Ashes squad fail to find outside edge

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The England cricket team shouldnt be so quick to dismiss outside help - or personal mentoring - as it seeks to reverse the fortunes of the national side.

On BBCs Radio 5live, The Ashes, The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show, Philip Tufnell, Michael Vaughan and Mark Pougatch lamented that not only had England lost the Ashes series in Australia 5-0 but the manner of the loss was lamentable.

It was noted that Alastair Cook had failed with the bat and performed poorly as captain.  Inside the England camp there were potential issues with the coaching team led by Andy Flower (45) with batting coach service being supplied by Graham Gooch (60).  It seemed that they (and possibly others) were adamant that they would not accept any advice from outside of the camp. 

Such expertise comes from a range of ex-captains (and batters), shown below, who are largely engaged as commentators on TV, Radio and the written media.

  • Andrew Strauss 2006-2012
  • Michael Vaughan 2003-2008
  • Nasser Hussain 1999-2003
  • Michael Atherton 1993-2001

Perhaps the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is confusing the role of coach inside the camp with private mentoring potential? Personally, I felt that the ECB staff were concerned about their own egos when denying Mr Cook the opportunity to learn from more recent captains to help him is his development.

According to Wikipedia (where most of us go in the first instance) coaching, is a training or development process via which an individual is supported while achieving a specific personal or professional competence result or goal. In sports, a coach is an individual that teaches and supervises, which involves giving directions, instruction and training of the on-field operations of an athletic team or of individual athletes. This type of coach gets involved in all the aspects of the sport, including physical and mental player development.

Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue, and challenge. 

One definition of the many that have been proposed is: Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protg).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but lets hope that come 2015, and the next Ashes series, that captain Cook is able to call on all of the resources and wisdom available to him   whether that's from inside or outside of the current camp set up.
The People SIG blog will be continuing on this theme during the coming weeks and will be exploring the nature of mentoring and coaching in a bit more detail so do check back.


Posted by Peter Johnson on 16th Jan 2014

About the Author
I am known as ‘PJ’ and I am now a freelance trainer and training consultant in P3M. I have been in the P3M world since 1989 when I first entered the profession via IT projects in the Royal Navy. This rapidly expanded into business change and command and control programmes and projects at home and in NATO. I had an interlude into the private sector with Admiral Management Services, CMG, and Logica harnessing my defence knowledge and practising Programme Management via a couple of mergers. I then had a major positive experience in the Office of Government Knowledge getting involved in ‘best-management-practice’ and the development of the PPM profession in central government, as well as carrying out OGC Gateway Reviews in high risk programmes. I now greatly enjoy working as a volunteer in the APM People SIG and also carrying out training consultancy tasks for APM; as well as training the next generation of project and programme personnel. Now semi-retired I also like cricket (Somerset and Middlesex), cycling and walking my cocker spaniel in the West Country.

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