Friday, January 09, 2009

Silly Games

What has happened in the past 48 hours simply proves beyond all doubt what a totally dysfunctional organisation the ECB really is.

In any big commercial organisation, if there is a crisis – such as the one currently enveloping English cricket, the PR Department will immediately issue an internal note to all employees advising that all media enquiries are referred immediately to the Press Office - who will issue a formal company statement based on the agreed company line. It’s a sort of ‘lock down’ – waiting for the dust time to settle, giving everyone a chance to get their brain in gear and, most importantly, prevent any legal comeback further down the line. Often there’s an additional comment suggesting that if anyone goes beyond the agreed process and starts coming out with their own version of events, they’ll be liable to a disciplinary charge.

Presumably the same doesn’t apply to the ECB – which itself is a farcical situation bearing in mind the power they wield and the relationships they need to develop within the game in order to function effectively.

In the current situation – ‘Kevgate’ - there are two important constituencies in the equation. The England squad and England cricket supporters. For both, the ECB appear to be leaking stories deliberately designed to undermine the one world class player in the England squad.

For example, as a statement, can you think of anything more likely to make Pietersen’s return to the England dressing room more awkward than the comments made by ‘senior ECB officials’ quoted in the Guardian this morning advising that, as well as Moores, he also wanted to get rid of Andy Flower?

At a lower level, there’s the steady drip, drip of comments from unnamed members of the England team, or those ‘close to the England squad’ giving their take on the whole affair. I appreciate that saying ‘no comment’ when someone asks you a question is terribly boring – but maybe people start looking at the wider situation rather than puffing up their own egos.

Someone at the ECB is playing silly buggers. Remember these are the people who run the game here in England for heavens sake – so why are they suddenly acting like the hysterical first-jobbers working in the PR department for X Factor?

It’s so counter-intuitive. The strength of English cricket, and therefore the perceived success of the ECB, is based around the strength of the England team. Without a fully motivated KP in the side, England have no chance whatsoever of beating Australia this summer. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he’ll conclude that his position in the England dressing room is untenable after the rumours that have been flying around – think to himself ‘f*** this for a game of soldiers’, and throw his lot in with the Indian 20/20 circus for a couple of years.

Four final points –

- I suspect that Moores was sacked, not because the ECB wanted to get rid of him, because for him to have resigned would probably have prevented any financial payoff package.

- Credit where credit is due – Strauss played a blinder at his press conference yesterday. He’s got a thankless job over the next month or so but, based on what we saw yesterday, he’s got a chance of pulling it off. He just needs to keep those meddling ECB kids away from the dressing room.

- Having reviewed sensible press analysis of the past couple of days, it does seem to me that KP did little wrong in terms of procedure. Everything started to unwind when his meeting with Giles Clarke was leaked.

- I wonder how the ECB will make a mess of the new coaching appointment? Note that it's very much a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.


Graham said...

You seem to be making the assumption that the press are actually getting these quotes from actual real sources rather than just making it up. I'd be disinclined to just accept the press's word for it.

Mark said...

I don't honestly think the Guardian would actually make something like that up.

I'd be more interested to know if KP actually said he wanted to get rid of Flower.