Apr 212014
 

Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison says Peter Moores will not duck making tough decisions about big-name players.

Moores was appointed as England's new head coach on Saturday, and it will be his second spell in the role - his first ended in the sack five years ago.

Harmison was a key member of his team but Moores dropped the Durham man and fellow opening bowler Matthew Hoggard during the tour of New Zealand in 2008.

Harmison, writing in the Newcastle Chronicle, says he was impressed with the way Moores went about dropping him.

"In 2008 Peter Moores nearly ended my England career, but I'm delighted he's been given another crack as coach," he wrote.

"You might think that's an odd thing to say after he dropped Matthew Hoggard and I in New Zealand in 2008.

"It was a tough decision to take, but he went up in my estimation with the way he handled it.

"There are tough choices to make. Peter will not duck them. Hoggard and I were England's long-standing opening bowlers when we toured New Zealand in 2008. But we weren't performing, so Moores dropped us.

'Open and honest'

"He was open and honest with me, looking me in the eye and telling me why. James Anderson and Stuart Broad were doing better, so they got the nod.

"Of course I was disappointed, but I didn't have any animosity towards him because of the way he handled it. I went back to Durham determined to prove myself, and helped us win the County Championship that year.

"Moores probably wanted to push me to one side and move on, but he was big enough to bring me back into the Test team.

"He even talked me out of one-day international retirement when Ryan Sidebottom was injured. Moores is also the man who made Kevin Pietersen - a divisive figure born in South Africa - his captain.

"It backfired when Pietersen turned on him, causing both to lose their jobs, but he was not frightened to make such a big call. He doesn't skirt big decisions or manoeuvre you out in a sly way."

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Apr 202014
 
Lancashire struggle in Moores' farewell

Warwickshire 63 for 0 trail Lancashire 247 (Horton 83, Agathangelou 48, Woakes 5-63, Barker 3-52) by 184 runs
Scorecard

Chris Woakes picked up a couple of early wickets, Yorkshire v Warwickshire, County Championship, Division One, Headingley, 1st day, August 2, 2013

Chris Woakes ensured Warwickshire ended the first day of Peter Moores’ last match at Lancashire in control © Getty Images
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“The coach is leaving!” These words, voiced in either expectation or panic, will be spoken in many pubs and clubs during the Easter weekend. This morning, though, they carried a very different meaning for Lancashire supporters, one far removed from excursions to Morecambe or the Bank Holiday trip to watch Bury at York.

However, while the news that Peter Moores had been reappointed as England coach may have disappointed the warmly-clad diehards as they made their way to Old Trafford for the first match of the season, it can scarcely have come as too much of a surprise; the 51-year-old had been strongly tipped to regain one of the top jobs. For their part, Lancashire officials were at pains to stress that they will not be rushed as they ponder their options in the wake of Moores’s departure at the end of this game against Warwickshire.

“It’s all pretty new,” said director of cricket Mike Watkinson. “We’re only 24 hours into this, so we need to take time and look at our best way forward. The feeling among the lads is outstanding and we need to ensure that we don’t upset their equilibrium as we move through the season.

“We got this confirmed only 24 hours ago, so it’s not a case of we’re definitely going to do this or that. Glen Chapple’s doing an excellent job as captain and we need to make sure that he’s fully supported in every way and the players are fully resourced to help them achieve their aims and objectives. That won’t change because Peter’s moving on.

“We had Peter contracted until the end of 2015, so if you’re following a natural succession plan we didn’t expect that to change on Easter Saturday 2014 when we had a game starting on the Sunday. It’s just a bit early at the moment and Peter will be part of the conversation we’re having during this game to make sure that there is continuity in the structures he’s put in place. We have a good staff and plenty of experience here as it stands and it’s not as if we have to panic.”

Well perhaps not, but Moores and Watkinson cannot have been too happy with the profligate manner in which Lancashire batsmen surrendered a good position on the first day of his game. Having won the toss on what looks a good wicket, the home side were decently placed on 168 for 3 in the 56th over when Luke Procter, who had played with fluency and confidence, flicked Oliver Hannon-Dalby to Ateeq Javid at square leg and departed for 37.

