In defence of Peter Moores

A lot of people – seemingly a majority – are saying that Peter Moores ‘has to go’. There is probably some truth in this because the pressure and scrutiny he will be subjected to should he be allowed to remain would most likely be crushing for the team. However, we also feel that England’s World Cup performance is to a great extent not his fault.

When Moores became coach, he inherited a captain who had been not so much named as anointed. The post-Ashes shitfight had seen the ECB nail their colours to the mast, set up a protective barrier around it and then launch a fleet of fighter jets to patrol the area.

Alastair Cook was England’s one-day captain and if Peter Moores didn’t agree, there was, quite frankly, nothing he could do about it. A coach should be confident and single-minded, but an England coach also has to survive. Undermining the ECB would not have been the way to achieve this.

Even if he didn’t at first, Moores will surely have grown desperate to drop Cook from the one-day side as he desperately tried to lay paving slabs around that one dead tree stump. Had it been uprooted sooner, maybe he would have had a chance to prepare the ground better, but he never got that chance and valuable stones were broken in the meantime.

Moores had to build a 10-man team to compete against 11 and the more he tried to work around Cook’s shortcomings, the more damage was done to those moved around to accommodate him. It wasn’t just the matches Alex Hales didn’t play or the omissions Ian Bell shouldn’t have had to endure; it was also the defeats.

England lost and when you lose, you react. Confidence ebbs and you make changes. England made so many changes that by the time they got rid of the one thing that was definitely wrong – Cook – half of what surrounded it had become wrong as well and there was no time to put things right.

So maybe Peter Moores does have to go. But he also has our sympathy. This was his lot and he did what he could with it. As pathetically as things turned out, and as ridiculous as this sounds, given the same set of circumstances we can’t imagine anyone else would have done much better.

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29 Appeals

  1. Moores’ other problem was a feeling like he was already a lame duck coach almost as soon as he was appointed. His previous tenure and the manner of its conclusion (aided and abetted by far more players than just Pietersen, around whose neck was hung the blame for the whole ugly business).

    In many ways this is a pity. Moores brought several players into the England camp that helped form the core of the team throughout its brightest days in recent years. Trott and Broad spring to mind (even if Trott didn’t make the test team until Flower was in charge). He also brought Jimmy Anderson, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann back to the side.

    By contrast, the only definite long term addition to the squad under Flower seems to have been Joe Root.

    Flower took a squad of very good players and brought excellence out of them, even if only for a while, and for that I (and probably many other fans) feel grateful for his efforts on so many levels. But how he managed to ruin so many incoming players must surely be a black mark against his name.

  2. Which is exactly why he should be sacked. If you can’t have the team you want, if you can’t build a successful, consistent team and make changes when appropriate to suit the team and opposition, then you should quit. Anything else is just holding on to the job for personal glorification.

    • You’re probably right.

      You get the feeling he lacks the force of will to get what he wants from either the ECB or the players. The problem is that the list of people who have that force of will and the people the ECB would never wish to hire in the first place are probably represented by a single circle on a venn diagram.

    • Surely sacking Moores is a convenient way to mask shortcomings of those who appointed Moores and Cook in the first place?

    • King Cricket

      March 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Fair point, colpetty, but there’s also a certain degree of compromise in any position like this. No-one ever really gets total control.

      Then again, we’d say that Peter Moores’ position is too qualified – certainly compared to his predecessor. When you begin with ‘this is your captain’ and ‘you cannot pick that player’ it’s a tough gig.

    • Has it ever looked like he had a shred of control.

  3. If you take a long view, the history of the selection of English cricket teams has been for a brief period of solidity and high achievement to be followed by an era of crazed experimentation.

    After Illingworth won the Ashes in 1970-71, there was a long period where the team seemed to change from match to match without any sense of coherent planning. When Dexter and Illingworth were in charge, selection seemed to be totally random – in the spirit of how many players can you select in any given season. I remember PBH May selecting a young fast bowler for a tour because he liked the look of his action and thought he would be durable (Kevin Emery…yes who?).

    Under Fletcher and early Flowers there was continuity – you knew who would be in the team most of the time and there were very few changes once they settled on a bowling line-up and the batters were fit. Towards the end of 2013, the spirit of randomness came back. It had to reassert itself because that is the normal way for England to select cricket teams. Out of nowhere, Woakes and Kerrigan were selected for the final Ashes test, for reasons that have never been made clear. Someone decided that Tremlett, Finn and Rankin needed a lengthy, all-expenses paid holiday in Australia – a decision that baffled most outsiders at the time.

    Moores is simply carrying this tradition of crazed experimentation to new levels. Just because Taylor was doing well at number 3, he should bat at 6 in the World Cup to allow Ballance to get in the team, although he had not been part of the 6 months pre-planning process. We are back to the days of Dexter. Woakes as a swing bowler is a better bet to take wickets in the opening overs than Broad, therefore Broad gets the new ball. Just because Hales is an opener, you put Moeen Ali in his place and bat Hales down the order, if his card is pulled out of the pack in the selection exercise. Perhaps one day, Moores will decide that Anderson will be more effective if his boots are filled with concrete. All I know is that just when you think the English selectors can not pull out any more surprises, they will prove you wrong.

