|Player:||TM Moody, DAG Fletcher, JM Buchanan, TJ Nielsen|
DateLine: 1st February 2007
After withdrawing his Australian coaching application and refusing to commit to a Sri Lankan future, Tom Moody may be England's next coach.
Moody positioned himself as a strong contender to replace Duncan Fletcher as England coach after the World Cup yesterday when he withdrew his application for the vacant Australia coaching job and refused to commit his long-term future to Sri Lanka. Moody was interviewed by Cricket Australia as a possible replacement for John Buchanan, who stands down after the World Cup, but he pulled out yesterday, saying that "the timing isn't right". He has an English wife, Helen, and his family is settled in England. Tim Nielsen, coach of the Australian academy, appears certain to be offered the Australia job. A spokesman for the England and Wales Cricket Board insisted that no approach had been made to Moody, but any England offer after the World Cup would at least treble a Sri Lankan salary estimated at £80,000 a year.
"Sri Lanka is my main focus and this had become a distraction to myself and the team ahead of the World Cup," Moody said. "I could stay with Sri Lanka after the World Cup or it could be with someone else, domestically or internationally." The way was cleared for an ECB approach to Moody on the day that Michael Vaughan, desperate to recover from a hamstring injury in time to resume the captaincy against New Zealand in Perth tomorrow, identified England's problems in the Commonwealth Bank one-day series as primarily mental, rather than technical or tactical, and spoke of a "cancerous" loss of confidence in the dressing room. Vaughan reasserted that Fletcher retained the full support of the players - "we are right behind him and that is the real be all and end all"- but England's inability to withstand the psychological rigours of a long tour cannot be overlooked. England were bowled out for 120 by New Zealand and 110 by Australia within a horrific three days in Adelaide. Vaughan said: "After losing the Ashes 5-0 I said that the mental side was going to be the real key for a lot of the players. When you are getting beat up most days for the whole of the tour, it has to have some kind of effect. That is what tours like this can do to people. At the end of a long, hard tour like this one, it is a mental problem. That is something the players have to live with individually and sort out. Those two performances in Adelaide just came out of the blue. I just didn't see them coming. In eight years in the England team this is as low as I have seen players feel. It is a bit cancerous. You can just feel it happening in and around the dressing room. We have to look at ourselves individually and work out what's going wrong with our thought processes in the middle. A lot of the time when we are getting out it is the thought processes, purely mental, not that much technique." Vaughan said the team had been talking about what was going wrong. "Once people start owning up to the thought processes and the mistakes we have made we can actually move forward. It's damaging when players are keeping a few of these things inside their own brain. All tactics are generally a collective thing in the management meetings but I don't think it is necessarily the tactics that has been the problem. We haven't had the strength to go out and put in good batting displays. You can't really defend the way we have batted. You can't keep performing to a standard we have and expect to say we are going to the World Cup in good hands. That's just nonsense."