Can Gillespie save England from summer of Ashes torture?
Taking the plunge has not always been elementary for Jason Gillespie.
When the Australia team were put through their legendary five-day boot
camp before the 2006-07 home Ashes series – to deal with the 2005 defeat
on English soil that Adam Gilchrist has always said felt like a
bereavement - Gillespie just could not bring himself to step over the
edge of a cliff for the abseil.
It apparently took some time for his team-mates to coax him down, the
utter lack of ridicule or laughter being part and parcel of the
fraternity of that great squad of John Buchanan’s, which went on to
slaughter England.Gillespie knows a bit about the big picture of success
in cricket though, which is precisely why he has made Yorkshire county
champions and why his appointment as England coach – when the link with
Peter Moores has finally been severed – could not come a day too soon.
It has been a personal view that England wasted time they simply did
not possess, ahead of an Ashes summer in which the threat of a resurgent
New Zealand is also treacherous, by persisting with Moores after the
calamity that the World Cup turned out to be. It was an unfathomable
decision to reappoint him, considering the way England had lost all hope
during his first 20-month tenure, losing more often than they won.
There would be almighty hell to play if the Football Association had
returned to a coach whose record read: played 68, won 27, lost 29, with
three Test series wins out of seven.
And that’s before you investigate the small details of his management
style, like the constant nannying by Moores and his support staff. “No
batting, bowling or fielding practice was complete without the coaches
getting involved in some capacity – telling players how they should be
doing things better,” Andrew Strauss later reflected on that first spell
in charge. But it was Moores’ observation, after that most desperate
eight-wicket World Cup defeat by New Zealand in February, which made you
wonder about the big picture..
“We need players who make decisions on the field, so they have to be
able to make decisions off,” Moores explained. “We didn’t play like
blokes.” Though the players’ public expressions of liking Moores are
genuine, you had to wonder where this individual was adding value.
England’s sense of entitlement has remained dismally evident – even
in the past few days, with Alastair Cook’s harking back to the fact that
a spine of this England team used to win once and so can do so again,
and his suggestion that the observations of the new England and Wales
Cricket Board’s chairman, Colin Graves, on the West Indies’ weaknesses
might have contributed to them beating England. Lamentable.
This team has been dining out on that kind of complacency ever since
Australia were last on these shores.
- The Independent