Paul Downton, the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, expects he and Peter Moores, the head coach, to still be in their jobs come the first Ashes Test in July irrespective of England’s humiliating World Cup exit.
The inquest that followed the 15-run defeat to Bangladesh on Monday, a result that made England’s progression to the quarter-finals an impossibility with one game to spare, has triggered calls from supporters and former players for the pair to be sacked.
Downton watched the horror show in Adelaide unfold at the ECB offices at Lord’s where he was attending a weekly leadership meeting with the incoming chairman, Colin Graves, who takes over from Giles Clarke in May, and the newly arrived chief executive, Tom Harrison.
Neither were in place when Downton, the former Middlesex and England wicketkeeper, was appointed to replace Hugh Morris in October 2013, nor when Moores arrived for his second spell as coach in April. Downton insists their relationship is strong and no P45s are expected in the post.
“I’ve worked with Colin Graves on the board for the last year,” Downton said. “Tom has been with us for two months and we’ve spent a lot of time together. Both have been extremely supportive in what we’re doing. They want English cricket to improve as I do. I spoke to Colin [on Monday] and he’s been extremely supportive of everything I’ve done so far.”
Asked whether he expected himself and Moores to be in place when England begin their quest to regain the Ashes from Australia in Cardiff on 8 July, Downton replied: “That’s my plan, absolutely. Let’s not fudge around it, everybody wants the England cricket side to improve. We’re trying desperately hard to drive that forward. There are no easy answers or quick fixes. They’ve been very supportive up until this point.”
One England cricketer who will be present for the knockout stages of the World Cup is Kevin Pietersen who was heading to Australasia on Tuesday night to take up a summariser’s role with the BBC’s Test Match Special team. The news Downton and Moores will seemingly plod on presents an obvious hurdle to his recently restated goal of an international return.
For the England team the situation could grow worse, with a dead-rubber game against Afghanistan in Sydney on Friday to be negotiated before the plane home. Moeen Ali is a doubt with a side strain and Chris Woakes is struggling with a foot injury but it feels scarcely of consequence given the doom-and-gloom backdrop to the team’s first 50-over meeting with Mohammad Nabi’s associate side.
But the fixture offers a final chance to display some fight for the cause and the selection panel of James Whitaker, Angus Fraser, Mick Newell and Moores are set to discuss the squad for the Test tour to the West Indies in April, which is expected to be announced early next week.
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