England must keep focus on field

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Peter Moores and his new-look England team must try to put events off the field aside in their Royal London one-day international against Ireland in Dublin.

Coach Moores’ position is potentially one of several which may come under scrutiny once the England and Wales Cricket Board names its new director.

Andrew Strauss has yet to be appointed but is an undisputed front-runner – and has already received some pointed advice from former team-mate Kevin Pietersen, whose counsel is that one of the most pressing tasks is to restore English cricket to its public, after a “treacherous 15 months”.

Moores is scheduled to fly to Ireland on Thursday morning after the briefest of stop-offs in London following England’s drawn Test series in the West Indies.

There, his mission will be to get the best out of a young team captained for the first time by James Taylor – and missing regular leader Eoin Morgan as well as a clutch of others who were involved in the Caribbean.

Strauss, the ex-Test captain whose working relationship with Pietersen reached a low ebb during the summer of 2012, will soon face a series of tough and high-profile decisions if he does rejoin the ECB payroll this summer.

One of them may be whether to ‘reintegrate’ the superstar batsman for a second time after his axing by the ECB as they came to terms with the 2013/14 Ashes whitewash for Alastair Cook’s team.

Pietersen, who will be 35 by the time this summer’s rematch gets under way, has been given fresh hope of a recall after incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves hinted that runs in county cricket may yet provide him with a pathway back to the Test arena.

In those circumstances, it will be essential that Strauss and Pietersen are seeing eye to eye again.

Pietersen appeared largely on board when he offered his views on the developing new management regime on the website, BreatheSport, but also included an ambiguous turn of phrase which could refer equally to his own sacking or the team’s connection with their public.

“I hope Strauss & ECB bring the public back to the team after a treacherous 15 months,” he posted.

“They owe it to the fans! He has some HUGE decisions. Hope he gets them right…”

The ECB announced last month, after managing director Paul Downton left his post, a plan to recruit for a new role as ‘Director of England Cricket’.

Confirmed candidates have included former England captains Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart.

But after Vaughan withdrew his interest, Strauss has emerged with an apparently uncontested claim to the new post.

His appointment is thought by many to be imminent, but may have to wait until next week before all relevant arrangements can be put in place by management staff returning from West Indies or Dublin.

:: Yorkshire, who are to fly Tim Bresnan, Adil Rashid and Jonathan Bairstow back from Ireland immediately after Friday’s ODI in time to practic e the day before their LV= County Championship match at home to Hampshire, will not have Joe Root available for that fixture.

The ECB has published a full list of requested availability for county matches before the first Investec Test against New Zealand on May 21 – and for Yorkshire, who supplied six players for the tour to the West Indies, all bar Root and Gary Ballance are free to play on Sunday.

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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