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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