ability because we'd been backed to take teams down," he adds.
Mott has signed a four-year contract with England and his biggest long-term task will be breaking up the core of players who have spearheaded the white-ball sides' transformation since 2015 - not least captain Eoin Morgan, who turns 36 before the T20 World Cup in Australia this winter.
"The decision-making process was about finding someone who wasn't going to come in and disrupt that environment - they have a very strong leader in Eoin Morgan - but also [someone who can] subtly enhance it along the way," Key said. "And then whenever there is a transition in leadership, they are the right person to take it into the next era and Matthew Mott came out on top of the list for that.
Australia's women were reigning world champions in both 50-over and 20-over cricket when Mott was appointed and Key drew a comparison between their situation in 2015 and England's men now. "What he has been able to do with them, I don't think should be underestimated. He has made the gap greater between the rest of the pack in the women's game and there's a lot to be said for that."
He added that Morgan's "philosophy" had filtered into the English system to such an extent that they were blessed with "a whole production line - of batsmen in particular - that play in that style". Key said: "The coach is the one that has to be smart to work out who to invest in in the future. I think we've got the right person in Matthew."
Working closely with Meg Lanning, Mott has made a point of giving players clear roles in the Australia side and has been willing to change a winning side when conditions or circumstances dictate: against New Zealand in the World Cup, the experienced Jess Jonassen was left out to fit two legspinners and an out-and-out quick into the side.
At Glamorgan, Mott used Simon Jones - the former England seamer - as a middle-overs enforcer in what proved to be his final season; he was not at his destructive best but chipped in with 10 wickets as they reached the YB40 final in 2013, their first one-day final for nine years.
"He wanted to fit his players into a style and give them clarity to play in those roles," Wallace explains. "[Jones] was given a role of bowling in the middle of the innings and trying to take wickets; nowadays, that seems like something that every team does but back then it was slightly different. It gave the batting side something to think about, especially being Simon Jones and with the name behind him and created a little bit more jeopardy in the middle of the innings."
Mott has been particularly analytical in his approach to T20 cricket, with the decision to omit Ellyse Perry for the Ashes T20Is against England informed by her sluggish strike rate. "Now we have this depth in Australian women's cricket, we are able to make some more specific decisions," Mott said.
Perry was not considered to be part of Australia's full-strength top three, and her scoring rate made her a poor fit for the middle order. "It's not necessarily about picking the best batters in those No. 5, 6 and 7 spots… it's the players with the ability to score 15 runs off 10 balls," Mott explained. The parallel with Ben Stokes, whose T20I career has never really taken off, is clear.
Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia's CEO, immediately highlighted the culture that Mott had created around the side when paying him tribute. "[Mott] has played an instrumental role in the success of our incredible women's team," he said, "driving a team-first mentality and creating an environment that's allowed the players to blossom into some of the world's leading cricketers."
Shortly before the 2015 World Cup, Phil Simmons handed an Ireland training session over to Mott. "We didn't do any cricket: he took us on a walk from Coogee down to Bondi," O' Brien recalls. "I remember thinking, 'this is an absolute joke - we've got a World Cup game in five days' time' but it was actually a beautiful walk and we sat down as a squad and had some brunch.
"Everyone sat around and thought, 'you know what, we're lucky to be here. This is a pretty good life.' That took a little bit of the pressure off heading into a major tournament and it shows that he was flexible in how he wanted to do things. Motty was very keen for team morale and camaraderie, sitting around and having a drink at the end of a game."
That attitude was apparent in the early days of his coaching career. In the build-up to the inaugural IPL season, as Kolkata Knight Riders' assistant coach, Mott was concerned about the form of Brendon McCullum - his new Test counterpart - and spent some one-on-one time with him in the nets.
After an hour, "Mott decided to abandon the session and instead took McCullum to the hotel bar for a beer," Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde write in Cricket 2.0. "That seemed to relax him: he scored 40 and 50 in consecutive warm-up matches… suddenly he felt like he belonged at the crease again." Days later, he blitzed 158 not out off 73 balls.
Living up to expectations
The days of England going into major tournaments as no-hopers are long gone and there is a minimum expectation that they should reach at least the semi-finals of every World Cup they enter; despite the absences of several key players through injury, losing to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup semi-finals last year seemed like a major opportunity missed.
Expectations were high throughout Mott's tenure with Australia and he has experienced both sides, with shock defeats in the 2016 World T20 final and 2017 World Cup semi-final preceding victory in the 2018 and 2020 T20 World Cups and the 2022 ODI World Cup.
Mott has admitted feeling "embarrassment" after the semi-final defeat against India in 2017 and used that game as an opportunity for a reset in the team's culture and style of play, encouraging players to embrace their favourites tag. "Expectation is a good thing because it means you're going pretty well as a team," he said.
In 2020, the prospect of selling out the T20 World Cup final at the MCG added another layer of scrutiny. "It was relentless," Mott told The Cricket Monthly. "Everywhere we went, everyone felt a duty to promote the final, even though we weren't comfortable saying we'd be there."
In practice, they made the third-highest total of the tournament (184 for 4) against India - the first of consecutive dominant performances when batting first in World Cup finals. Australia's ability to cope under pressure with Mott at the helm bodes well for England.
Playing second fiddle
Key made clear in a press conference on Wednesday that Mott will have to accept that there are occasions when England's white-ball teams will be a lower priority compared to their Test side.
"We made it very clear how it was going to work: at times, you may not get your best side - especially in the white-ball at the start," Key said. "I'll be very clear to the selectors and the coaches which series have precedence over the others at that point... we'll try to be flexible with it but it will start from the top and head down."
Mott will face that challenge straightaway in his tenure: his first series, visa-permitting, will be England's three ODIs in Amstelveen against the Netherlands which are jammed into the schedule between the second and third Tests against New Zealand, meaning no multi-format players will feature.
That said, Mott himself was quick to recognise the divergence between formats in the modern era. When asked about the prospects of split coaches back in 2010, while working as an assistant coach for Australia at the men's World T20, he was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: "My personal opinion is that it's going to go that way... the games are moving further and further apart."