Cricket: ECB in a Terrible Mess

The Hindu

London, Jan 12: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is in a terrible mess. First for its action and now for its reaction. It created the perfect recipe for disaster when there were clear indications that both the captain Pietersen and coach Peter Moores were extremes of each other.

Peter Moores — very academic in his approach being the coach of the academy whereas Pietersen, a typical South African with proactive and practical approach seemed to have agreed to disagree on all the cricketing matters and what is worse they made it evident.

Yet, the ECB turned a blind eye expecting them to sort out the matters.

Captain’s approach

It is the captain’s approach that the coach has to understand and not the other way round but being the coach of the ECB academy, Moores always called the shots as he was a highly qualified coach. Pietersen must have resented the non-practical approach of the coach who was not an international player.

Compare this scenario to the well publicised Ganguly-Chappell fracas. By the time Chappell took over from John Wright, Ganguly was the uncrowned king of Indian cricket as he had set the trend of playing cricket hard.

He must have expected Greg Chappell, another believer in that trend to back him up with some more ideas.

But Chappell clipped his wings and began to fabricate his own strategy. It was inevitable that the scenario would lead to a tremendous clash of personalities. The dressing room atmosphere was anything but conducive to playing international cricket.

Ganguly with the backing of the establishment and coach John Wright had worked on a combination that would be effective for implementing the strategy the way Graeme Smith and coach Mickey Arthur did.

But when the coach disagrees with the captain’s approach, trouble starts brewing and it sets a dangerous precedent.

The Indian coach Gary Kirsten has been in the background like John Wright.

Matured coaches know where to draw a line.

Ultimate boss

The ultimate boss of the team is the captain and it is the responsibility of the coach and his assistants to complement the efforts of the captain and the team.

The problem in the subcontinent is that when the team does badly, the coach gets the sack though in many cases he may not have had anything to do with the failure of the team.

In the 90s the ECB fed up of the captain-coach problem experimented with the Chairman of the selection committee Ray Illingworth doubling up as the coach of the team.

It was a disaster on the tour of South Africa. Captain Mike Atherton reconciled to the fact that Illingworth could not be changed, allowed him to fan his ego.

This helped Atherton to stay focused on his batting and not only did he score consistently but saved one Test match by batting over five hours.


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