ECB keeping mum over Moores' fate

England captain looks to be on sticky wicket in difference of opinion with head coach
  • @stephenbrenkley

The England and Wales Cricket Board is still trying to come to terms with the embarrassment of having its dirty linen washed in public. It therefore declined to make any comment on the supposed breakdown in relations between the national team's head coach, Peter Moores, and the captain, Kevin Pietersen.

Moores stayed silent, Pietersen also had nothing to say, not least because he is on holiday thousands of miles away, and Hugh Morris, the team's managing director, who must decide the fate of both of them, was, as is his wont, keeping his counsel. That Moores and Pietersen were hardly bosom buddies was well known and it seems that matters did not improve during the recent Test tour of India.

Nothing is wrong, of course, that could not be repaired by winning and when you have just been drubbed 5-0 in a one-day series and lost a Test series you were in an unexpectedly commanding position to win the temptation for apportioning blame multiplies. As The Independent pointed out three weeks ago, well before the latest round of stories of a falling-out, their relationship was still evolving and needed quick, sharp improvement.

The nature and source of the disclosures which might now have brought the affair to a head is a matter of some consternation to the ECB. It was said that Pietersen was seeking a showdown with the organisation's chairman, Giles Clarke, because he was annoyed with Moores about the failure to include Michael Vaughan in the party which will leave for a tour of the West Indies in 18 days.

This is mind-boggling in its misguidedness. Moores is but one of four selectors and Pietersen would certainly have been consulted on the squad's composition. The issue has nothing whatever to do with Clarke, as he was swift to point out. He might be a hands-on chairman but he is scrupulous in leaving matters of cricket to those who know.

The source of the claims is a matter for speculation and all the protagonists in the drama were being named in wildly fanciful theories. Morris was yesterday still contemplating the postponement of a holiday which was much needed after his ambassadorial efforts in rekindling the India tour following the team's return home in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

His initial, and probably wisest, reaction would be to seek a rapprochement. If Moores was effectively sacked it would be seen as bowing to the wishes of the captain. So the next time that there was something that Pietersen did not particularly like he would again have to be given his own way. This would be folly.

It might be in the captain's best interests to try to come to terms with Moores. If he is seen to be instrumental in getting rid of him – and he would be if Moores went – building trust with anybody again would be hard for him.

Pietersen has not had such a grand time of it and is not so universally popular in the dressing room that he should be able to dictate terms. He and everybody else should remember that Andrew Strauss – a much more natural choice as leader – is restored to form. It was said by many when Pietersen was appointed last summer that it might all end in tears. So it might, and soon.