Moores wants ‘brave sheep’

We caught up for an exclusive chat with a chastened yet defiant Peter Moores in the aftermath of England’s todgering by New Zealand in Wellington. Here’s what he had to say:

Where this leaves England:
The process of making progress with our processes is progressing, though of course remains a work in progress.

England’s current mindset:
We have confidence in our momentum moving forward, but we probably lack a little momentum with our confidence.

On the tournament planning:
The planning behind our planning was exemplary. Sometimes you can have too long to prepare, you know. Have you read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? You should skim-read it some time. I accept that people will think our pathways weren't as well signposted as they might have been, but at times we didn't know our destination.

The jettisoned ex-skipper:
Look, let’s not get hooked up on Cook. AN Cook had become AN Other. Have you ever considered that maybe too many Cooks – in this case, one – are not a good thing, certainly not broth-wise, which is something that me and all the backroom staff are on the same page about. We were thinking out of the box. Have you?

Perhaps picking Cook and Ravi was a smokescreen to throw other sides of the scent. Maybe Cook was there to help Belly, Ravi to help Ballance [NB: could have meant balance]. It’s easy to criticize when you're not picking the team and determining the strategy, all of which which can get a bit confusing at times. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air.

Selection omissions:
People talk about names – this name, that name – but the game isn't played by names. Never has been. It’s played by skill-sets and mindsets, and we haven't had the mindset skill-set that gives us the best chance to execute our processes, particularly at the death, in the powerplay, and during the middle overs.

Moeen’s role:
We want him to be a free spirit, but we also want him to be a responsible free-spirit. He has to play his shots, but he also has to know when to play his shots. So, there’s a certain amount of licence – but, as with the gun laws in the USA, he can't just fire shots when he wants, even if it’s easy for him to have that mindset given how simple it is for him to get his hands on the guns and ammunition, so to speak, and given how powerful the pro-gun lobby – you know, you lot: the pro-pinch-hitter lobby – is.

So, what we're telling Mo is: 'Think for yourself. Be aggressive. Play without fear. But don't take unnecessary risks. Get your percentages right [we reckon about 57% risk], otherwise you could be back at No 6, perhaps even ditched for Tredders if we feel Ravi can come back in at No6, which we will know next time the names are drawn out of that hat'.

Alex Hales:
He’s a player we like. By the time the next World Cup rolls round he'll only be 29, so time’s on his side. Can we frontload with hitters? Is that too bold? I'm not sure, if I'm honest. I'm on a journey as a coach, as a leader, and these sorts of things take a while to work out. Maybe by World Cup 2019 I'll know. But Alex knows you can't just jump off a plane in Australasia and start smashing it out of the ground.

James Taylor’s best position:
If you'd asked me six months ago, I'd have said probably in the gym at Trent Bridge! But seriously, we don't see him fitting into any defined role per se. Is he a No3? Is he a No6? Maybe both. We see him as someone who can bat anywhere that’s a multiple of 3 – definitely 12th man, as you've seen, perhaps even at No9. If the cap fits – and we've had a special batch of caps made for him [laughs thinly]. But no, we see him as a finisher. We were just hoping he'd finish things at No3 so that Morgs and Ravi didn't actually have to bat [laughs unconvincingly].  

Gary Ballance at No3:
We got good buy-in from GB on this but, yes, he’s looked rustier than the hull of the Titanic.

OK, he didn't get in line, but he also didn't get out of line and sometimes you can't have it both ways. We see it as a bit of a win-win, and you can always take the positives from that.

I feel for Finny. He’s done a lot of thinking about his feet. Now he needs to think on his feet. Yes, we were hoping for the penny to drop – for a lightbulb moment – but the game was gone before the lights came on. B-Mac really leveraged his talent out there. All in all I thought the senior bowlers fronted up well to the job of milling around him sheepishly, given their own showing at that stage. It was courageous. But that’s what sheep do. Sheep rally round. They stick together. And this is New Zealand, a place where sheep are revered – along with rugby union, of course. So that’s what we want: a squad of sheep. Brave sheep.

Eoin Morgan:  
I'm not sure why the luck has deserted him. I popped into his hotel room the other day and there were four-leaf clovers all over the place. He also had March 17 on his calendar circled with green marker pen – that’s the last day before the first quarter-final, which is a sure sign his focus is exactly where we need it to be: smack bang in the present. But also a little in the past, when he made a world-class 120 against the Aussies.

The toss:
We… Morgs misread the conditions. Which can happen. We thought we'd turned a corner when it comes to reading when it might swing round corners, but to be honest I was busy with a posture management session and actually thought we were at the Basin Reserve (assuming that’s not what Hales is up to in his downtime!!). But the Cake Tin? Caked in shit, more like. Our shit. And when you've been caked in your own shit, things can only improve. Unless there’s a fan in the room. A fan who’s re-mortgaged his house to follow us here and has every right to criticize our execution of our processes.

Scott Oliver

*Obviously this is all a joke. Please don't quote us and cause a media storm. Even though that would be hilarious.