Giles: Downton received repulsive amount of abuse

England

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke has defended new managing director Paul Downton in the wake of heavy criticism during batsman Kevin Pieteren's exile.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke has defended new managing director Paul Downton in the wake of heavy criticism during batsman Kevin Pieteren's exile.

England suffered a humiliating five-nil series defeat at the hands of Australia earlier this year, when Pietersen was ostensibly labelled as a disruptive presence among the squad.

Head coach Andy Flower, batting coach Graham Gooch and limited-overs coach Ashley Giles have also departed the ECB.

Lancashire's Peter Moores, meanwhile, has been hired as Flower's successor. Former Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace has been named as assistant coach – and Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell has been appointed to the selection panel.

"I thought Paul was very clear. He stated there is no smoking gun. He arrived in Sydney and he said he saw a player, Pietersen, who was disconnected. Downton is an experienced Test player, a man of great judgement, an outstanding individual who has already impressed everybody since he took over the job," Giles told the <i>BBC</i>.

"He's received the most repulsive amount of abuse over social media and the like for no good reason. We are lucky to have a man of his calibre in that role. He has carried out his activities quietly, thoughtfully. He has spoken to a great number of people and he has impressed everybody.

"And, as far as Kevin is concerned, I'm sure he will want to stay in the world of cricket. Sometimes you are not picked and sometimes you are and you have to live with what happens. But in the end the world of cricket has to get on with each other."

The English will meet Sri Lanka for a one-off Twenty20 International and five ODIs this month, followed by two Tests against the same opposition in June. July will bring a testing visit from India – and the 2015 World Cup in Australasia is also high on Giles and company's agenda.

"There have been quite significant changes to the team. It is a younger group now with fresh faces. That often leads to a change in atmosphere and I think that is a good thing," added Giles. "We now have new challenges ahead of us and our prime aim is to get back to being number one in the world at Test and ODIs."

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