    • It’s because there is a belief that there is always a better player out there. Like the guy who can’t commit to a relationship because there will always be a better looking, more adventurous girl out there.

      The problem is that there isn’t this mythical player. If you drop Bell and replace him with some other batsman the odds are that you won’t magically get someone who can average 50 and smash our centuries like the ghosts of Bradman, Sir Viv and Kohli rolled in to one. You’ll just get a player who wasn’t first selected ahead of Bell for the very good reason that he wasn’t better than him.

  4. When did James Whitaker become chairman of selectors? Could we blame it all on him instead?

    • People keep saying we shouldn’t scapegoat someone or other, which is fine. I’ll leave the escapegoating to David Warner’s brother.

      However, there is one name on the list that deserves to be thrown under the bus but who has rendered himself unsackable- Giles Clarke.

      If I could describe him as Jabba the Hutt poured into a three-piece suit and dumped in front of a television camera I would. Unfortunately, it would be wrong. He lacks even the corpulent, inter-galactic crimelord’s level of charm and personal appeal.

    • King Cricket

      March 10, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Whitaker took over from Geoff Miller on 16 October, 2013 and saw immediate results…

      A watershed moment?

  5. I blame the Russians.

    It is far too apt to be coincidental that the so-called “Rubel” led directly to England’s demise.

    Fiendish.

  6. KC just like Moores, Morgan also was set-up for failure

    The absence of Bopara and his own form meant that he needed safety cushion of Taylor below him, if ideally he had had at least 2 yrs time then Balance/Hales/Stokes could have been developed into 1-drop position.

    Now ended up jeopardizing careers of both Balance and Taylor

    Still I think Taylor is strong enough to get over this, FEC2019?

  7. 2019 team could look like

    Hales
    Taylor
    Stokes
    Root
    Moeen
    Butler
    Morgan
    Jordan
    Woakes
    proper spinner
    Genuine pace bowler

    • Doesn’t make a difference anyway. I guarantee that at least eight of those will have been broken by the management before then.

      Also I still believe in Ballance.

    • It’s fine. A mate and I have perfected the ideal English bowler.

      Using a template based on Dale Steyn from some Internet start-up called Skynet and using the same technology they used to rebuild Mitchell Johnson, a robotics expert friend of mine and I think we’ve cracked it. We programmed it using those innings from Willis and Harmison (you know the ones I mean) and that ball from the latter as the cherry on the icing.

      Our only problem is that we fit a howitzer on the bowling arm. The ICC rules don’t specifically ban it, but it may come to bite us on the arse when our baggy green counterparts complete the WarneMcGrathCorp Anglo-Fucker1271.

    • A perfect English bowler? Absolutely not. The perfect English bowler is someone who can swing it a mile in English conditions, and do absolutely nothing anywhere else. Also, can bat a bit, but not enough to change the outcome of a match.

  8. Sam Billings' Mum

    March 10, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    It’s ok, Sam Billings will win the next world cup single handedly. Who needs bowlers?

  9. Moores will be alright. I’m sure it’s all KP’s fault really.

  10. I recently whitelisted this site from Adblock, and I’m so glad I did. The Mills and Boon-like manga I keep getting linked to (sample title: “The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress”) have made me smile on numerous occasions through their awful one-liners.

    Also: Muslim dating sites. Less entertaining, but it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.

    • I have ads for Washington Nationals tickets. I never thought I could feel insulted by an algorithm, but here we are.

      For reference, the Washington Nationals are like the American equivalent of whatever rugby team you hate because they play an hour away from where you’re from and people from that hour-away place are inferior to people from the place you’re from in every imaginable way and you wish nothing but failure on the team from this hour-away place.

    • I don’t get the Muslim dating sites any more. I did some research into pregnancy tests on this machine a few months ago (for course material on false positives and false negatives – the operational researchers and statos will know what I’m on about).

      Now I get ads for knitwear and geeky software. Oh – and my own book on Amazon of course – always and forever.

      I rather like the look of the Monsoon knitwear girls, although I don’t suppose I’d appeal much to them any more than I would to the Muslim brides.

      And I doubt very much whether any of them (Monsoon knitwear girls or Muslim brides) would be as knowledgeable/keen on England cricket as Daisy.

  11. Is there a more unthinking and useless cricketer than Stuart Broad?

    • Someone could make some comparision of Stuart Broad with Tim Southee in reply to this comment and then discuss man-management. I’m not going to do that but i will say that Southee has gone from horribly inconsistent and brainless to being one of NZs best ever new ball bowlers.

  12. I get blamed for everything. Last time I checked none of you fucktards were from good families, so quit bitchin’.

  13. How long before Waitrose ask for their money back?

    http://www.waitrose.com/cricket

  14. On a related but much more important issue…

    …Daisy has just procured a replacement kettle for the flat. I note that the replacement – Russell Hobbs – takes over from Morphy Richards.

    This got me wondering why appliance manufacturers are always named after great batsmen, not great bowlers.

    Why can’t I buy a kettle made by Well Warne, Field Marshall, Murray Leatherine or Donald Steyn?

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