England can once again point fingers at individuals, wring our hands over the lack of a front line spinner and unsettled openers but the real issue must come down to the coach and captain.
|Peter Moores - England Coach|
You can feel the unimaginative thought processes of Peter Moores and Cook in the final team selections: Colin Graves and his selectors chose Adil Rashid as an exciting young spin prospect, but its clear that for Moores/Cook this was to risky and Rashid ended up spending six weeks carrying drinks, when he should have been bowling, if not for England then Yorkshire. With Rashid on the squad, Moores still decided he needed Moeen Ali, who was flown out. Ali is a great little cricketer, and should be in the squad as a middle order batsman because despite the hype, he's not a front line spinner, and in this test we finally saw what should have been obvious to the coach and skipper, as a bowler he's at best a second or third choice. Once the ball started turning in Grenada this week, we saw his bowling is little better than Joe Root's, who is an acknowledged part time spinner. Rashid on the other hand is a wicket taker, with the potential to present a danger to batsman as he proved with Yorkshire last year - yes he gets hit but he gets scalps too (and Moeen went for 2-112..not exactly cheap!). The selectors saw Rashid's exciting potential, Moores and Cook clearly didn't see it, so Rashid twiddled his thumbs, Yorkshire fumed and England lost.
The same lack of imagination was shown at the top of the batting order: Jonathan Trott has been a superb number 3 in the past before his emotional issues ended his grip of that role in 2013, and the #3 is now held firmly by Ballance. The selectors clearly thought 27 year old Adam Lyth - another Yorkshireman - was worth trying as opener, but Moores & Cook looked backwards at 34 year old
Trott and went with him in a position he isn't used to and it failed, almost certainly ending his England career. Meanwhile Lyth carried bats and gloves to the center. Conservative view may have been "lets try Trott for a couple of tests and if it doesn't work, slip Lyth in for Grenada", the unimaginative view is "we are sticking with Trott...the boy will come good... Lyth can enjoy the atmosphere...be good for the lad" .
|Adam Lyth celebrates one of many centuries opening for Yorkshire|
Cook is a conservative captain, and clearly lacks some tactical skills - that area of his captaincy needs to be developed by a coach who has those skills from his playing days, the experience and the ability to encourage Cook to view the game differently. Moores is not that man - he never was, and his return has proven how limited he is - he's never played at this level, never mind captained and he just compounds Cook's weaknesses. Worse Moores / Cook clearly aren't buying into the philosophy of the selectors, who give them squads with room to experiment, but they choose not to.
Had Cook not started to show form I'd be baying for his head, but time in the middle on flat slow W.Indies pitches has payed off and he appears to be returning to the dashing batsman of old, ensuring he will retain the captaincy, so lets find him a decent coach! We've failed at all forms of the game under Moores - he brings little to the table and nobody can see things improving with another Ashes debacle on the horizon. In an ideal world, he'd fall on his sword as soon as he arrives back in the UK, but if he doesn't the Selectors and ECB must do the deed, even before the New Zealand series.