Subsequent to the 13/14 Ashes capitulation, English cricket embraced the slogan of a ‘New Era’.
Under its watchful hand, the ECB have witnessed a plethora of changes, resulting over time in the flowing outs:
Flower*, Ashley Giles, Graham Gooch, Mushtaq Ahmed, David Saker, Peter Moores, Paul Downton, Giles Clarke*, Kevin Pietersen, Carberry, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin, Simon Kerrigan, Monty Panesar, Tim Brendan, Jonathan Trott, Jade Dernbach and any sense of English self worth.
*Changed roles but still hanging around in some capacity.
Unfortunately, this new era forgot to discard its losing mentality.
A World Cup exit at the hands of Bangladesh and a drawn Test series against the 8th ranked West Indies have this week seen the departure of two time coach Peter Moores.
The way the ECB handled this latest piece of inspiring news was consistent with everything else they have managed recently. Just horrible.
It was cricket’s worst kept secret. The ECB and those close to it deny there was a leak. But the message got out. By definition, that is a leak.
Logic dictates that Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss or someone close to him therefore spilt the beans before he was appointed.
Not a great start for the man who only last year called Kevin Pietersen a ‘c£nt’ live on TV.
When added to the Trott messaging when he was ill the first time, numerous Giles Clarke and Paul Downton condescending moments, KP’s sacking and his book fall out, the World Cup result, the backing of Cook, etc, etc you can see that the ECB need some leadership.
Talk about town is that Jason Gillespie is the front runner for the vacant coaching role. While he is making an impression in County cricket, it may well be a mistake appointing him.
This is not to say that Gillespie would be a poor choice. However, English cricket is crying out for someone who can grab its horribly out of date culture and shake it into something modern and successful. They need more than just a tactician or a proven Test legend.
They need someone who has lead a team through the quagmire of a self interested administrative culture.
Jason Gillespie has not done that.
But others have.
Dav Whatmore instantly comes to mind. However, the pot of gold that English cricket seeks is another Australian.
His name is Tom Moody.
Yes, he is one of the few blokes on the planet who has won two World Cups. Impressive, but not a strong enough reason in itself to hire him. So let’s add some other layers.
He is currently the coach of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a league that the ECB has essentially ignored. Moody’s outside view of the world is exactly what England needs. England lost to Holland at the last T20 World Cup and their players participate in the very average Natwest T20 Blast.
Moody would not let this continue. T20 is after all influencing the game at all levels. We easily forget that he also coached the Perth Scorchers to a Big Bash final also.
Although an impressive resume so far, none of these reasons are compelling enough to explain why he must be chosen as the next English coach.
Leading Sri Lanka to the 2007 World Cup Final is why England need him.
In the race to be the most dysfunctional cricket board, Sri Lankan cricket is consistently vying for the number one spot. Constant cronyism, government interference and a desire to please the BCCI at all costs make it a very difficult place to impart culture change.
The ECB could easily be headquartered in Columbo. It continually displays the same traits.
Moody has taken on this kind of endemic denialism previously and would do so again. It is the Australian way. They just don’t suffer fools, incompetence or lack of modernism well.
Instead, Australians welcome individualism and flare, balanced with off field humbleness and an unspeakably high belief in their teammates.
All things the current English cricket culture lack.
The ECB may well take the popularist option and hire Gillespie. He is proven under the English system and is therefore a safe pick. The English media will not create angst, nor will the public.
However, the correct pick is Tom Moody.
He will challenge the status quo, make the workplace fun again and bring modern tactical thinking. More than that, he will not allow the ECB culture to stifle change or infect his team.
The ECB can talk about a ‘New Era’ all they like. To date, making decisions that support that slogan has proven to be a bridge too far. The recent hiring of Andrew Strauss supports this argument.
But hiring a Director of Cricket is one thing. Appointing the right team leader is another.
The question is not whether the ECB will make the right choice in selecting a coach. It is whether its culture will actually allow it to be an option.