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Where was the leadership in Pietersen vs Moores

Posted by sportspsychrob on Jan 18, 2009 12:34:37 AM


This morning I listened to Garry Richardson (Radio Five Live)

interviewing one of the English Cricket Board (ECB) management board

about the Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores debacle. I can't remember

who - that's not important. Neither is the interviewing style of

Richardson, whom I find infuriating. (He clumsily piles in with

questions of people that he must know - unless he has been stuck in his

journalistic bubble for too long - that they can't answer, and then

pushes them for more are more specific details on the same issue.

Anyway, I digress.)


Clearly the man from the ECB was maintaining a professional silence on

the stickier issues. Was he going to comment on who was behing KP and

who was behing Moores? Was he going to reveal the details of private

conversations? Of course not. But it was the line of questioning

(Richardson's apparent lack of understanding of professionalism and

leadership), which was almost childish, which got me thinking about how

this whole issue had not been resolved.


Kevin Pietersen is clearly a talented and driven cricketer. Peter

Moores arrived in the England job with a good record in county cricket.


So why couldn't they just work things out? Why not sit down and work out the best solution for the England cricket team?


If Pietersen had doubts over Moores coaching methods, couldn't they

have discussed them? It strikes me that we have on one hand a

professional, modern coach, schooled in the science of the game and

taking an analytical approach; and a flair player. I don't know what

went on and won't pretend to, but was Moores unable to influence his

captain as to the efficacy of his methods? Was KP just too arrogant and

proud to listen and give ground? Or did Pietersen have some really

valuable insight that was being overlooked?


Like I say, I don't know. But this is yet again a story of failure in

English Cricket. Moores and Pietersen have collectively failed to

co-exist as leaders, to work together and bring their respectives

strengths to bear for the good of the England cricket team.


Personally, I can't help thinking that a large chunk of responsibility

lies with Pietersen. In a leadership position you somply cannot

declare: "It's him or me", assuming that reports are actually true. At

the beginning of the week, the papers were speculating that Moores

would be sacrificed, but to me that made Kevin Pietersen's position

untenable. The only real defence for Pietersen would be his

inexperience - in which case he could have been coached to handle

things more appropriately. Maybe Moores' postiion was already

untenable, so they both had to go?


But let's not forget that even though they are leaders, both are led.

So the failure is also one of leadership in the ECB. Ultimately, Hugh

Morris, the MD of England cricket is responsible for his team. It

strikes me that this all came to a head very quickly and publicly. We

can't blame him for this being leaked to the press, but I think that it

is entirely reasonable to question his leadership in this situation.


I'm not going to paint all sports managers with the same brush, but

having worked in both sport and coporate business, it seems that an

awful lot of sports teams focus their efforts on building their

performance on the field - and rightly so - but ultimately

organisations do or don't meet their objectives and it is rare for them

to excel under poor leadership, no matter how high the investment in

systems, processes and people.






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