England captain, coach and director – how are the roles defined?

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

Too many cooks? Too many Cooks? Who’s responsible for what in this new England team hierarchy?

We’ve just spent half an hour writing and rewriting a paragraph trying to explain how we think things are going to work. Clearly, we have no idea. We came up with some sort of division where Andrew Strauss was the strategist, the coach the tactician and the captain some sort of on-field mouthpiece, little more than a control mechanism for shuffling the players about.

But then there’s the bowling coach, who’ll be heavily involved in tactics. And surely the coach will have some say in strategy? Everything overlaps, and really, is it that complex a job that three people are required? For many years Dan Vettori seemed to perform all three roles and still found time for a bit of bowling and beard-growing.

As far as we can tell, the main distinction is in attire. The captain will wear whites or one-day pyjamas, the coach will wear a tracksuit and Andrew Strauss will wear smart trousers and a shirt with a tie for bad news and no tie for when things are going well. Hopefully the complex relationship between the three leadership roles won’t mean that he’s going to need to purchase additional neckwear.


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  1. We have a director in Indian cricket, Mr Ravi Shastri. If that example is anything to go by, Director’s role is to scream during domestic T20 competitions.

  2. I simply cannot imagine that Strauss is much of a screamer. One doesn’t like to bring it up but he might well be a fan of a huge bestial roar. A very posh one.

  3. Simple, actually.

    Director, cricket is akin to director of a movie. Captain is the lead player or protagonist. Coach is the fall guy.

    However, to understand the plot of this English Cricket movie, is beyond my imagination !

  4. Whatever the details of the job spec, I think it fair to say he’s got a lot on his plate balancing the intricacies of this role with representing the constituents of Clacton at Westminster.

  5. I never realized it until now but Strauss has an eminently punchable face.

  6. It’s all very simple. The captain is in charge of captaincy. The coach is in charge of coaching. The Director of Cricket is in charge of manipulating the conditions surrounding these two so that their ability to do anything at all is eroded and they become completely subservient puppets.

    1. There are five gentleman’s clubs. Andrew, Alastair, Giles, Colin and James each are members of a club. They each drink a certain type of drink, have a preferred mode of transport and have a certain job at the ECB. Nobody has the same job, the same preferred mode of transport or drinks the same type of drink.


      Giles is a member of Boodle’s.
      Alastair is the captain
      James drinks G&Ts
      The Athaneum is on the left of Brooks’s
      The member of the Athaneum drinks Pimm’s.
      The person who travels by helicopter is the chairman of selectors.
      The member of the Carlton club travels by Rolls-Royce.
      The member of the central club drinks Bollinger.
      Colin is a member of the first club.
      The person who travels by train goes to the club next to the President’s.
      The Chairman is a member of the club next to the one of the person who travels by Rolls-Royce.
      The person who travels by private jet drinks Moët & Chandon.
      Andrew goes everywhere by limousine.
      Colin is a member of the club next to the MCC.
      The person who travels by train is a member of the club next to the one of the person who who drinks Cognac.

  7. Thanks daneel, I spent 8 hours trying to solve that but there is no solution.

    I may have the wrong people in the wrong slots, as far as I now the ECB have these in place:_

    President – Giles Clarke
    Chairman – Colin Graves
    Chief Exec – Tom Harrison
    Coach – Paul Farbrace
    Assistant coach – no-one
    Batting coach – Mark Ramprakash
    Fasr bowling coach – Otis Gibson (soon to be removed says Downton)
    Spin bowling coach – not needed
    Fielding coach – not needed
    CEO? Andrew Struass
    Captain – Alistair Cook
    Vice Captain – Joe Root (dubious family really)
    Chairman of recreational assembly? – John Pickup (dubious name)
    Chairman of cricket – Peter Wright
    ECB financial director – Brian Harvill
    Nominal female – Rachael Heyhoe-Flint
    Nominal woman – Jan Stichbury
    DevonCCC – Jim Wood
    Director of Surrey, Chairman of DEBRETTS and famous folk singer – Richard Thompson
    Middx CCC – Ian Lovett
    Somerset CCC for some reason – Andy Nash
    Chairman of Selectors – James Whittaker

    The ECB also have 434 other people answering telephones, making coffee and all that stuff

  8. Sorry about a couple of typos, especially sorry to Streauss.

    I went to the ECB web site to see if i could apply for Coach but it said they had no vacancies for any positions.

    1. You have to apply on the secret site, the one that only people from the right sort of family know about.

  9. I think also that we should applaud the artistry of Sarah’s photograph. We’ve long known how she’s been able to take cricket photos that make you feel embedded in the game, but she is also clearly a portraitist of high standing, comparable some might say with Holbein, Velázquez and Tony Hart.

    Strauss stands in the centre of a group of partially seen others. They are all wearing suits as well. Their anonymity dehumanises then – they are literally faceless suits. For all we know they could be dummies from Burtons window. Strauss is clearly comfortable in this group, they are his kind of people. A left hand can be seen on the shoulder of the suit to Strauss’s right – is this intended to represent the desperate, clawing fingers of the ordinary cricket fan trying to be seen over the impenetrable wall of shoulder pads? Or does it indicate that the wall of suits continues beyond the three people explicitly seen – an infinite wall, interlocked for strength, unbreachable, eternal, unchanging.

    Strauss himself is wearing a tie. It is neat but not perfect, suggesting that tie-wearing is an everyday aspect of his life. His suit has pinstripes, notable for being exactly the sort of stripes that aren’t really proper stripes at all. They conform to the literal rules of stripe-existence, but not the spirit of stripe-existence, as might be exemplified by inch-thick yellow stripes. This is clearly a man who is happiest in the wastelands of drab uniformity, where even drab uniformity has to be watered down to avoid it being a statement. Strauss’s head is shown as being exactly the same width as his neck. This head is no centre of intellect or artistry, it is just an extension of his neck muscles. Strauss smiles, but the smile has no warmth. It is a “step into my lair” smile, a “you can trust me” smile from someone who has had to have the word “trust” explained to him but still doesn’t quite get it.

    In summary, Strauss is a tosser.

  10. It’s actually a hand on a stick which Strauss is holding and playing an old school prank. That’s why he is smiling like a gargoyle.

    Although in his defence hand on a stick is a classic.

  11. Strauss save our gracious Cook,
    Long live our noble Cook,
    Strauss save the Cook.
    Doesn’t hit many fours,
    Gets out to sad applause,
    Still, he’s not Peter Moores –
    Strauss save the Cook!

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