That dismissal, which occurred just after an out of shape ball had been changed, began a collapse either side of tea which saw seven wickets fall for 79 runs in 19.1 overs. Lancashire were eventually bowled out over an hour before the close for 247, three runs short of a second batting bonus point and perhaps 75 shy of a par score on this wicket.

By the close, visiting openers Varun Chopra and William Porterfield had added 63 runs in fairly untroubled fashion and firmly given the lie to any suspicion that this pitch conceals hidden demons. This was indisputably Warwickshire’s day.

But the dominance of Ian Bell’s side cannot be explained merely by reference to Lancashire’s shortcomings. In cold, blustery conditions which were hardly ideal for either bowlers or fielders, Chris Woakes stuck to his task to finish with 5 for 63 from 16 overs, and Keith Barker offered fine support in taking 3 for 52.

True, the shot selection of some of the Lancashire batsmen helped the seamers: Andrea Agathangelou, for example, made 48 off 62 balls before perishing when playing an expansive drive on the stroke of lunch. But others were got out in admirable fashion: Ashwell Prince was caught behind for a second ball duck when Woakes compelled a shot at the beginning of the afternoon session. The best innings was played by Paul Horton, whose 253-minute 83 was a monument to his patience and craftsmanship; but far too few Lancashire batsmen were truly got out by for the comfort of home supporters.

All of which may prompt Lancashire supporters to urge their officials to appoint a new coach as soon as reasonably possible after Moores relinquishes his duties at the end of this game. There is, of course, no shortage of qualified candidates on the current staff at Old Trafford.

Academy director John Stanworth and second team coach Gary Yates are just two of them, and already many Red Rose supporters are pressing the claims of the current skipper Chapple. Watkinson acknowledged Chapple’s expertise as a Level 4 coach, but having quickly ruled himself out of contention – “I’m only wearing a tracksuit because it’s cold,” he quipped – the he counselled caution and careful thought before any decision is made.

“Glen is a very experienced captain and he’s developing his coaching role, too,” he said. “It’s his dressing room but he is also our go-to cricketer and he would find it tough to spend hours in the nets as well. His leadership role will not be diluted and it may well be strengthened, certainly in the short term. He’ll play a major part in selecting the team as he has now, and he has a hunger to play but he also has a great passion for the next chapter of his life.

“We appointed someone Paul Downton described yesterday as the best coach of his generation and he’s done a great job for us in the last five years. We need to make sure we don’t lose momentum. What that looks like in the months and years ahead we’ve yet to determine. We need to make sure that everything remains on an even keel during the run of matches we have coming up.

“If we wanted to do a thorough, robust recruitment process now, it would take months. Getting through to the end of the season and maintaining our aims and objectives as they are now is our priority. I spoke to the players this morning and I told them that we will do everything we can to make sure they have the resources they need. There will be a coach with the team at Northampton next week.”

Apr 192014
 
Moores outlines positive philosophy

Peter Moores is targeting a brand of cricket English people will be proud of having been given a second crack at the top job.

Moores was England’s head coach between 2007 and 2009 before taking the reins at Lancashire for a successful five-year stint.

Having helped the Red Rose to their first LV= County Championship title for 77 years during that period, he has now been handed an opportunity to steer a national team in transition.

While Moores insisted key parts of his philosophy would be moulded alongside Cook, he did extol the virtues of creating an environment that allows players to express themselves.

He said: “You try to make sure that you help players in a world where it is quite difficult to be yourself; you learn to help people in a better way.

“They can still be real people, have their own view and be part of a strong team. I will hopefully bring that to the set-up.

“There is a lot of pressure and to go out and express yourself is a challenge but as a coach your role is to help them do that. They have been picked for a reason, because they are excellent players.

“The key is to produce a brand of cricket people are enjoying, where we are moving the game forward all of the time.”

Moores is confident, too, that England are getting a better coach than the one handed the reins almost exactly seven years ago.

