Peter Moores' To-Do List: 5 Things New England Cricket Coach Must Address
Peter Moores has had a tricky start to his tenure as England coach. His baptism was a series loss to Sri Lanka on home soil. That included England being bowled out for 99 in one game and a complete lack of consistency elsewhere.
Moores faces a tough 12 months. He has to get the team to recover from The Ashes fall-out and make sure the replacements who come into the team are nurtured. He also needs to work with Alastair Cook on his captaincy and make sure the side begins to function as a unit once more.
The road ahead is going to be a bumpy one, and while Moores will have many little jobs along the way, here are five of the big ones.
1. Re-Engage the Public
The England and Wales Cricket Board’s PR hasn’t been great lately. The Kevin Pietersen fall-out was handled astronomically badly. Add to that struggles on the field and many fans have seemingly becoming disinterested in the team.
While fans can often disassociate themselves from boardroom politics and the happenings on the field, this has not been the case since the two have blended.
Although Peter Moores is not the one at fault, he does have to find a way to get the public to be interested in the team once more, and that can only be done through results on the field.
2. Start Planning for the 2015 World Cup
This will be something all teams are planning toward. Since the start of last year, England have played 35 one-day internationals. They have won 16, lost 18 and had one rained out.
The recent series against Sri Lanka was very topsy-turvy, and England went from winning, to losing emphatically, and then winning convincingly.
Unlike Twenty20 cricket, ODIs offer the chance to take a slightly more nuanced approach. When roles are defined, players flourish.
The squad that faced Sri Lanka was a good mix of young talent and experienced players, but it lacked consistency. Getting them to click will be a big task for the coach.
3. Find a Spinner and Stick with Him
Everything that is done with the team in the next six months has to be done with the World Cup in mind. James Tredwell is seemingly the man England might put their faith in.
If that’s who they want, it’s fine, but they need to be consistent in their selection and persist with him. That has happened thus far, but knee-jerk reactions are never too far away.
4. Nurture the Test Team
This is one of the more important tasks. With the retirement of Graeme Swann, the firing of Kevin Pietersen and the illness of Jonathan Trott, the team is in a “transitional phase.” That is a phrase that is often overused in cricket, but it’s true for this team.
The first challenge is against Sri Lanka, where England will have a chance to look at how they want to structure their batting. Once again, consistency in selection is vital. If Joe Root is going to be tasked with batting at three, he needs to bat at three and not constantly be moved up and down the order.
5. Find a Spinner for the Test Team
This task is far more difficult than for the one-day team. Moeen Ali is seemingly the player England have in mind for this job. An astute batsman and a handy bowler, Ali offers an all-round package. However, his average in first-class cricket (40.43) is slightly on the high side.
He would walk into many teams on his batting alone, so England need to be careful how he is managed. To ask him to transform into a spinner and see his batting suffer as a result would be a great shame.
Joe Root offers an additional option, but he shouldn’t be burdened with too much extra responsibility. Replacing somebody like Graeme Swann is not going to be an easy task, and patience will be important.