Well, the dust has probably settled enough now to talk about life without Peter Moores. As players we all probably feared the worst once Andy Flower moved aside because we knew that for five years we’d been working with one of the finest coaches in the game.
There are numerous things in the five years of coaching us that Peter changed and implemented; but it wasn’t just his knowledge of the game that made him a great coach. He just didn’t try to make Lancashire and its team members better, he was also constantly looking at ways to improve himself.
This meant that he was humble enough to realise that sometimes he, too, was wrong and that he was also still learning everyday about this great game. It’s this quality that will make his second stint as English coach even better than the first!
Since ‘Mooresy’s’ departure there has been some changes at the club as you would imagine. Firstly, a former captain of mine, Mark Chilton, has joined us as a second team coach. Gary Yates has also moved up to assist the first team, taking on more responsibility with all first-team matters assigned to Glen Chapple.
Who better to take over at the helm than a man who has played for the club for more than 20 years; Glen is a true Lancashire legend! Glen has been club captain for five years and worked very closely with Mooresy and he, like many of us at the club, have learnt a vast amount in that time. He’s also recently completed his level four coaching badge that will have also given Glen an insight into the coaching world.However, he is still our captain and an opening bowler in Championship cricket, so he now has multiple roles at the club with some of the lads suggesting he should drive the coach or roll the wicket as well!
But, in all seriousness, it’s a huge amount of responsibility on Glen’s shoulders and it’s crucial that every player in that dressing room lifts and we pull together, not only for Glen, or the club, but for each other. It won’t just happen overnight as Glen is a different character to Peter and he will have his own ideas and coaching methods which we all must get used to and embrace. This will take time and it’s paramount that the senior players in the dressing room, such as myself, help Glen lead from the front; not only in performance, but daily in preparation, practice and professionalism.
The best dressing rooms are the ones that self-police and run themselves whether the coach is there or not. With all this change going on we must not get away from the fact that we’ve had a mixed start in the Championship and have not quite put all departments together enough to win more games.
It’s been well-publicised that as a batting group we haven’t performed well enough and why haven’t we brought in an overseas to help us? Maybe we should have but unless players are given opportunities and tested in first-class cricket how do you ever find out about them? How do they ever become first-team cricketers if there isn’t opportunities for them?
I got my opportunity back in 2007 because Brad Hodge hadn’t arrived yet, I took my chance and haven’t looked back since. It’s time for others now to grab their chance with both hands and show everybody we don’t need an overseas batter, we have enough talent here. We all know that there has been a lot of change at the club with our coaching set- up but it’s in our playing staff that probably the biggest shock might come.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, the ex-England captain and Lancashire hero, has pulled out his old kitbag and his famous woodworm helmet and begun training at Old Trafford with us. I don’t think many people in the cricket world let alone at Lancashire thought they’d see Freddie running in at the Old Trafford nets ever again. I was fortunate enough to play with Freddie before he retired so I’ve had the honour to share the park with him. But most of the lads haven’t, they have only seen him on TV or old clips of him playing, so for him to be around again creates a massive buzz.
For him to be training and putting his body through the paces day-in and day-out to, maybe, just maybe, get the opportunity to represent Lancashire one more time is inspiring. I don’t think anybody really knows if Fred’s body will hold up to the challenges of batting/bowling and fielding again but if it does it will be an inspiring story for everybody involved and a pleasure to share the field again with him.
The game has changed dramatically in recent years with numerous advances in a number of areas and most of them have had a positive affect on performance. However, although the ‘beer’ after the game might have changed to a protein shake, discussing the game of cricket in a social environment should be encouraged, not frowned upon.
It’s potentially a goldmine for younger players to learn little bits about this wonderful game we play. I’m not saying let’s all get drunk, I’m saying that having a drink in a social environment with your teammates and discussing the game, bouncing ideas off each other, and generally talking about what we do for a living, can have a real benefit to your development as a player.
I know I certainly learned a lot from a number of wonderful cricketers over the years about their experiences, views on batting etc not at the ground or in the nets but over a drink or dinner. I don’t think you can learn a lot in a text message or tweet or on instagram about how to become a better player.
But you might if you talk.