“I don’t think anybody has the right to the job; you have to earn it,” he said. “I have obviously had five years at Lancashire since England, which I have loved.

“That’s been a great chance for me to reflect and develop. You ask players to develop; I think coaches have to as well.

“I am looking forward to bringing that experience back and working with Alastair in the coming months.

“I loved my time with England the first time and I am looking forward to getting another chance.”

Moores’ appointment was also given the seal of approval by Cook.

“It’s a very exciting time,” he enthused. “I have been in limbo over the last few months with Andy Flower having stepped down.

“To finally get to today, where we have got a new coach and can start planning, (is good). It’s going to be small steps and we have to rebuild.

“But we have got a huge amount of talent in the country and it’s a really exciting time to be an English player.

“Test and one-day places are up for grabs and we have got a new leadership group. To be part of that is exciting.”

For Managing Director – England Cricket Paul Downton, today was the culmination of a long search process for the right formula.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with Peter and Alastair,” he said. “This is the future of English cricket, which I think starts now and I am really looking forward to some exciting times.”

Apr 192014
 
Moores handed England top job

Peter Moores has been unveiled as the new England head coach by Paul Downton, the Managing Director England Cricket, at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Moores, 51, returns for his second stint as England coach – having held the post between April 2007 and January 2009 after succeeding Duncan Fletcher. He has been head coach at Lancashire since February 2009.

Paul Downton said: “Peter has a great reputation around the world as an outstanding coach and he will return to the role as England head coach with a great deal more experience and understanding of the challenges that the role presents.

“There is no doubt that he is the leading English coach of his generation and I believe that this is his time.

“His domestic credentials are beyond reproach having won the County Championship at Sussex and then repeating the feat at Lancashire, whose 2011 triumph was their first for 77 years.

“He was also the lead at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough between 2005 and his appointment as England coach in 2007.

“In his time with England he gave Test debuts to Stuart Broad, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann as well as helping to further the international careers of players like the current England captain Alastair Cook and James Anderson.

“He also brought Andy Flower into the England set-up as well as influential individuals like Mushtaq Ahmed as spin bowling coach.

Peter Moores has been appointed as England's new head coach, retaking a role he held between 2007 and 2009

“I was hugely impressed by his vision for the future of the England team and I am looking forward to working with him in the years to come.

“I would personally like to thank Ashley Giles for the job he did with the limited-overs squads in the last 18 months.

“It was a really difficult decision to make as we had an outstanding field but the panel were unanimous in the choice of Peter and I know that support will be echoed around the counties.”

Moores said: “I am very excited about the prospect of returning to a role I have done before and to building a strong relationship with Alastair Cook and the rest of the players and staff. In any time of change there comes opportunity and this is one I can’t wait to get stuck into.”

Downton was joined on the interview panel by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Head of Elite Coach Development Gordon Lord and ECB Chief Executive David Collier, who said: “Paul Downton conducted a thorough and far-reaching recruitment process.

“He has canvassed opinion worldwide resulting in the recommendation of Peter Moores. The Board unanimously endorsed the recommendation and have every confidence in the choice of Peter. We wish Peter every success in the future.

“I would like to thank all the other candidates who made up what was an extremely impressive shortlist and in particular I would like to acknowledge the work of Ashley Giles, who has made a major contribution to cricket in England and Wales.”

Apr 192014
 
Peter Moores appointed: Andy Flower behind bold move back to the future

Flower was in temporary charge of the team after Peter Moores had been sacked. He was still to decide whether he wanted the job permanently, the team were in turmoil, and Flower made perfectly plain his high regard for the man who was no longer there.

“Peter’s a wonderful coach,” he said when we bumped into each other outside the hotel lobby. “He will definitely come back to international coaching one day.”

Whether Flower had it mind that Moores would reclaim the England job is doubtful, but the pertinence of his opinion has become starkly clear with Moores’ appointment.

Flower resigned as team director in January to become director of elite coaching when he decided that the experiment of splitting the job between Test and limited-overs coaches was not viable, and that he could no longer do justice to the combined role. There is no doubt that Flower will have promoted Moores’ cause in the corridors of ECB power these past few weeks.

