Stephen Brenkley: The ECB can't win as Ford runs out of patience with coach search

On the Front Foot: Ford took his name off the shortlist because the ECB were taking too long

Sunday 29 March 2009 02:00

One of life's truisms is that the England and Wales Cricket Board cannot win. Whatever they do and however they do it, they are wrong. Take the job of England team coach (actually not many people do want to take the job, but that is another story). When it came up in 2007 on the departure of Duncan Fletcher, the ECB immediately sprang into action and appointed Peter Moores.

This was no surprise and was generally deemed to be a good thing, precisely what the ECB coaching structures were meant for. After a while, however, when results were not as hunky-dory as some people thought they should have been, it started to be asked why there had not been a formal interview procedure, why indeed the world had not been trawled for the right man (or perhaps woman).

So when Moores was dismissed in January, the ECB followed this line. They appointed headhunters, they put in place a proper system for sifting applicants. So far this has had the effect of persuading Tom Moody, Micky Arthur and Graham Ford to have nothing to do with it.

Ford is the coach of Kent who was once coach of South Africa and, from the number of South African Kolpak players he signs for the county, he seems to confuse the two roles. He took his name off the shortlist because the ECB were taking too long in making up their minds. Too hasty or too drawn-out – can't win.

Solanki's a sound choice as union man

Vikram Solanki will be a wise and articulate chairman of the Professional Cricketers' Association. He was elected from a strong field which also included Shaun Udal, Dominic Cork, Michael Brown and Mal Loye. Solanki, who played 51 one-day internationals for England and has been captain of Worcestershire for five years, said: "There are so many political issues in cricket now and they all affect the players.

The amount of money in the game, and what that means, the Indian Premier League, the cash given to counties, all these things need careful consideration." Currently he is with his county on a pre-season tour of South Africa, and when he returns he will sit down with the PCA chief executive, Sean Morris, to discuss a way forward. The union will be increasingly influential, and Solanki is a sound choice to make sure their voice is heard.

Strauss gets shirty again

In a photo-shoot the other day, Andrew Strauss, the England captain, was wearing a shirt which was clearly not his. Not only did it have the name of England's forgotten leg-spinner Adil Rashid (pictured left) on it, but Strauss was bulging out of it. Poor Strauss is having a constant shirt shortage. In the Twenty20 match against West Indies he was forced to wear Matt Prior's top with some dodgy masking tape covering the name.

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