ECB England – A Devalued Team

The announcement of Peter Moores as England Head Coach has confirmed Yates’ thinking since Paul Downton was announced as Managing Director of England Cricket.

Instead of harshly examining a system which is obsessed with turning fast bowlers into musclebound mechanical men who break down far too often or looking into why the batting coaches were unable to get through to the England top order how to play Mitchell Johnson, Downton decided that he’s tired of dealing with those bloody irritating colonials who speak their mind and used the Ashes whitewash as the ideal opportunity to saddle Kevin Pietersen with the blame.

Is this a lasting scar from his playing days when Downton played test and county cricket alongside Phil Edmonds, himself an opinionated colonial?  Surely he would have learned from how Mike Brearley and then Mike Gatting handled Philippe-Henri.

Just as Jonah was thrown overboard, Rupert’s logic (if you didn’t know already, Downton’s middle name is Rupert) followed the same path as those scared, beleaguered people on the boat to Tarshish.  So KP gets canned.  The fast bowling system remains screwed and in need of repair.  The batting coaching looks inadequate at best.  Both need addressing.

It’s quite ironic that a stockbroker, a man who knows about financial value should be the one who has wiped masses from the value of the England cricket team.  Its box office value has dropped significantly because of this single decision.  Were the various sponsors of English cricket warned of this?  That their investment into and association with England cricket could be harmed and mocked?

The sponsors would almost certainly make the usual comments about team affairs being matters internal to the ECB but were Yates involved in the John Lewis Partnership at a senior level he would be less than happy at these events.  How can a national team which refuses to select its best players for what is at best the crime of possessing an opinion be taken seriously?  How can the organisation responsible for such decisions be taken seriously?

That the England team in Australia had become too robotic and too inflexible is an indictment on Alastair Cook, Andy Flower and quite frankly the whole team.

When Yates once asked Alastair Cook what he did to get into “the zone”, the answer that came back wasn’t a clear response to the question but included the advice “there’s a big difference between watching the ball and watching the ball”.  I now tell Alastair Cook that there’s a big difference between leading a side and leading a side.  If you couldn’t see what was happening to your team until they got penguin f**ked there’s a whole lot more wrong than just one “rogue element” in your team.  Who just happened to be your team’s top run scorer.

Rupert’s failure to present a concrete reason for KP’s canning is another ECB failure which comes across as simply advocating what Yates has always believed:

The best managers and leaders can deal with anyone, whether a yes type or a massively driven type with a very clear view of where they want to go.

By canning KP and appointing Peter Moores the ECB have shown that they are not interested in getting the best leaders and building the best team comprised from the most talented individuals.  Giles and Rupert want a nice team of yes men who will keep quiet, tug their forelocks and say “yes sir” when told to do something.

There’s a cancer at the top of English cricket.  Its leadership is ineffective and self-serving.  It has no interest in building a truly top performing team comprised of the most talented individuals.  It has interfered in player selection matters just like the PCB or SLC has previously and is no better than they are. It has no interest in repairing broken systems of fast bowling and batting coaching.  Some of those who cover the game are as guilty as Clarke and Downton in their patronising attitude towards those who question motives.

True fans expect and deserve at least a degree of transparency and honesty.  True fans expect and deserve straight answers to straight questions, especially after a penguin f**king like the one handed out in Australia.  True fans are passionate and just as entitled to express opinions as the likes of Agnew, whose recent “true fans” crap on Twitter must surely be more evidence that he is no longer suitable for the role of BBC Cricket Correspondent.

This is ECB England.  A devalued team that Yates no longer prepared to go out of his way to watch or support.  Yates has been railing against bad management for most of his life and is not going to stop just because Seedy Giles or Dopey Downton might not like what he has to say.  Ironic that this announcement was leaked to the press yet the ECB chastise KP for alleged leaks.  No, it’s not ironic it’s downright hypocritical.

35 years of following England has provided some highlights, lots of low lights and moments of tearful joy like the final Ashes 2005 test.  And we know whose innings was pivotal in saving that test for England.  KP.  Rupert has managed to make sure Yates will now watch more IPL than ECB England cricket matches.

Well done Rupert.  Given Yates’ dislike for the BCCI that’s one hell of an achievement.  Be proud Rupert.

Why ECB England? Remember how World Series Cricket national sides were prefixed with WSC after cricket’s spineless governing bodies insisted their matches did not deserve proper recognition?  Until the current ECB management are gone any side taking the field wearing the ECB logo does not deserve to be recognised as a proper England side.

Like I said – a devalued team.

That’s before we come to the apparent lack of communication between Paul Farbrace, likely Number 2 to Moores and his employers, Sri Lanka Cricket.  Suffice to say SLC aren’t too chuffed at what appears to be transpiring.

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