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Form follows function




Author's says, what if Coach Michael Vaughan rekindled the Ashes in 2009?


On 7 January 2009 and with less than three weeks before England Cricketers were due to fly out for a major tour of the West India, team preparations were thrown into chaos by the dismissal of Coach Peter Moores and Captain Kevin Pietersen (both pictured).

In a statement to the sporting media the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Hugh Morris explained ~

This has become an impossible situation given the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between captain and coach, in the present situation it was impossible to restore the dressing room unity, which is vital if England are to win the forthcoming tour to the Caribbean, the ICC global events or regain the Ashes in the npower Ashes Test series. Andrew Strauss has agreed to captain the tour of the West Indies due to begin on 21 January and a search for a new coach will begin immediately.

Pietersen is universally considered to be the most talented stroke-maker in English cricket over the last thirty years, becoming the fastest batsman to reach both 1000 and 2000 runs in One Day International cricket and having the highest average of any England player to have played more than 20 innings of one-day cricket. Click to watch the reverse-sweep for six off Murali in Mumbai

After a poor run of form ending with the tearful resignation of proud lad Michael Vaughan on 3 August 2008 Click to watch the press conference, the ECB determined that the best way to restore confidence in the team was to appoint the best player as captain. Critics would note that Vaughan was himself the best batsmen prior to his own appointment, with his innings average falling from 50 to just 38 before his resignation.

Paul Collingwood had relinquished the one-day international captaincy at the same time, and Pietersen paid tribute to both outgoing captains but announced that he would look to captain the team in his own style. Warning that Chaos reigns and fearing that a panic decision had been made, pessimists suggested precedents for similiar decisions in English cricket almost all of which had ended in tears.

And so it proved to be the case with England experiencing a poor tour of India with Pietersen's own form in alarming decline. An inevitable row with Coach Peter Moores followed. In fact, the pair had been unable to work together at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Team, and Pietersen had insisted on meeting Moores before accepting the appointment as England Captain. In a statement in his newspaper column Pietersen indicated that the situation was not healthy and that everybody has to have the same aims and pull in the same direction for the sake of the England team .

By issuing a little disguised my way or the highway threat an over-confident Pietersen had critically misjudged the mood of the dressing room by insisting on the dismissal of the Coach. Had the ECB sided with Pietersen, as some eminent former players predicted, it would arguably have made him England's most powerful captain in history - no one has previously been able to dictate who should or should not coach the national team. The crisis entered its final phase with the decision not to select former captain Michael Vaughan for the tour of the West Indies. Pietersen held Moores responsible for blocking Vaughan's recall giving the ECB a stark ultimatum: Either he goes or I resign.

To Pietersen's amazement the ECB did dismiss Moores, but then insisted KP had to relinquish the captaincy. It was a costly miscalculation by Pietersen, with his dismissal costing him the 500,000 per year salary that accompanied the England captaincy. Angered and hurt by his dismissal, and out of pocket, withdrew from the tour of the West Indies. Instead, he would seek the megabucks of the Indian Premier League. Bewilderingly , Pietersen had experienced little success in the Twenty20 form, averaging only 15 runs per innings. It was this crucial fact that enabled Pietersen to announce with some justification that he would be seeking a new challenge in his professional cricketing career

Only one surprise remained - Vaughan joined the tour of the West Indies. Recognising that his career was effectively finished by knee injury, Michael Vaughan accepted the vacancy of England Coach. During the summer of 2009, Vaughan became the first man to win the Ashes as both Captain and Coach, a unique achievement and remarkable turnaround for the proud lad that thrilled the English nation and broke Australian hearts. Click to watch the video.

Author's Notes


Moving the team forward, the authority of the leadership to set direction, and the right of an individual to hold his/her deepest held conviction is a triangular conflict as old as human history. My position remains my own, but I do rather enjoy working in teams of one.



Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.