Whilst wading the through long grasses of mockery around the #newera, it’s important not to allow the successful parts to pass over our heads un-noticed.
In his short stint as England Coach [part II], Peter Moores has made a concerted effort to stamp his method of coaching on this team.
But notwithstanding factors like the shadow of the bygone era, and in spite of the criticism which has flowed like a mighty stream since his appointment; he has done plenty of things which have worked.
Being consistent in decision making and selection
The most important thing that Moores’ has done right is maintain consistency with decisions and selection; and not buckling under criticism.
When building a team, under the banner of a #newera; critics look for the slightest hint of disharmony. They even look for any tell tale sign that the team isn’t working.
Chopping and changing, inconsistency and U-turns shows that decisions were wrong in the first place, and the management is weak and not in control. Yet, not changing course when something is clearly wrong shows stubbornness.
He hasn’t flinched at all, backing his decisions and gaining a return in quick time, which shows he made the right calls so far on many decisions.
At Lord’s, England were thrashed.
But, only a minor change due to injury [Plunkett] and a second change due to poor performance occurred [Stokes]. In the third Test the faith, repaid. A captain under fire felt backed; scored runs, and captained well. A near complete team performance ensued, as England drew the series with two to play.
The #newera is only going to work if an identity and a style of play is built, and from what has been displayed thus far; this is what Moores is creating. A new brand of cricket, which backs players and gives them a fair chance, on his watch.
It is no surprise to anyone that follows county cricket, that a long time county coach is picking reliable county stars, and has faith in them.
Flower never really coached county cricket. He went on gut, and sometimes that worked.
More often than not however, it was mature and established players that did it for him, with the exception of Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott; who were his selections through and through. The core of the team was not drawn from recent County success though. Moores has literally built this team up, and given it an identity.
This summer has seen the selection of a number five and a number three to bat in the opposite positions, in addition a 29 year old bowler that was on the scrap heap, an Australian opener, a fiery fast man from Barbados, and Steven Finn.
Gary Ballance has been a revelation; translating his county form to the Test arena, striking three centuries and two fifties in 10 innings this summer. Liam Plunkett’s recall, is something I promoted when he was performing very strongly in County Cricket, here. His return to the Test side has been successful, offering pace, and heralding 18 wickets in his four Tests, and a fifty.
Even when Moeen Ali, Sam Robson and Chris Jordan have struggled, he has backed them fully, with no hints of them being dropped or replaced.
Moores has sent a large flare up into the air to signal that England’s selectors is watching you; County Performers.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Fight hard, and you’ll get through, because this #newera recognises you.
Learning from mistakes
After the Lord’s catastrophe, England could have reacted violently, and scrapped the course they were on.
Cook’s head was in the chopping block. The excessive hooking was under scrutiny, and the perpetual short pitched bowling which yielding such little success was under the spotlight too.
Even England’s fielding was a low point, as catches went down and defensive unimaginative captaincy dominated.
But there were no panic stations or flashing lights. As England turned up to the third, and now fourth Test; it’s clear that something has clicked into place.
They are pitching it up. Taking their catches. Cook’s captaincy is not as reactive, with much greater trust invested in Moeen Ali’s spin bowling, to the extent that Moeen took a 6 wicket hall at the Ageas Bowl.
There has been a strong desire to justify decisions made, by ironing out faults and dealing with issues; as opposed to scrapping plans and trying something new; pushing those failures under the carpet
It’s refreshing, and Moores deserves credit for not dragging England back through the 1990s style selection and despair.
It has been; and will be, difficult; but there are plans there, and there is a definite direction that these plans are being plotted.
As an England fan, it’s nice to finally be stable again.