Apologies one and all for a lack of recent musings – it’s all due to a new arrival in the household which has meant my waking (and sleeping) hours are completely dominated by bottle feeding sessions and nappy changes – yes a little bambino has arrived. Give her about 18 years and she’ll be playing for England.
Anyway; to business.
Well, to paraphrase William Shakespeare somewhat, that was a winter of discontent for England. After pretty inept performances in the Ashes most would have thought it couldn’t get any worse. It did – the humiliating defeat against the Netherlands (even if it was a ‘dead rubber’) proving the coup de grâce. Before and since that final shambolic outing there have been some high profile casualties — gone are coach Andy Flower, middle order mainstay Jonathan Trott and spin king Graeme Swann. And then of course there is the whole saga around Kevin Pietersen. Gloveman Matt Prior will also be nervously looking over his shoulder as others threaten his place in the side.
So what of the coming summer? With Pietersen gone the argument is that the team is far more harmonious. Only those who were fortunate or unfortunate to have a place in the dressing room over the past year or so quite know what has gone with him. Was a case of little things building up and taking their toll? Such as his highly frustrating ability to get out by playing ridiculous shots when a cool and measured approach was needed to steady a middle-order collapse? Maybe. I’m still not sure he was ever completely forgiven for his role in the fallout following on the texts received by South Africans about the team and captain. Who knows. Whatever – he is now gone and the team must move on – but they have lost their sprinkling of star-dust – their star player. Management is all about managing individuals – someone somewhere should have been able to manage him in a constructive manner.
And what of the appointment of Peter Moores? I can’t say I’m convinced. It seems a bit of a ‘steady’ choice to me – I’m sure he will be able to do a job of sorts but the challenge for Any Flower’s replacement was to get England back at the top of the world rankings – to prove that the Aussie shambles was a mere blip – a series to forget and to move on from. Moores does not inspire me with the confidence to do that. Previous international experience shouldn’t necessarily bar someone from international management but a coach needs to have the knowledge and the foresight to compete at the very highest level. To beat South Africa away and to reclaim the Ashes.
Only time will tell how far he can take England. But there are some decisions to be made – and they need making quickly – who replaces Trott and Pietersen in the middle order? Owain Morgan and Jonny Bairstow have yet to convince at test level. Bopara isn’t good enough. Gary Ballance hasn’t yet had the chance to put down a marker having only played the one test. Does he stick with Michael Carberry at the top of the order? Does Prior keep the gloves? Does Chris Jordan get the chance to convert a promising one-day and T20 international career into test match experience as the third choice seamer?
Whatever happens an exciting summer awaits!
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