Thursday 1 May 2014

Pete and Ali's first day, brought to us in partnership with Waitrose

Pouring money into Team England is no longer a frictionless exercise in logo-led corporate brand recognition, as the supermarket Waitrose are discovering. Today was the launch of their partnership with the national side and a jolly morning it should have been, hosted at their kitchens in central London, with lots of photo opps of Alastair Cook cooking and maybe even feeding Peter Moores with a long spoon while cracking a few gags about their recipe for success.

It was Moores' first public engagement since his reappointment was made official at Lord's and with a fresh ODI squad due to be announced too, all was set for a good news day - the first for a while.

Within minutes though, they were announcing the sacking of Graham Gooch, a parting that may have been inevitable given England's diminishing returns with the bat, but one that immediately cast minds backwards rather than towards the future. There was no replacement lined up to leaven the news, no full reshuffle of the backroom staff to be presented as a progressive move.

Alastair Cook was soon on Sky Sports News, Waitrose logo shining from his shirt, explaining the decision to part with his mentor. Perhaps it was designed to show a decisive kind of toughness. It really didn't. Humiliating a 61-year-old man who has given his life to the sport - and it's hard to imagine that having your sacking announced to the nation at a media launch is anything other than humiliating - seems like a callous misjudgment.

Cook has been let down here - and again it was he, rather than Moores, who was explaining the decision. Far better advice would have been to begin the new regime with good news, perhaps the ODI squad announcement with the accent on a couple of young guns being given their chance.

Moores and Cook could have appeared strong and decisive had they waited until the backroom staff had been fully reshaped and then presented them to the nation as a brand new team. Now, any further changes will start to feel like death by a thousand cuts. Cook endured the indignity of having a facetious Tweeted application for the batting coach's job from Kevin Pietersen read out to him during his live Sky Sports interview. The feeling of day-to-day chaos continued.

Waitrose must be wondering what they have let themselves in for. All they wanted to do was sell a few more groceries.


John Holmes said...

It doesn't bode well, does it ?

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