This is a bold, deceptively imaginative and slightly dangerous move, in effect going back to the future. Moores has impeccable credentials as a county coach, having taken both Sussex, before his first stint with England, and Lancashire, after it, to the County Championship title.

But it was not only Pietersen who doubted his style during his tenure from 2007-09. Other senior players found it difficult to relate to him. Moores’ insistence yesterday that he had evolved as a coach in the past five years will soon be seriously scrutinised. He will be expected to lead the team to victory in Test series at home this summer to Sri Lanka and India, then to mount a genuine challenge for the World Cup next year.

If not, the whole appointment will unravel all too rapidly, before the home Ashes series in 2015. But this is a test not only of Moores as a coach at the highest level but also of Alastair Cook as captain. The pair, coach and captain, flanked an impressive Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, at the Lord’s press conference yesterday.

It was perhaps Moores’ day, but the overwhelming impression during and after the announcement is that it is now Cook’s team.

Apr 192014
 
'I learned from my mistakes,' says Peter Moores after returning to England head coach role

If the managing director, England cricket, is right it will be second time lucky as Moores returns to a role he first occupied in 2007. Then he lasted less than two years before his relationship with England’s senior players declined to such an extent then-captain Kevin Pietersen forced a him-or-me showdown that led to both men losing their jobs.

While Pietersen continued to play for England Moores rebuilt his reputation at Lancashire. Now, just as Pietersen is cast into the wildnerness, Moores is re-appointed.

He is the first man in England’s big three traditional sports to hold the top coaching job twice and given the way his first stint ended it might seem surprising the honour has come his way again. But in 2007 Moores was the coming man, youngish in age (44), perhaps brimming with too many new ideas, and certainly too keen to impose them. Now the blond locks are silver and he is older (51), wiser, and perhaps better able to distinguish between what works, and what is merely fashionable.

There is still a tendency to lapse into jargon with much talk yesterday of ‘connecting people’, but Moores seems more aware that players are individuals and should be treated accordingly.

 

The role of the coach, he said, was to ‘try to help players in a world in which is difficult for a player to be himself and still have his own uniqueness. They can still be real people, have their own view and be part of a very strong team. [Understanding] that is something I have got better at over time.

“Since being England coach I have had five years at Lancashire which I have loved. It has been a great chance to reflect and develop. You ask players to develop, I’ve done that as well.

“I loved my time first time with England. I would do some things differently but I still loved it. You do learn from mistakes, but I am proud of some of the things that happened last time. I had no doubts [about returning]. It’s great to be back. I feel very excited, very proud. I think I have a lot to offer.”

Pietersen’s recall not going to happen, says Downton

Moores still comes across as a coach who likes to work with young, impressionable players (he spoke enthusiastically of Lancashire having “an emerging group”) but it will help that, this time, the senior players – Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad, James Anderson and especially his protégé Matt Prior, who can expect a recall, are ones he brought through in his first spell with England.

Downton said England had “interviewed pretty well every leading coach in the world and got down to five outstanding candidates” of whom Moores ‘stood out’.

Ashley Giles, who had been favourite when Andy Flower quit to become technical director of elite cricket after the Ashes debacle, was, said Downton, ‘extremely disappointed’. Giles’ candidacy was damaged by the winter defeats suffered by the one-day and T20 sides under his command though Downton insisted the embarrassing World Cup loss to the Netherlands ‘did not cost him the job’. It was, said Downton – who saw Giles personally to tell him – simply ‘too early’ for someone who has only been coaching seven years.

While Giles departs Paul Farbrace is expected to join as assistant coach. As negotiations continue with a Sri Lankan board unlikely to be thrilled at losing their World Cup-winning coach Downton would not discuss him, but it was intimated that the assistant would, in time, be expected to take charge of occasional tours to relieve Moores’ workload.

A Moores-Farbrace partnership would be an all-English leadership team, the first since David Lloyd departed in 1999. Downton said nationality “was quite important, but not the deciding factor.” He added: “We are very keen on creating an identity, an English side the fans are proud of and are connected to.”

