Peter Moores was announced yesterday evening as the man chosen to replace Andy Flower as the next coach of the England cricket team.
There had been plenty of speculation that Ashley Giles – the man who led England’s feeble attempt at regaining the World Twenty20 crown – was about to succeed Flower.
However, in a largely unsurprising call following Moores’ public statement of interest in the position, the ECB has elected to give Moores a second stint as coach.
His first stint ran from 2007-09 during which he had coached England to a record of just six losses in 22 Tests.
Despite that good form, England’s record during his reign in one-day internationals was less impressive as they won just 14 of the 33 matches completed.
Moores’ tenure ended after a bust-up with Kevin Pietersen and the 51-year old’s appointment would now suggest that an already improbable return to the England set-up for the Surrey batsman is becoming less likely.
The fact that Moores had previously been England coach has led some to criticise the move in the Press and on social media, but arguments of a lack of progression – or rather, regression – shown by the appointment are wide of the mark.
Moores is widely heralded in English cricket as a world-class coach, with some in cricketing spheres naming him as the best coach in England.
He leaves his post as Lancashire coach where he won the 2011 County Championship and where he has quietly gone about his work until this opportunity came about.
As opportunities go, this was one that both the ECB and Moores did not miss.
The ECB have had a fabulous track-record in appointing recent head coaches and so it is just as well that they have avoided choosing Ashley Giles.
Giles had neatly positioned himself as ODI and T20 coach, without much justification, and his critics’ worst fears came to fruition in March when he oversaw a disastrous World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh, the low point of which was a pitiful loss to the Netherlands.
The former England left-arm spinner may well coach England again in the future but he will urgently need to sharpen his skills and assess what he should do differently if that day ever comes about.
Other candidates had included Stephen Fleming, Gary Kirsten and Tom Moody but, after the latter two ruled themselves out of the running, Fleming was overlooked as the ECB highlighted a shortlist of Moores, Giles and Mike Newell.
So it seems that Moores is not only the right choice for England, but was the outstanding candidate for the role.
At the top of Moores’ list of priorities will be constructing a side which capitalises on the exciting emerging talents of Ben Stokes, Sam Robson and Moeen Ali while also ensuring that England mount a serious challenge in ODI and T20 cricket.
Limited-overs cricket, some feel, could be the defining measurement of Moores’ reign.
England have been noticeably poor since their World Twenty20 victory in 2010, but have been at their worst in late 2013 and early 2014 when heavy defeats to Australia in both the ODI and T20 series were followed by a disappointing loss to the West Indies.
There is also a distinct lack of quality in the bowling department across all formats, with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad the only players worthy of a world-class tag.
With these current deficiencies it appears that Moores has a hefty workload ahead of him as England strive to improve after a succession of dismal displays.
If Moores can turn around England’s fortunes across all three formats and lead them to better performances while strengthening their standing in world cricket then his reign might be considered a success.
Anything else and his critics’ doubts, including those of a certain big-hitting batsman, would have been substantiated – and more importantly England will still be in decline.
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