Sunday, 15 May 2011

The coaching situation

Earlier today, contributor John asked who I thought should be the new Derbyshire coach.

I've already seen a few names mentioned. Chris Adams was one, but I've yet to see anything in Adams as a coach to match Adams the captain and player. He's struggled at Surrey and has had a lot of money to spend, so I don't see any obvious merit in bringing him back. I've also seen Shane Warne mentioned, which amused me, as he has negligible coaching credentials and would cost a lot more than we could afford. I will come back to him though.

Perennial names Andy Moles and Dougie Brown will no doubt be in the mix, as they tend to be whenever a vacancy occurs. Hand on heart though, I can only think of three who would interest me at this stage and one of them would be out of our league. That's John Wright, a coach with a solid international reputation but currently coach of New Zealand. I can't see him resigning that one to come back 'home'.

The second would be old county ground favourite Graeme Welch. Pop was a good servant to the club and could do a good job as a coach. At least he'd know what he was coming to.

Yet my preferred option would also know that, because he's already here. My vote would go to Karl Krikken. He is a top-qualified coach who knows the game and the players, with the added bonus of having been a Derbyshire man for a long time. He will keep everyone pulling together and get the best out of them. I'm sure he has every attribute required for such a role and now has the opportunity to stake a claim in the medium to long term having got the job to the end of the season.

Realistically a coach is usually only as good as his players. Eddie Barlow, who inherited a somewhat ragtag outfit, was an exception but it largely holds true. I could have coached Clive Lloyd's West Indies, or the Australia of McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Gilchrist and Waugh.

John Wright once replied, when asked how you coach the Indian side with its galaxy of talent, that you make sure that there are the same number of practice balls at the end of the session as there were at the start. At that level, players don't need a lot of coaching, just reassurance if they hit a bad trot, or a quiet word that they've started to do something that might affect their game.

I would sooner see us go for a marquee signing, mentioned in a couple of newspapers this week, who could do the sort of job that Eddie Barlow once did, given control of the playing side with assistance from Karl. Such a player would be much better value than a big name (and salaried) coach if we could get the right man - ideally someone retiring from Test cricket and available for a year or two. His signing would send out a message to other counties and would be a huge step in the development of younger players, who would look up to such a man.

Given the lure of the IPL, I can only think of one such player. While someone like Jacques Kallis or AB de Villiers would be fantastic, they can make serious money in India in a far shorter timescale than an English season. So too could the man that I have in mind, but the opportunity for one last challenge might just hold appeal for him, if, as rumoured, he retires from the international scene this winter.

Seriously, if Chris Grant could put together a package to persuade Ricky Ponting to come over, you'd be impressed, wouldn't you?

That would be my suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Chris grant went over to Australia to try and persuade Ricky ponting during the winter. However, he wanted too much money than we could afford. Hopefully, he can reconsider for next summer!

Marc H said...

You,ve come up with some interesting names there. No doubt others will be thrown into the mix. What we do have on our side is plenty of time to make sure we get the right man. I dont necessarily believe that any future head of cricket has to be a coach,in the strictest sense of the word.The club has other personnel to deal with the technical side of the game. We need a figurehead,to be in overall command and ultimately take responsibility for what happens on the pitch. In football,many managers leave training to their assistant (who is normally a qualified coach anyway) and other coaching staff within the club. More important qualifications for any head of cricket are good man management and motivational skills.

Anonymous said...

Talking of Head Coaches has anyone heard from John Morris or seen or heard anything he has said in the media since his sacking? Like many I would love to hear his side of the story.
Like most I wish John well. He gave everything for the club as did Andy Brown.

Anonymous said...

Please don't knock the motivation skills of John Morris. I have supported Derbyshire for many years and as a spectator I has not seen a better team spirit than what we had under John Morris this season.

Anonymous said...

Yes, John's job was to get the best out of the players, which he did, not to massage their egos. Most of the players would not be playing first class cricket had it not been for John.

Anonymous said...

And what if some of the players don't like the new coach do we get Chris Grant to sack him aswell?

Peakfan said...

According to IP address data there's someone answering their own comments here...

mastervillain said...

Hiya John!

Marc said...

I wasn,t knocking John Morris,s motivational skills,merely stating it would be an important requirement for any future head of cricket. Besides,if the players didn,t want Morris,as seems to be the case,then this team spirit people keep referrring to must surely be down to Luke Sutton.

Anonymous said...

I don't think some people have listened carefully enough to what Luke Sutton said. He specifically said in relation to the views of the players:

"If you're the head of something, this is not a popularity contest. It's to do with their feelings about how the squad was being managed". "They felt negative about the style of management and the style that was being used in manoeuvring us as a squad". He also said that it was a situation that had existed for some time, that was evident to him as soon as soon as he arrived, and was escalating.

Although the timing and speed of the decision was a surprise, I wasn't shocked by the issue. Without any inside knowledge, I referred last year in posts elsewhere to the sense that players had lost faith in John Morris and had stopped listening, and he said as much himself in interviews, where he blamed any failures on the players not listening to what he told them.

Managers don't need to be liked, but they do have to be respected and able to influence those they lead. Whatever the details of the behaviours and dynamics that Luke Sutton referred to, the scale of the breakdown of trust that resulted between the management and the squad was an indictment of the management, and Chris Grant had no option but to act decisively. It was only a shame that Don Amott, despite doing so much for the club in other ways, could not see this, and we should perhaps be congratulating those committee members who did recognise the need for change.

mastervillain said...

Sutton also made reference to his wish to treat players as human beings, which seemed to infer that perhaps this has not always the case under Morris.

At then end of the day, much as some fans loved John Morris, you cannot escape the fact the majority of the players had issues with him. To suggest sacking all the players (an early comment made on this blog) is just daft. The common denominator is clearly the coach and he is the person who has to be able to lead and motivate the team. If the group is not aligned to the leader and the feelings are deeply entrenched, you are on to a loser if you try to persevere, so the has to coach go. It is a question of numbers and practicality - lose one/two guy or twenty odd and sink.

Is every member of the squad wrong? I doubt it.

In any case, why would anyone imagine Morris would deal with a completely fresh group of players any differently.

To employ a frequently used Morris saying 'WE HAVE TO MOVE ON.....'

Can I please suggest we now do so.

Peakfan said...

Excellent comments guys. Thanks as always.

Anonymous said...

The best man for the position is already there!!!! Luke Sutton as player manager... He is an excellent man manager and motivator, he understands the game and leads by example. The fact that he is not of "outstanding" talent is also to his advantage because he has to work hard to achieve. The bare fact is the club has limited cash to invest in the best, therefore the committee has to target specific competitions to win and structure the squad accordingly. Going for high profile names such as Ricky Ponting is a costly risk. Also going for 'old' ex-player favourites doesn't mean that they have the required people skills necessary to empower the players to express themselves with confidence AND play for each other. Save the "new coach" fee and invest it in the TEAM!
All the best to you; the supporters and the CLUB.
Adrian Pierson (very ex-manager)