Moores said much the same. Recent England sides, even when winning, have been admired rather than loved with a sense of insularity about them. “I would like to be involved in a team that is connected to the public, is connected to the media, is open and commits totally,” he said. He also wanted them to play in a more attractive style and with a sense of pride.

“I don’t see it as my responsibility to lift them [after the Ashes]. It is their responsibility to be lifted. To play for England is very special, if it ever becomes a normal day we’ve picked the wrong person.”

This sounds like Stuart Lancaster’s approach with the England rugby team. If Moores revives English cricket as successfully as Lancaster, so far, has done the 15-man game it may indeed be a timely appointment.

Apr 192014
 
If there was any doubt over a Kevin Pietersen comeback, Paul Downton makes it unequivocally clear that Peter Moores' appointment ends batsman's career

“The sooner we understand Kevin has had his time the better,” said the managing director, England cricket. “I don’t see any intention of going back.” While Downton said there were no ‘specific issues, no smoking gun’, he stated had never seen a cricketer as ‘disengaged’ from his team as Pietersen was in the Sydney Test, the last in England’s 5-0 Ashes defeat and the last Test of Pietersen’s 104 as an England player.

England are keen to ‘move on’ from Pietersen but he was always going to dominate a Lord’s press conference whose prime purpose was to unveil Peter Moores as the team’s new head coach. That is because Moores is not a ‘new’ appointment, rather a re-heated one, having been in the post between 2007-2009 only to be sacked at the behest of Pietersen, an intervention that cost the latter the captaincy.

Moores was at pains to stress yesterday he held no grudge against Pietersen citing “one of my strengths is that I move on quickly” and insisting “I never fell out with Kevin, Kevin fell out with me, there is a notable difference.” However, his return to England made sure there would not be a difficult stand-off for Downton with a coach who wanted England’s highest ever accumulator of runs back in the side.

 

Not that this would have been negotiable as far as Downton was concerned. He explained: “I arrived in Sydney on 31 December and it was clear from meeting [then-coach] Andy Flower there were two major issues [Flower’s future] and ‘what are we going to do about Kevin?’

“We had a senior player who had got disconnected with the team. I watched every ball of that Test and I have never seen anybody so disengaged from what was going on. What you need from a senior player is backing, support and everybody working together. We got to a stage where that was no longer the case,

Peter Moores was criticised for failing to handle top players when he last led the England teamPeter Moores was criticised for failing to handle top players when he last led the England team “I spent two to three weeks speaking to several senior players, all the coaches on that trip, James Whitaker (chairman of selectors) and Cookie [captain Alastair Cook]. We came to a unanimous conclusion if England are going to rebuild we had to make a decision not for three months, but for five years. For the side to grow we had to invest in new players, build a new team with some core values. We decided that wouldn’t happen with Kevin in the side, so we decided not to select him going forward

“I don’t see any intention of going back.”

“The sooner we understand Kevin has had his time the better, that we are moving on without Kevin. We talked through it over a number of hours with Kevin and his advisers; he is the one who, in the end, wanted to terminate his contract and we agreed with that. He is free to play wherever he wants around the world, the sooner we can focus on young players coming through, what the England team will do, the more everyone will enjoy it.”

Intriguingly Downton then went on to intimate he believes the current leadership set-up of Cook and Moores is not strong enough to manage a personalty as big, and ‘difficult’, as Pietersen. He said: “There is no smoking gun, no specific issues. This is ten years of Kevin scoring very well for England but getting to a point where the balance shifted. When we had a strong side with strong leadership, with an established captain and coaches, it could accommodate Kevin. That balance has shifted now with a new side, new players and coaches. That side cannot accommodate Kevin.”

Pietersen tweeted, when Moores’ appointment was revealed, ‘Everyone deserves a second chance’. When this was mentioned Moores said ‘a good tweet’ and he, Downton and Cook all laughed. Pietersen, however, has already had his second chance, having first been axed after the text-gate affair. A third looks to be out of the question.

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