0England in need of Moore summer class

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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